Is CoolSculpting effective for lipodystrophy in the abdominal area?
When fat accumulates in the abdomen due to lipodystrophy, the location of this fat is normally within the abdominal cavity and not in the superficial layer between the skin and muscle. CoolSculpting will only treat the superficial fat and not the fat within the abdominal cavity. Some people have been able to decrease fat in the abdominal cavity with diet and exercise and there are some medications that have been tried as well. I'm not certain if any of these medications have been proven to help yet or not.
Coolsculpting and lipidistophy
Coolsculpting is designed for the superficial layer of fat between the skin and muscle. It is not designed to treat fat accumulated in abdominal cavity such as the case with lipodystrophy, A physical examination and consultation by an experienced surgeon will allow you to better understand your options.
Lipodystrophy and coolsculpting
Coolsculpting is great at freezing fat areas along the flanks and abdomen and thighs. It cannot treat internal fat such as in the case of lipodystrophy. For the best results please consult a board certified dermatologist with experience in coolsculpting.
CoolSculpting the abdomen
CoolSculpting uses vacuum based applicators which bring excess fat and tissue into a suction cup so that the tissue can be exposed to low temperatures for prolonged periods of time. By "freezing the fat" a process of programmed cell death is initiated in the fat cells that are able to be drawn into the applicator. This process is called apoptosis and is triggered through cryolipolysis. Cell death generally begins 3-4 days after treatment. Cryolipolysis technology is based on the principle that fat cells are naturally more susceptible to cooling injury than the skin or the other cells in the vicinity. So that enables us to do a non-invasive, cooling down of the skin and all of the subcutaneous tissue together, and the only cells that are affected by this process are the fat cells themselves. Patients can expect to see up to 20% reduction in the fat layer in the treated areas after one treatment, and can expect those results to nearly double if a second treatment is performed 30 days post procedure. Because CoolSculpting is only capable of targeting subcutaneous fat, or the fat directly below the skin it may not be the correct treatment for your condition as lipodistrophy in the abdomen is generally an accumulation of visceral fat. Visceral fat is the fat layer that can be found around your organs. My best recommendation would be for you to meet with a board certified plastic surgeon in your local area for a consultation.
Two separate compartments of fat
There are two separate areas where the body stores fat in the abdomen. One is immediately under the skin, or "subcutaneous". The other is within the abdominal cavity - around the organs. This is the "internal fat".
With lipodystrophy, especially as a side effect of certain medications, fat accumulates in the internal compartment. It can not be treated by Coolsculpting or liposuction, but some newer injectable medications are showing some effect.
Coolsculpting is for the first group of fat deposits, those immediately under the skin.
Coolsculpting is effective in reducing 10-20% of fat in the abdomen in most patients. It is NOT liposuction. If you are looking for a noninvasive body contouring option, please visit with a board certified PS to learn more about your options.
CoolSculpting effects on the fat around the organs
Fat accumulates under the skin and around the organs in the tummy and chest (called visceral fat). CoolSculpting has been very effective in reducing up to 20% of the fat of the skin captured by the applicator.
This leaves 80% of the fat within the thickness of the skin. Both this residual fat and the visceral fat may thicken if a lifestyle change including diet and exercise to reduce total calories is not also followed. In other words, if fat is removed by any means including liposuction, excision like in tummy tuck or CoolSculpting, it will redistribute to other "living" fat cells if you don't lose weight beyond the weight lost by the procedure.
CoolSculpting as with all techniques work by directing which fat cells will be lost but it cannot reach the organ fat.
I hope this has been helpful!