Fat Freezing With CoolSculpting: How It Works

If I were to ask women about one thing that they would like to change about their bodies, getting rid of some stubborn fat bulges would undoubtedly be among the top three answers. Technically this is achievable through the right diet and exercise, but there are certain areas of our bodies that will never be as flat as we want them to be, mostly due to genetics.

RELATED: 6 Myths About Plastic Surgery Busted

Liposuction is an option to reduce fat, but many people don’t want to go to the extreme of having surgery. As impossible as it sounds, there is a new way to permanently eliminate fat without having to go through surgery and it is still relatively unknown in Australia. It’s called CoolSculpting and it could be the answer to your fitting-into-those-skinny-jeans prayers. CoolSculpting simply freezes fat cells in your body without the use of needles or any other skin penetrating device. But more on that later.

I talked to skin aesthetician Emma Stewardson from world-renowned plastic surgery clinic Silkwood Medical to get all my questions about the seemingly magic machine answered.

So Emma, how does CoolSculpting work?

The CoolSculpting machine cools fat cells down to a temperature which basically causes them to die. However, the temperature is not cold enough to damage any surrounding tissue or nerves, that way only the fat cells are destroyed and gradually removed from our bodies.

What happens when you book a CoolSculpting treatment at Silkwood Medical?

You first come in for a consultation where we explain how CoolSculpting works and then we see if you are a suitable candidate for it. We try to find fat pockets that are easy to pinch and then we do a so-called ‘full transformation plan’ which shows you all areas on your body that would be possible to treat. You can then decide which areas you want to focus on.

On the day of the treatment I advise patients to wear comfortable clothes and the first thing we then do is take 360 degree photos of them, followed by marking up the area that we are going to treat. After that, gel pads are applied and the vacuum is turned on, which sucks the fat in. Depending on the area, we choose different applicators that vary in size and shape.

Lastly, we turn on the cooling and make sure our patient feels comfortable and has everything they need for the duration of the treatment, such as refreshments and entertainment. After the cycle is finished, we remove the vacuum and do a 2-minute massage, which enhances the effectiveness of the fat freezing.

What does it feel like?

Most patients don’t feel any pain, but rather a feeling of pressure, pulling, and mild pinching. This is completely normal as the applicator sucks in the tissue in the targeted area. You will also feel intense cold, but that feeling usually subsides after a few minutes. Overall, it is a comfortable treatment during which you can just lean back and relax. At Silkwood Medical, we will provide you with lots of entertainment such as movies and magazines, or you can work on your laptop or even take a nap if you like.

Does it work on everybody?

In order for CoolSculpting to work on your body, you need to have pinch-able fat pockets. If there is not enough fat, it can’t be sucked into the applicator, but most people have those nasty fat pockets anyway.

When do you see results?

It takes a bit of time for the body to eliminate the dead fat cells. Some people see results after 3 weeks, but the biggest change usually occurs between 8-12 weeks after the treatment.

Are there any side effects or risks?

Prior to the treatment we make sure you are the right candidate and don’t have any health conditions that CoolSculpting could affect. Other than that, your skin might look a bit bruised and swollen at first in the area that was treated and it might feel itchy for a few days, but that’s all. There is no downtime.

Is the fat gone for good?

Yes. Basically, your fat cells can either expand or shrink. With CoolSculpting, you are killing fat cells which are then eliminated. Of course you can still put on weight, but it will be much more evenly instead of just in that one area. So you can maintain a balanced body shape more easily.

CoolSculpting before after

CoolSculpting was developed by Harvard University scientists who noticed that some children who were eating popsicles all of a sudden had dimples on their cheeks, which lead them to the revelation that cold temperatures affect fat cells. But don’t just jump into a bath full of ice water, it doesn’t work like that.

Here are some stats: 92 per cent of patients who had just one CoolSculpting treatment noticed a reduction of fat in the treated area and 8 out of 10 patients plan to refer friends or family members. Not bad, not bad.

I have to say, it sounds pretty amazing and the results speak for themselves as you can see in the before and after pictures below. As any cosmetic treatment, it doesn’t come cheap (prices start from $990 for one cycle – still much cheaper than liposuction or a pair of Manolo Blahniks) and is no substitute for a healthy lifestyle, but it is fantastic to have an alternative to surgery.

