Coolsculpting Treatment to Flanks and Sides Review With Photos
My Coolsculpting experience- by Tara Diamond-Kule
I had been interested in having a Coolsculpting treatment for a while to eliminate the excess fat around my abdomen and flanks. I had tried in vain to tone up my lower abs after having children. No matter what weight loss strategy I tried, I could not seem to get rid of my unwanted fat. I was at an ideal weight and it just would not go away. I decided to start researching non-invasive fat reduction procedures and eventually settled on having a Coolsculpting treatment. With minimal recovery time and good results, it seemed like it was the ideal fat removal treatment for me. I decided to schedule an initial consultation to investigate the procedure further.
I arrived for my consultation and met the person who would be administering the Coolsculpting procedure. She checked the treatment areas I was interested in doing to see if I was a good candidate and see how many sessions I would need. When I say “sessions”, I mean different small areas to equal the whole area. It’s sort of like a pie. The abdomen is the whole pie, but each session refers to how many pieces of the pie need to be done to equal the whole abdomen area. It’s not like when you do liposuction, the cannula goes in, and suctions out the whole area at once. Each piece of the pie is done separately and every person’s distribution of fat is different. Because of that difference, everyone’s number of pieces that make up the pie are different.
According to the technician, I needed six sessions, or six parts, to do my whole abdomen area. That is over the belly button, under the belly button both sides of the belly button and one on either side, which would be what one would consider the love handle area, or muffin top. Each session takes one hour. The technician measures the area with these plastic numbered plaques that tell her what size applicator to put on the Coolsculpting machine. She said I had very even fat, which she rarely sees, so I needed four in the front and then one on each side.
She took 360 degree before photos. They use a numbered, eight sided thing on the floor to do the photos by making you put your feet on the numbers until you’ve gone in a complete circle.
I opted to do all six sessions in a single treatment on a day the following week. I went there having not eaten anything and not having much water. I brought a protein bar and a pint of blueberries. In my mind, I’d thought six hours would be six hours. I didn’t account for time used setup, then between sessions, etc. It ended up being more like seven and a half hours with all that.
A frozen gel gets put on each of your trouble areas before the vacuum-like machine is applied. I didn’t find that bothersome or painful. It was cold but not unbearable. The machine is applied, like a strong vacuum with a rectangular slot for your fat. It sucks your fat in there and stays attached for an hour. In a few minutes your skin goes numb and then you just watch TV or do whatever. I slept through the first two sessions. Then I watched TV for the remainder.
I did not think the actual procedure of putting the vacuum on was painful. I found the pain was in the machine coming off, and then the feeling of the frozen fat and skin afterwards. My technician did massage each piece after, which is supposed to aid in better results. Otherwise, the skin would be like a frozen stick of butter sticking out from your body. If you’re squeamish, it’s best not to even look at it. I went to urinate after every hour, as I was drinking water throughout. I felt a little nauseated after every hour and it wasn’t easy to get up and down from the toilet or get my pants back up because the areas were extremely sensitive.
Even though I was drinking water, I don’t believe I drank or ate enough calories while doing the procedure. I just hadn’t really thought that part out. The first four sessions went smoothly, but then after the first love handle side, I fainted. I was laying down so it was fine- it’s not like I dropped to the floor. I have fainted before though, from being dehydrated, so I was not in any way alarmed. I just made a mental note to tell people to make sure to stay hydrated during this procedure. Once I fainted that time, I knew I would faint from the other side too, because it was already in my head. That’s exactly what happened. I came to quickly and it was like it never happened.
The Coolsculpting literature promotes it almost as a “lunchtime procedure” with no downtime. I do not agree with that assessment. Maybe if you have one session to do, it could be the one hour and then out and about. It is wholly dependent on the amount of sessions you’re doing. At six sessions in one day, there is NO way that there is no downtime. I didn’t need to take off work the next day, but that’s because I have to be at work. It’s my business. If I had a sick day to take, I probably would’ve taken it.
