Denizens of the first world have access to healthful food and ways to get fit that were not even in existence 10 years ago. Modern fitness fads such as Ballet Workouts and Piloxing were created to make fitness fun and less of a drag just like meals such as those from Lean Bento were created to make healthful foods more palatable. However even with the extra gym time and leaner diets, some pockets of fat can be hard to shrink.

Enter CoolSculpting, a technology based on cryolipolysis, the result of a ground-breaking discovery by Drs Dieter Manstein and R. Rox Anderson of the Wellman Centre for Photomedicine at Masachusetts General Hospital in Boston, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School in the United States. They found that subcutaneous fat cells are naturally more vulnerable to the effects of the cold than the other tissue surrounding them. CoolSculpting freezes the fat at a precisely-controlled temperature for a sustained period of time; the fat then undergoes cell death through a process called apoptosis, resulting in a gradual reduction in layers of fat.

When CoolSculpting was first launched, treatment times could take up to a couple of hours and be very uncomfortable for the patient particularly when treating larger areas such as the tummy and thighs. Thankfully, the engineering team behind CoolSculpting has been constantly looking into ways to make treatments shorter, more comfortable and targeted for the patients.

FitFabClub spoke to Dr Harold Ma from Freia Medical and Dr Calvin Chan from Calvin Chan Aesthetic & Laser about their experience using CoolSculpting in their practice since it was launched about six years ago.

Dr Harold Ma says that adopting the DualSculpting has helped his clinic and more importantly patients, save time, “We see many busy people in our practice who don’t want to bother with downtime or risks so they can get back to their social and work commitments immediately after treatment.”

He adds, “Patients are happy that they can work on the go — we help them set up their tablets or laptops and connect them to our wifi so they can work during their treatments. And many of them are happy to be treated with DualSculpting as it cuts treatment times into half, being able to treat two areas at the same time.”

Dr Calvin Chan from Calvin Chan Aesthetic and Laser says that CoolSculpting is constantly innovating new hand pieces to target and treat smaller — and sometimes more stubborn — pockets of fat. “The CoolMini hand piece which was launched in 2015 for example now allows for the treatment of smaller, more delicate areas such as the underarm bulge and double chin. The double chin is a tricky area — not only are they stubborn and do not typically respond to exercise as well as say the thighs and arms, people can have double chins even when they are otherwise lean and slim.”

He adds, “The CoolAdvantage hand pieces which were launched in 2016 allows for the cooling of fat layers of a larger surface area at even lower temperatures and for shorter durations compared to the old hand pieces.”

Dr Chan reveals that these advancements have made treatments become more comfortable for the patients, “The improved shape of the suction cup or applicator also means a bigger surface area is treated with a greater level of comfort, and less chance of post-treatment bruising and soreness.”

However, the doctors agree that CoolSculpting is not a silver bullet for weight loss or obesity.

Says Dr Chan, “The ideal CoolSculpting patient has a BMI in the healthy weight range who has a healthy diet and exercise regimen, but still has trouble spots or bulges that can be sculpted away. I often see female patients who have gained weight due to pregnancy and childbirth but are looking to lose weight with an overall diet and exercise regimen. The male patients I see tend to be fairly active but are looking to treat their beer guts or love handles.”

Housewife Ms Shoko Iwanaga, a patient of Dr Ma at Freia Medical, says that she has gone down a jeans size since completing her CoolSculpting sessions. She explains, “I had stubborn fats on my upper thighs that didn’t seem to budge with exercise. I do not gym but I walk for two hours every day. I also tend to cook at home at least four to five times a week.”

She adds, “The cold was bearable and it went numb quickly afterwards so it was not painful at all. However, it began to itch at the treated area two to three days after the treatment which lasted up to a week. I was mentally prepared for this as I had read up on the treatment and was warned by Dr Ma.”

“I used to be able to pinch the fat on my thighs but it is not so easy to do it now; I am now looking to target other areas.”

CoolSculpting is not suitable for those who have had surgery, are pregnant or breastfeeding, are severely hypersensitive to cold or have acute skin conditions or an abdominal hernia in the areas to be treated.