My health kick has given me more muscular definition, made me stronger, and given me the ability to enjoy strenuous activities more. Unfortunately, it has NOT eliminated the remnants of my old, morbidly obese self. I've still got slight man boobs, flabby arms, fat thighs, a gracious spare tire around my midriff, and a maddening amount of residual fat and loose skin around my belly. I decided to try something new and "cheat" my way to a better figure while continuing my workout routine.
After doing substantial research, CoolSculpting stood out as a relatively low risk, low cost way to get started. I consulted with a local cosmetic surgeon, brought up some of the common issues I'd heard about on RealSelf, and got satisfactory answers. I took a couple days to decide, purchased a 4-sculpt package to tackle my flanks (aka "spare tire") and abdomen. It's been two days since the procedure, so I have no idea whether it was "worth it." My goal in writing this review is to give people detailed information about the procedure itself -- how it feels, how it looks -- and to keep the review up to date with my progress over the next 8-12 weeks.
The treatment machine is basically a very large mini-fridge with an LCD touchscreen interface. The applicator resembles the head of a vacuum cleaner, only with more internal volume, a sterile plastic covering, and a comfortable silicone lining. Cold water circulates through the applicator and back into the machine to be chilled. The machine makes some noise while it's running, but in all, it's not a very intimidating device!
The nurse who was administering my treatment applied a cold, medical-grade "wet nap" and fitted the applicator over my left flank. The suction was, as everyone says, uncomfortable but not painful. That sensation lasted about a minute, fading gradually as my skin cooled. After five minutes everything was numb; I settled back and read a book.
When the applicator came off an hour later, I'll admit that I was alarmed by what I saw: a big, firm, cube-shaped mound of angry red skin, glistening with agar gel left over from the "wet nap" which had been protecting my skin from frostbite. The nurse massaged the flesh back to its normal shape -- which was ticklish and a bit painful, but only lasted 20-30 seconds. Then we set up my other flank and went through the whole procedure again.
After hour two, the nurse returned and changed the applicator to the larger size to do my abdomen. This thing was LARGE, with the volume of a loaf of bread (but narrower). I was warned to expect more discomfort since the stomach has many more nerve endings. The applicator went on and FWOOMP -- sucked my whole belly up into it! It tickled quite a bit ,causing me to laugh, which was painful. Then the sensation got more uncomfortable, almost a burning muscular pain -- like doing a continuous sit-up or Russian Twist, very disconcerting. The nurse distracted me with small talk for two minutes, and once again the discomfort began to fade as everything began to numb. After five minutes the pain had turned mostly numb with a lingering, slightly unpleasant cool sensation in my belly. I relaxed my abdominal muscles and the machine sucked up even more of my midriff.
When the applicator came off the final time, it was VERY strange to look down and see how much of ME was sitting there, frozen into a gelid lump with that same angry red appearance. The massage wasn't painful, despite being much more intensive, because everything had gone numb. As my belly began to warm I felt an intense stinging sensation throughout. This lasted for only 30 seconds, and faded into a significant abdominal ache, exactly as I would feel after an intense ab workout.
I went home and spent the afternoon taking it easy. My bright red skin had faded to a livid, dark red "flush" within an hour. I felt very little pain or discomfort; mostly, everything was numb. I skipped my workout that day, mostly to reward myself
On day two, the numb regions shrank and the aching became more pronounced, especially in my abdomen; it felt comparable to a 100-situp workout. I took some ibuprofen, which eliminated all of the discomfort.
This is day three; there is still a pronounced numbness in my belly and flanks, but the aching and tenderness are starting to fade. No painkillers today. The bruising is more pronounced, especially along my flanks. I noticed in the shower this morning that my belly is quite swollen, as if I'd put on 20 pounds overnight.
I haven't yet felt any shooting pains, seen any lumps or bumps form, or experienced anything that I would classify as more than moderate discomfort. I'm going to resume my workout routine today. So far, it's gone better than I was expecting! I'll keep updating this review every few days with information about the healing process and the results (which I don't expect to be noticeable for at least 4 weeks).