Does Freezing Fat Make More Sense Than Using Radio Waves to Remove It?

Is there a certain advantage of one over the other (freezing fat vs. radio waves regarding Coolsculpting or Velashape). What body type is best for either?

Doctor Answers 9


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Coolsculpting is an excellent form of non-invasive  fat reduction for the right patient. Some applicators take 1 or 2 hours but the new advantage applicators take only 35 minutes and have significantly less risk for delayed onset pain (especially in the abdomen). Results are seen at 2 months and typically 1-3 treatments will be necessary on each area to achieve ideal results. The number of treatments depends on the amount of fat there and the patient's goals.  There is not downtime and the results can be impressive in the right patient.  We also use the Zimmer Z-wave for improved patient comfort and added results. The best candidates are those who are in pretty good shape with areas of stubborn fat that won't go away no matter what.

My best,

Sheila Nazarian, MD, MMM

Beverly Hills, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

VelaShape is temporary, so I wouldn't use it for fat reduction

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VelaShape does a nice job of smoothing cellulite and can reduce circumference a bit, but it's not permanent.  CoolSculpting is the nonsurgical, permanent option for fat removal in specific areas.

Carmen Kavali, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

CoolSculpting Delivers Amazing Results

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We've seen great results with CoolSculpting, which targets and freezes fat cells and allows your body to naturally eliminate them in the weeks and months that follow. It has a great track record of delivering safe, effective, and reliable results. Typically the ideal candidate for CoolSculpting is someone who is happy with their overall body weight but still struggles with pockets of stubborn, unwanted fat that don't respond to diet or exercise. It's important to remember that CoolSculpting is not a weight loss treatment. The best way to know what's right for you is to have a consultation with an experienced CoolSculpting specialist near you.

Cool Sculpting treatments lead to permanent fat loss

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I recommend Cool Sculpting over radio frequency for fat removal that is going to be permanent.

Body reshaping can be performed with a cannula that removes fat via liposuction or with noninvasive technology like Cool Sculpting. With Cool Sculpting there is no cannula inserted into your body. All treatments are performed on the surface from the outside in using technology that freezes the fat. Don’t hesitate to give us a call in Austin regarding a Body Reshaping Consult at the Upper Room. On our Facebook Page there is an Interview I recently did with KVUE, a local news station in Austin, that was picked by affiliates around the United States, including Miami. During the Interview we discussed the technology of Cool Sculpting as well as it application process.

Freezing fat vs. using radiofrequency

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CoolSculpting has been FDA cleared for the permanent removal of fat cells through cryolipolysis. It normally reduces 20-25% of the fat cells in a single treatment. Velashape requires multiple treatments with results that are usually not substantial nor permanent. Velashape does not remove fat cells. You should talk to a licensed professional to get a consultation to find out what is the best treatment for your needs.

Freezing vs radio waves for fat removal

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Coolsculpting is a great and permanent removal of fat cells.  The science was developed developed by Harvard scientist and is a FDA approved procedure for fat reduction.  The fat is frozen and removed permanently.  It will remove about 25-25% of the fat in the coolsculpt suction head.  RF is not permanent removal and needs to be repeated.  The best candidates are people with localized fat deposits and not obesity.

Miguel Delgado, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Freezing Fat with CoolSculpting

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Thank you for your question. CoolSculpting is an excellent option developed by Harvard scientists. The freezing of the fat is a unique, FDA-cleared, patented procedure that uses a targeted cooling process that kills the fat cells underneath the skin, literally freezing them to the point of elimination. Only fat cells are frozen. Once crystallized, the fat cells die and are naturally eliminated from your body. CoolSculpting is not a weight loss solution for people who are obese, or a substitute for surgical methods such as liposuction. Good candidates have noticeable bulges in certain areas they’d like to get rid of. Your doctor will determine if treatment is right for you during a one-on-one consultation.

CoolSculpting can provide a small but real permanent fat reduction vs Velashape

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Velashape may temporarily reduce fat volume and you need maintenance treatments.  It helps shape and contour. CoolSculpting by Zeltiq permanently kills some fat cells by one freezing treatment and the reduction in fat volume continues for several months. Approximately 20% is reduced, as seen during ultrasound imaging, at four months.  Certainly, the remaining fat cells in the treated area, and the fat cells in non-treated areas can increase volume as they store more fat if more fat is produced after the CoolSculpting by eating more and/or exercising less.  The Zeltiq is not a replacement for diet and exercise. The treatment can be repeated, if desired, in a few months, multiple times to improve on the former results.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

CoolSculpting Results

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Coolsculpting by Zeltig or "fat freezing" is a new technology to treat unwanted localized fat deposits.  Developed by Harvard doctors, it is FDA approved for fat removal.  The amount of fat removed varies, but the minimum amount is 20%.  It is best utilized in patients that are at or near their ideal body weight.  It works by freezing fat cells that are then eliminated from the body by cryolipolysis.  It takes 8-12 weeks to see the results as the frozen fat cells are slowly removed by the body.  The areas of the body that can be treated are:  abdomen, flanks, bra line, inner thighs, upper arms, men's breasts and some outer thighs.  The company is new and is working on developing head pieces to treat other areas of the body.

Coolsculpting works by applying a mechanical head over the targeted area which "sucks" the tissue into the headpiece that has cooling panels.  Over the course of one hour the cooling panels freeze the tissue, the skin is protected from frostbite with a protective gel pad, the fat cells form ice crystals within the cell that cause them to die.  The body then "cleans up" the dead fat cells over the next 2 months.  The treatment is performed as an outpatient, no anesthesia, no IV's, no Propofol (Michael Jackson's drug of choice), and no down time.

It is a wonderful adjunct to body contouring.  It can be used instead of surgery and also after surgery (liposuction, tummy tucks) to improve the results.  It can be performed again and again, even in the same areas.  The price is less than surgery and anyone can undergo a session, even with medical conditions that prohibit them from having a surgical procedure.  The difference between freezing fat and radio waves is that Zeltig permanently removes the fat cells, the radio waves just shrink fat cells.  We are born with a certain number of fat cells in our body, when they are removed, they are gone forever!  Shrunken fat cells can become larger again, they have not been removed.

I hope this helps explain CoolSculpting.

David Finkle, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

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.