CoouSculpting before after

“Design” Your Ideal Body

Surgery was once the only option to reduce fatty trouble spots that wouldn’t budge with diet or exercise. We look at the new non-surgical solutions to permanent fat reduction.

There’s nothing more frustrating than to watch what you eat and drink and exercise regularly (even when you’d rather stick pins in your eyes) than to have fatty trouble spots that just won’t budge. The ones that might be smaller for the effort but remain relatively bigger than everywhere else!

We’re talking “love handles”, “mummy tummies”, “muffin tops”, “spare tyres”, “tuckshop lady arms”, “thunder thighs”, “chicken fillets” under your bra line … the list goes on.

Spot fat reduction isn’t possible through diet and exercise. Moreover, when you go to great lengths to get rid of your particular trouble spots, you’ll probably find that you create more trouble – eg. losing weight in areas you don’t want, such as the face (ageing) or bust (deflating) – but the niggling spots continue to niggle.

Surgical procedures such a liposuction were once the only option to resolve this dilemma. Now permanent reduction of fatty trouble spots is possible with a variety of non-surgical techniques.

Unlike body wraps and fancy schmancy machines in salons that basically stimulate drainage of excess fluid (hence a short-term result), these technologies provide significant and lasting fat reduction, enabling you to “design” your ideal body shape.

It’s important for patients to understand, though, that non-surgical body-contouring is not designed for weight reduction or as a treatment for obesity. To maintain results, you have to keep up the good work of a healthy diet and regular exercise.

If you think you can rest on your laurels and pig out because the trouble spots have finally gone, you may well discover that fat cells in other parts of your body celebrate by getting bigger – hello, new trouble spots!

Fat cavitation
The use of energy sources such as ultrasound (sound waves), radio frequency and infrared at low frequency has been proven successful in reducing unwanted local fat deposits.

There are a number systems offering this process – brand names include Liposonix, Ultrashape and TruSculpt – which is non-invasive, with only minimal or moderate discomfort in the majority of cases.

A great advantage is that there is no downtime as with surgery, but there can be some redness, bruising and swelling for several days or up to a week or more, depending on the intensity of the treatment.

The fat cell cavitation process can be likened to a highly pitched singing voice shattering glass: the energy waves that pass through the skin shatter the wall of the fat cell. This causes its contents to leak out and kills the cell.

However, no damage is caused to the skin, blood vessels, nerves or connective tissues nearby the treatment areas.

After the breakdown (“lipolysis”) of fat cells, the waste is processed by the liver and excreted via normal body functions.

Usually these procedures require 3-4 treatments, spaced about 3-4 weeks apart, with optimum results seen three months after completing treatment.

Gold Coast cosmetic physician Dr Lindsey Hooke believes in the saying “try before you buy”, which she did with the TruSculpt ultrasonic fat-reduction technology. She and two of her team had one session each and all reported pleasing results.

“I had TruSculpt on the fatty areas of my back around the bra line. Within a month of the treatment – which I found painless – the fatty pockets are significantly reduced and my bras fit a lot better. I feel I can now wear close-fitting tops and dresses without bulges showing through.

“One of my staff had TruSculpt on her inner thighs and she’s delighted. She says she feels and looks a lot better in leggings and jeans.”

This technology literally involves freezing fat cells to death. Zeltiq CoolScupt is the result of years of research by Harvard University-associated scientists, who were intrigued by how babies given ice lollies to suck to relieve teething pain lost fat in their cheeks.

CoolSculpt can target and kill fat cells without harming surrounding tissue.

Fat cells are frozen, then crystallise and are gradually eliminated through the body’s natural processes between 6-12 weeks.

In any one session it targets a particular area such as “love handles”, “muffin tops” and stomachs. The device is positioned on the area to be treated; two “rollers” cooled to 7 degrees C for around 60 minutes. The fatty treatment areas are suctioned between them.

The technology has evolved so that larger areas of localised fat can be treated in one session than initially possible.

Again, optimum results are seen around three months after the final treatment.