The literature does not mention using a compression garment after for the bruising and swelling. My technician did mention it as optional, but not until the day I was getting it done. I would’ve preferred to have been told this was less optional, more necessary, and told at the consultation. I think my technician told me this because she’d actually done Coolsculpting herself, so she knew from experience. I don’t think Coolsculpting talks about this as part of their training. Or it wouldn’t be an afterthought by the technician. Places that do Coolsculpting would probably give or sell them with the procedure, like when I got liposuction years ago.
After the procedure, I ordered a compression garment from online. In the meantime, I wore Spanx I already had. The problem with Spanx was that they were full. Full, meaning underwear/thigh up to the bottom of my bra strap. The one I ordered was just the entire abdomen area with no underwear/thigh part. My skin was way too sensitive to have to get in and out of such a full garment. It made not want to go to the bathroom because I knew how it was going to hurt getting the garment up and down. I was much happier once I got the shorter garment. I wore it every day for four weeks, day and night. It didn’t bother me at all. I actually ordered two because I go on the treadmill daily, so I’d always have one I was wearing and then one clean to change into after working out.
My technician told me I might have shooting nerve pains a few days later. I don’t recall that being a thing for me. She also told me I could be itchy. “Could be itchy” was an understatement. The itching was almost unbearable & it lasted between 1-2 weeks. No powder, no cream, nothing alleviated that itching. Apparently it comes from your nerves coming back to life or something. I’m not sure. There was definite itching. It also felt like my skin was not mine. It was in different stages of numb for almost four weeks. I couldn’t really wash there- I just had to let soap run over it from higher up. The lines that were drawn on me for placement of the vacuum were there for about a week because I couldn’t really wash thoroughly.
Did it work? Honestly, I didn’t think it did for almost two weeks. Then, I started to really see a big difference. It’s been six weeks and I can’t even believe the difference. At two weeks, I would’ve told anyone who asked not to do it. It’s almost like after giving birth where you think once the basketball comes out, your stomach will go back to flat. Meanwhile, you have a jiggling bowl of jelly there. This was very similar. You’re swollen from trauma, so the results are not evident at all in the beginning. Then when you start to see the results, you REALLY see them.
After six weeks, my lower abdomen especially is like someone else’s body. I used to bend over, even as a teenager and have a big roll of stubborn fat under my belly button. Now, I can’t even pinch an inch. I keep trying because it’s just so weird to me that it’s my body. You can also see definition on the sides of my abdomen (not the love handle part), where I didn’t have any. I had an indent in my lower abdomen fat from being pregnant, that is now gone because the skin is flat there now. I can see the different in my upper abdomen too, a lot of fat loss, but just not as much in comparison to the lower.
Right after doing the procedure, I said that I didn’t know how people went back to have multiple treatments. Now I get it. As I see the amazing results, I’m thinking, that if I had the money, I’d do the love handles again, and the upper abdomen. I feel like if I did it again, with the results I’ve had so far, which aren’t even at peak yet, I’d have a six-pack from it. I just wouldn’t do six hours at once. I’d do three hours, at a time, at the most. But now I’d also want to do other areas, like my upper arms and inner/outer thighs.
I didn’t lose any pounds. But my body is back to more of the hourglass shape I had before I got pregnant. My pants fit better in the waist. It also motivates me to work out more. I was pretty complacent about doing the minimum workout because I wasn’t seeing any results. Now that I’ve seen this transformation, it gives me the push to try to do more to make the results even more visible.
I think it’s just important to be fully prepared. Have your garment(s) ready to go for after the procedure, whether they tell you to get them or not. Be and stay hydrated and eat a decent amount of calories. Good calories, but calories. If you can take off work the next day to rest, do that. Know that you’re going to itch and you’re going to be numb. Go to someone you trust or to someone recommended to you by someone you trust.