Body Contouring Technique: CoolSculptingTM--Not so hot?

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Whenever a new body contouring technique arises, it receives a great deal of media attention. However, the level of attention is often disproportionate with the technique's promise for results. CoolSculpting may be able to achieve modest results for some patients, but will remain limited in its application.

When it comes to predictable results in all anatomic areas regardless of the degree of fat excess, tumescent liposuction still represents the best option for most patients.

CoolSculpting is a new technique for body contouring that has been pioneered by the company Zeltiq. Their CoolSculpting technology was approved for use in the United States by the FDA on September 8, 2010, although it has had a significant amount of investigational use for years. It promises to give nonsurgical fat removal, and in preapproval clinical trials it was able to give patients an average of 20% fat removal in treated areas.

CoolSculpting is not a variation on the liposuction technique. Instead, the machine works by taking in some of the fatty tissue in the area to be treated, then cools the fat down to 38 degrees. This cooling kills off the fat cells. These fat cells burst, die, and are absorbed by the body. According to the manufacturers, the procedure can be repeated, resulting in a cumulative fat loss of up to 40% in unwanted areas.

However, not everyone is confident in the value of CoolSculpting. Dr. David Bottger, a board certified plastic surgeon practicing in Philadelphia expresses his reservations, "Although appealing due to its nonsurgical nature, it is suitable for only small localized deposits of fat. Additionally, the treatment of any given area may require multiple treatments for effective improvement. Multiple sessions would, therefore, be required in the majority of patients seeking body contouring improvement. With results taking two to four months to be completely evident after each treatment, this represents a prolonged process with significant expense and potentially modest, somewhat unpredictable results."

Instead, Dr. Bottger recommends a proven method for body contouring, "When it comes to predictable results in all anatomic areas regardless of the degree of fat excess, tumescent liposuction still represents the best option for most patients."

People considering any body contouring technique are encouraged to talk to a board-certified plastic surgeon about their options and remember that the long-term effects of new techniques are unknown.

About Dr. Bottger
Dr. David Bottger is a board certified plastic surgeon practicing in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. He has a dual certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery. Dr. Bottger provides patients with a full array of surgical and non-surgical options to aesthetically enhance the face, body, and breast regions.

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Dr. David Bottger

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