If you put a popsicle on your hips instead of in your lips, would you be able to freeze off your love handles? Sounds unlikely, doesn’t it? And yet the concept of fat freezing — a noninvasive body-contouring system — really did begin with a popsicle.
From Scalpels to Paddles
Years ago, two professors of dermatology at Harvard University, Drs. Dieter Manstein and R. Rox Anderson, were searching tor ways to remove fat from the human body without surgery. They noticed that children who frequently ate popsicles sometimes developed dimples in their cheeks. They realized that the cold from the popsicles was killing off small pockets of fat cells in these children’s cheeks.
Because fat freezes at higher temperatures than water does, water-rich tissues such as skin and blood vessels weren’t adversely affected by the cold. Just the fat cells died.
This simple insight led the two researchers to investigate cryolipolysis — killing fat with cold —as a means of contouring the body. The result was Zeltiq’s CoolSculpting(R) system, which uses both suctioning and nonsuctioning paddles to deliver controlled cooling to fat cells to kill them.
How Cryolipolysis Works
When fat cells are subjected to the low, near-freezing temperatures in the fat-freezing paddles, they can’t function anymore and go into a slow death cycle called apoptosis. Over the next weeks to months, the dying fat cells break apart and are processed by your body’s lymph system.
Eventually, you excrete the disintegrated fat cells through your urine. Just as in surgical liposuction, once fat cells have been eliminated from your body, they can’t return or grow back. Your body permanent has new contours. If you gain weight, your remaining fat cells can swell again, but you won’t have the same degree of bulging that you did before your treatment.
Ideally, of course, whether you choose fat freezing or liposuction, you maintain a stable weight. That way, your new flat planes and curves remain beautifully consistent.
Fat Freezing Takes Time
Medical fat-freezing requires high-tech machinery that controls the temperature that’s being delivered to the fat cells. The control center also regulates the temperature of the patient’s skin, thus minimizing the chance of skin becoming damaged during treatment. Other than some redness or bruising, there usually aren’t many side effects to freezing off your fat under medical supervision.
However, unlike tumescent or laser liposuction — which expert Las Vegas plastic surgeon Dr. Julio Garcia uses to beautiful reshape your body in just one session — fat freezing must be repeated several times, with weeks in between each treatment. Cryolipolysis only removes about 25% of fat in a treated area during a single 35 to 60 minute treatment. If you have significant bulges around your midsection or hips, you might need up to three fat-freezing treatments.
During liposuction, all of your unwanted fat cells are vacuumed away at once. You have some swelling after your procedure, which takes weeks to months to completely resolve. But even just a week or two after a liposculpture procedure, many men and women start to see a significant difference in their figure.
And Why Not Popsicles?
After medical fat-freezing caught on, men and women who wanted to contour their bodies began to wonder, “Why can’t I just do it myself?” While no one in their right mind would think of trying a DIY liposuction procedure, plenty of people tried to freeze off their own fat using home-made ice packs. A few enterprising companies noticed the trend and came up with their own DIY fat-freezing kits.
The problem with the DIY method of cold contouring is that you have no control over the temperature that’s being delivered to your fat cells or to your skin. Your fat cells’ temperature may not be lowered enough to kill them, and your skin’s temperature might be lowered so much that it causes damage. And, if you’ve ever tried to cut your own hair, you can imagine that actually trying to sculpt your own body fat might be a more challenging enterprise than it first seems.
Body Sculpting Takes Artistry
Whether you opt for fat freezing or liposuction, the most important part of your procedure is finding the right plastic surgeon to reshape your figure. Dr. Garcia trained as an artist before attending medical school, so he not only has a highly developed sense of aesthetics, he has a sculptor’s eye and hand.
The aim of great body contouring isn’t just to slash off a bunch of fat. Ideally, your surgeon removes fat while at the same time remodeling your shape to be more in harmony with your body type. Your planes are flat and smooth. Your curves are flattering and shapely. Your results are uniform and seamless.
While fat freezing is great for men and women who are fearful of surgery or who can’t afford a few days of downtime after their procedure, it doesn’t offer the same degree of finesse that a well-performed liposuction does. And, of course, since you need multiple procedures after many months, you won’t know for quite some time whether the results you get are the results you want.
Sculpting With Mini Straws
While fat freezing uses big paddles to suck up fat and kill it with cold, today’s tumescent liposuction utilizes mini metallic straws called cannulas that gently vacuum away fat in fine details. So fine, in fact, that Dr. Garcia can turn your liposuction session into a muscle-etching session, too. He can define muscles on your abdominals, arms, or legs. He also uses liposuction to remove fat from and reshape areas such as:
- Muffin tops
- Love handles
- Saddle bags
- Bra fat
- Back fat
- Arm fat
- Thigh gap
Liposuction Is Easier Than Ever
Fat freezing developed as an alternative to liposuction. But the liposuction of yore is a far cry from modern tumescent liposuction. In addition to the much smaller, finer cannulas, other advances have made the procedure easier on the body and easier on the eye.
Dr. Garcia adds to the comfort and beautiful results of your liposuction by injecting a special saline fluid containing lidocaine into the targeted area. The saline breaks up the fat and the lidocaine numbs the treatment area. Dr Garcia can even use laser energy to break up the fat cells even more finely and to tighten your skin.
In some cases, you don’t even need to be under general anesthesia for liposuction anymore. If you are just treating one or two small areas, a twilight anesthetic could be enough to make the procedure comfortable.
You will have some swelling and bruising for a few days after your liposculpture. Dr. Garcia recommends avoiding daily activities at this time and getting plenty of rest. Over the next weeks, you’ll notice the change in your figure as your swelling goes down and your body heals. Soon enough, you’ll have the figure of your dreams — without the need for further treatments.
When you’re reading to start choosing the right plastic surgeons in las vegas for your body-contouring, contact Dr. Garcia about tumescent liposuction and laser-assisted liposuction.