A more traditional form of spot fat reduction, mesotherapy (also known as “lipodissolve”), involves a series of essentially pin-prick injections, containing substances such as enzymes, vitamins and phosphatidylcholine (a natural soy substance) into unwanted fat pockets.

These increase fat metabolism to break down fatty deposits in order to naturally absorb and remove them from the body.

Most patients will experience some degree of redness, swelling, itching/stinging, bruising or tenderness. This peaks at around 45 minutes after treatment and can take 24-48 hours to fully subside. Bruises can take a week or more to vanish.

As many as six sessions spaced around a month apart may be required and not everyone will be a “responder”. That will only be determined around 4-6 weeks after your first treatment.

Have you tried – or would you try – non-surgical fat reduction treatments?

Plastic Surgery Guide To Abdominoplasty

If your tummy isn’t as flat as you would like for it to be, you may have considered having abdominoplasty, or as it’s commonly called, a tummy tuck. While having this surgery can definitely improve the way you look in tight jeans or a swimsuit, don’t expect miracles. Here’s a realistic guide to abdominoplasty.

What a tummy tuck can do

Abdominoplasty can remove excess skin and fat as well as repairing stretched-out muscles resulting from pregnancy, ageing, weight fluctuations or heredity fat deposits. A tummy tuck can give you a smoother, flatter abdomen.

What a tummy tuck can’t do

While tummy tuck surgery can remove some stretch marks, it can’t get rid of all of them.

Abdominoplasty is not the lazy woman’s shortcut to weight loss. For the best results, the patient should already be at a healthy and stable weight before undergoing the surgery. If you’re planning to get pregnant in the future, this surgery should be postponed until afterwards.

Have realistic expectations

If you look at all those flattering photos in ads for plastic surgeons, you’d think that you could emerge from your abdominoplasty with the toned, flawless tummy of a swimsuit model. You need to have realistic expectations and your cosmetic surgeon should talk you through them.

The abdominoplasty procedure

There will be one incision made between the pubic line and the navel that will leave a scar at the bikini line. If you have a large amount of excess skin and fat, another incision will be necessary around the navel in order to reposition it higher on your abdomen. This is also likely to leave a scar.

Abdominoplasty cost

In Australia, a tummy tuck can cost from $6,000-$10,000. None of that will be covered by insurance unless your doctor considers it medically necessary to repair a condition like an abdominal hernia.

Down time after abdominoplasty

The average down time following a tummy tuck (or before you can drive and go back to work or other moderate activity) is 10 to 14 days. Full physical activity like exercise is permitted after six weeks.

Liposuction and other surgery

In some cases, abdominal liposuction can be more successful than a tummy tuck, so speak to your cosmetic surgeon about both options and which, if any, are best for you.

If you are considering getting other cosmetic surgeries like a breast reduction, these can sometimes be performed at the same time as a tummy tuck. Discuss your plan with a plastic surgeon.

Would you consider getting a tummy tuck?

Plastic Surgery Guide: How Much Does Liposuction Cost?

Liposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic plastic surgeries, so let’s take a look at what to expect from liposuction, including how much does liposuction cost?

Liposuction removes fat deposits from areas of the body, especially stubborn spots that do not respond to dieting or exercise. Liposuction is most frequently performed on the abdomen, hips, buttocks, thighs, legs and waist. It can also be done on the arms, neck, back, inner knee, cheeks, chin and chest. Properly done, liposuction can give you more sculpted curves and tighter contours.

Liposuction cost

How much you’ll pay for liposuction depends on how many areas you have treated in one procedure. Typically you’ll pay $3,000-$5,000 for one area of the body, $5,000-$6,500 for two,  $6,500-$8,000 for three and $9,500-$15,000 for four to six areas. Liposuction can be done alone or combined with other cosmetic procedures like a breast reduction, facelift or tummy tuck.

The total price of your procedure will include the surgeon’s fee, anaesthesia, cost of hospital or surgical facility, post-surgery garments, medical tests and prescriptions for medication. For a more exact idea of how much the procedure will cost, consult a surgeon in your area who performs liposuction. Check with the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons to find a registered plastic surgeon, and do your homework.

