Does CoolSculpting really get rid of fat cells?

Dr. Dean Kane Q & A Q. Does CoolSculpting really get rid of fat cells? Is the procedure effective and dependable? Is there a home machine to perform the same or similar treatment for real and effective results? If so, what is it called, who manufactures it and where can it be purchased? Anything else you can tell me would be highly appreciated. A. ​This is a common concern from CoolSculpting (CS) patients. ​CS is a non-surgical but limited technique to make the fat within skin bumps and bulges to die. They die from a process called apoptosis (programmed cell death at the level of DNA signalling from the freezing cycle). They may also die from added inflammation or mechanical massage of the area while the viable cells are most vulnerable to be injured. ​ ​The machine is sold to Certified CoolSculpting Practices by the manufacturer Zeltiq. It is the only machine of its kind approved for this application by the FDA. All other FDA approved machines for the fat reduction indication are heat producing machines using laser, radio-frequency and ultrasound energy sources. To my experience, they remain lackluster and under achievers even for the limited improvements they promise. ​ ​The history of the use of freezing for fat reduction is interesting and may be found on the CoolSculpting website or the below link.
  • “​The first report of adipose tissue and its sensitivity to cold injury dates back to 1902 by Hochsinger.3 He described firm nodules under the chin in young children, what he deemed an “acute freezing reaction.” It was not until 1941 that Haxthausen4 published a case series of 4 young children and a teenager who had developed what he termed “adiponecrosis e frigore.” He observed that these lesions occurred in the winter after exposure to extreme cold. Reports from 1940 to 1970 echoed these original findings, with red indurated nodules indicative of coldinduced panniculitis occurring in a variety of clinical situations, including in children and adults, after various cold insults.5-7 In 1970, Epstein and Oren8 coined the term “popsicle panniculitis” after reporting the presence of a red indurated nodule followed by transient fat necrosis in the cheek of an infant who had been sucking on a popsicle. Ice cube exposure on the buttocks of this child produced the same lesions. These observations led to the concept that lipid-rich tissues are more susceptible to cold injury than the surrounding water-rich tissue.”
  • Don’t try this on your own! You may freeze more than fat and cause frostbite of the skin or nerves.
​I recommend you consult with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon to re-evaluate all your options including liposuction contouring and tummy tuck or other skin excisions. Please understand that all these options are body contouring options and NOT weight loss procedures. They are a great motivator and self-esteem improver but you must assist with lifestyle changes in diet and exercise. ​ I hope this is helpful. ​All the best!
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