I had a free consultation for Coolsculpt and have read online about the 'popsicle' studies that led researchers to exam whether freezing fat to kill the cells would be effective for spot fat reduction. This led to Coolsculpt. But if this method is effective, why couldn't one apply ice bags on fat bulges and gradually destroy the fat cells?
Since CoolSculpting Freezes Fat to Kill It, Why Not Just Repeatedly Apply Ice Bags?
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Doctor Answers 62
CoolSculpting does not freeze fat!
There is a misconception that has been widely circulated, perhaps for the sake of simplicity, that Coolsculpting freezes fat. This is not actually the case. The device has been carefully and cleverly designed to extract heat from the tissues via the application to the skin of cold, but not freezing, plates. The temperature of the skin in contact with the plates is continuously monitored throughout the entire procedure, and the temperature of the plates altered according to that feedback such that the skin and fat will never freeze but rather be chilled.
If you were to apply something frozen to the skin, you might reach temperatures that would injure fat cells, but you would also get frostbite in the overlying skin. If you were to apply something not quite frozen to the skin, it would rapidly warm up and you would never reach a temperature cold enough in the the fat layer to injure the fat cells.
The reason the device, and only a device such as this, can injure fat cells without damaging the overlying skin, is because of a simple but wonderful difference in a physical property of water and fat: the freezing temperature. The temperature at which fat freezes is higher than the temperature at which water freezes. Since skin has a lot of water and fat doesn't, you can applying below-freezing plates to the skin that are not cold enough to freeze the skin, but cold enough to chill the fat cells just enough that they are gently shifted into a process called apoptosis, or programmed cell death, and therefore die off slowly, one by one, during the months after treatment.
i hope this answers your excellent question.
Controlled Cooling With CoolSculpting
Coolsculpting is controlled cooling- its okay to eat popsicles!
The fat must be a specific temperature for a specific period of time to trigger fat cell death. While the initial popsicle cases stimulated the idea, cool sculpting was developed through extensive scientific research that identified the precise temperature and time period needed to stimulate fat cells to die and to do this without causing skin damage. The combination of isolating the fat in the suction chamber and maintaining controlled cooling allows for safe, smooth, and reproducible results. If only ice bags would do it!
It is important to note, the children had prolonged contact with extreme cold before the cheek fat wa affected- so do not worry about eating popsicles!
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Icepacks instead of Coolsculpting
This will not work and poses a danger as Coolsculpting does not freeze the skin. Coolsculpting is a cold application just above freezing. Keep in mind freezing skin will injure the skin- whereas Coolsculpting is specifically designed to apply temperatures that kill fat but do not injure skin at a temperature below freezing. Coolsculpting works excellent. .
Zeltiq's CoolSculpting can not be duplicated with application of icepacks to the skin
If one were to try to freeze the fat by freezing the skin with ice long enough, the skin would die and this necrosis would heal with scarring probably. There also can be cirulatory changes to the skin. Zeltiq has been able to preserve the quality of the skin by localized the temperature reduction in the fatty tissues.
Can the effects of CoolSculpting be replicated by the application of ice bags
CoolSculpting is performed using a device that rather than delivering cold actually extracts energy (thereby cooling) the tissue. The device carefully monitors this process with continual feedback so that the temperatures achieved are such that the fat will freeze but not so cold that other tissue such as skin, muscles, nerves or blood vessels will. One could never monitor such a process with the use of an ice bag. It is highly unlikely one could deliver cold enough temperatues to the fat with an ice bag alone and even if one were able to do so, you will most likely freeze the overlying skin. As a result of the freezing of the skin, a scar will be induced.
Coolsculpting is the advanced technology of gradual fat tissue cooling, not of fat freezing.
Dear writer, your question is a very important one. By answering it I hope to satisfy your curiosity and also keep your approach to fatty tissue reduction safe. Coolsculpting utilizes a very specific algorithm for gradually extracting the heat from the fatty tissue. This may be called cooling, but never freezing. This algorithm, carefully studied and designed by world renowned scientist and engineers, is what makes this technology so safe, as well as effective. Putting icepacks repeatedly over the areas of excess fatty tissue may lead to frostbite, permanent loss of skin sensation and undesired atrophy or indentation of the area (because the very carefully anatomically designed shape of the noninvasive suctioning 'cup' is not used). Lastly, patients may bring themselves to a state of low body temperature (hypothermia) that could, in some cases, caused death. Your question was a very genuine and important one. I hope I helped clarify your concerns. With regards, Dr. Leyda Bowes
Ice Bags or Coolsculpting?
Great question! Coolsculpting was originally developed from a syndrome called popsicle panniculitis. Peadiatricians had noticed that children who always had popsicles in their mouths would develop a dent inside their mouth. It was theorized that the cold was killing the fat cells. The Coolsculpting device does this in a controlled fashion. It lowers the temperature of the treated fat to a specific temperature that causes fat cells to die. It does this without hurting the skin. If you tried to freeze your fat from the outside with ice, you would freeze the skin causing frost bite. You would also never get the fat to the right temperature to cause the even loss of fat cells. So its a good thought, but leave fat freezing up to the Coolsculpting professionals!
Will applying ice packs freeze my fat away?
Hello Jenny Chicago,
Coolsculpting was designed to kill fat cells by bringing the fat to a specific temperature. The temperature it takes to freeze the fat cells is much higher than the temperature of freezing or damaging the skin. The skin is proctected during the treatment. If this were attempted for the same amount of time with ice packs, it could cause necrosis of the skin. This could lead to further issues, including scarring. It is important to have your treatment completed with an experienced provider.
Best of Luck,
Dr. Thomas E. Kaniff
Do Not Try This At Home
I have significant experience working with Coolsculpting, and I would not recommend that you try this at home. Trying anything at home can result in serious injury. Coolsculpting is a safe and effective treatment when applied by a trained professional. While it takes about 6 weeks to see results, the results are long-lasting. Most clients need 1-2 treatments to see results, but some require more.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.