If you pick up a fashion magazine or a medical journal this summer, you are very likely to find an article about a non-surgical, body shaping procedure called “Cool Sculpting.” Words like non-surgical and non-invasive do not seem to match the idea of body sculpting, but cool sculpting purports to do exactly that: dissolve away fat cells without incisions.  Below are the four most common questions and their answers.

1. What is Cool Sculpting?

Simply stated, the procedure, technically termed Cryolipolysis, basically freezes fat without disturbing the skin. The Cool Sculpt company experts explain how their instrument works: “Fortunately, Cool Sculpting doesn’t burn, shatter or extract any cells. Developed by Harvard scientists, our unique, FDA-cleared, patented procedure 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. Your healthy skin cells remain, well, healthy.”

2. What is the purpose of cryolipolysis?

In the first place, you will be cruelly disappointed if you believe that this is a weight loss tool to reduce all-over obesity. According to recent reports, cryolipolysis, like its surgical counterpart, liposuction, reduces only local areas, like those stubborn pockets of fat we call love handles, pooches and small muffin tops.

Lead author of a recent research study, and Plastic Surgery Practice editorial advisory board member, W. Grant Stevens, MD, of Marina del Rey, California, recently stated, “Our review showed that cryolipolysis is not only safe and effective for non-surgical, localized fat removal, but also provides high patient satisfaction levels.” He added, “With careful treatment planning, proper applicator placement, and multiple treatment cycles, cryolipolysis can produce results comparable to those of liposuction.”

3. How does it work?

The patient is awake during the process. The device is clamped around a fatty area such as a love handle. It produces a suction and then it produces intense cold. The skin becomes numb quickly and there is no pain, barely any discomfort. The patient reads, relaxes or watches television for about an hour. Like many such procedures, more than one session is often required to accomplish the best results. Some results can be seen shortly thereafter, but the procedure requires time, so that the dead fat cells can be eliminated naturally over weeks and months following the cryolipolysis treatment.

Reports have proven, “The decrease in fat thickness occurs gradually over the first 3 months following treatment, and is most pronounced in patients with limited, discrete fat bulges. Erythema of the skin, bruising, and temporary numbness at the treatment site are commonly observed following treatment with the device, though these effects largely resolve in approximately 1 week.”

4. Is it safe? To date, there have been no reports of scarring, ulceration, or alterations in blood lipid or liver function profiles. Remember, cryolipolysis is a new, noninvasive treatment option that may be of benefit in the treatment of excess adipose tissue. “Unlike surgical liposuction, the patient doesn’t have to take any time away from work or play,” he says. The costs are then much less, the downtime much less, and the results are similar.”

In many cases, the results are very subtle, and yet they provide the recipients with a smoother line to their body, better fit in their clothes, and the encouragement to maintain healthy eating and exercising habits.

The recent study showed that “Cool Sculpting is becoming more popular, with 823% more treatment cycles delivered in 2012 than in 2010.”

528 patients participated in the newly released study and “76% were women…24% were men… The mean patient age was 46, with a similar age distribution among men and women. During the study period, 1,785 anatomic sites were treated with 2,729 cycles.”

Here’s the break-down of favorite sites for the treatment:

The ever popular lower abdomen = (28%),
The pudgy upper abdomen = (11%),
The poochy left or right flank = (19% each),
Bits of flab on the inner thigh= (6%),
Jelly rolls across the back= (6%)
and the outer thigh came in surprisingly last at (5%).

For more statistics behind the most recent studies, click here.

If the idea of body sculpting or a body make-over intrigues you, but you want impressive results, please feel free to check out Orlando Cosmetic Surgery’s special page on liposuction . Discover if you are ready for a surgical technique, because you should know all your options.