The procedure

What happens during liposuction? First, you receive anaesthesia, then small, inconspicuous incisions are made. A thin, hollow tube called a cannula is inserted through the incisions to loosen the excess fat, then the dislodged fat is suctioned out with a surgical vacuum. The results will be visible once the swelling and bruising of the procedure subside.

Can the fat come back?

Generally, no, because the fat cells have been vacuumed out. However, liposuction should not be considered a treatment for obesity. You should be at your optimal weight before having the procedure performed.

Liposuction is not for everyone. The ideal candidate is an adult who is within 30% of optimal weight with good muscle tone and elastic skin that is in good health and has an optimistic outlook on the surgery. It also helps with healing if the patient is a non-smoker.

Possible complications

The list of complications that can happen is too long to list here, so thoroughly discuss this subject with your plastic surgeon. Problems can range from uneven contours or irregular pigmentation to blood clots, scarring or nerve damage. Liposuction is major surgery, it can be very painful and it should never be considered an easy way to drop a few kilos quickly.

New liposuction techniques

The latest techniques being used in liposuction are external and internal ultrasonic liposculpture. These techniques allow fat to be removed in larger volumes and more precisely with less swelling or bruising. Currently, a small number of surgeons in Australia are performing these procedures.

What Are The Five Most Popular Cosmetic Plastic Surgeries?

Have you considered having cosmetic plastic surgery? You’re not alone, because more than eight million procedures are done every year, all over the world! Can you guess which five types of plastic surgery are the most popular?


Over the last few years, “lipo” has overtaken breast augmentation as the most-performed plastic surgery procedure. Worldwide, liposuction represents almost 20% of all surgical procedures.

Liposuction is one of the newer cosmetic procedures, being invented in 1974 and exploding in popularity in the eighties. In 1985, California dermatologist Dr. Jeffrey A. Klein revolutionised liposuction surgery by inventing a new technique that allowed patients to have the procedure under local anaesthesia by using much smaller cannulas. This “Tumescent Technique” produced fewer skin depressions and less bleeding.

We profiled Cellulaze – a new type of “lipo” which lasers off fat. Read more about it here.

Breast augmentation

The “boob job” placed a close second to liposuction as the most-performed plastic surgery procedure, with about 17% of total surgeries. Although for decades doctors had tried unsuccessfully to enlarge women’s breasts with a variety of substances, the modern age of augmentation surgery began in the 1960s, with the invention of silicone and saline breast implants.

Eyelid lift

The blepharoplasty, which can be done on upper or lower eyelids, comes in at third place and accounts for approximately 14% of surgeries. The word “blepharoplasty” was created by Karl Ferdinand Von Grafe to describe the surgical technique used to repair damage done to a patient’s eyelids caused by cancer. The modern version of the surgery was perfected on wounded soldiers during World War II.

Nose job

Rhinoplasty comes in at number four with nearly 10% of surgeries. The use of surgery to reshape the nose goes back to ancient Egypt and has undergone many refinements since then. This procedure was also refined during World War II and by the 1950s, the procedure was common among the rich and famous.

Tummy tuck

The abdominoplasty is fifth with about 7% of all surgeries. The first tummy tuck was performed in France 1890, but early versions of the surgery required removal of the belly button. A German doctor solved this problem in 1909, and the popularity of the tummy tuck has been growing since the 1970s.

Other favourite surgeries

Among the other most-performed cosmetic surgery procedures are the facelift, lower body lift, upper arm lift, breast reduction and breast lift. Among the fastest-growing procedures are male breast reduction, eyelid surgery amongst Asians, non-surgical body contouring, vaginal modification and the Brazilian butt lift.

Are there any plastic surgery procedures you would consider having done?

Sick Of Cellulite? 5 Things To Know About Cellulaze

Cellulaze is a new treatment that breaks down cellulite using laser. We chat with Celluluaze surgeon Dr Scott Ingram on how it works, the cost, the pain and the results. Dr Ingram is the owner of Form and Function Clinic, plastic and reconstructive surgeon and President of the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, and is the only surgeon in Australia accredited to perform Cellulaze.

What is Cellulaze and how does it work?

Cellulaze is a minimally-invasive one-time surgical procedure for the reduction of cellulite. This treatment is brand new to Australia and works by emitting laser energy into the troubled area (cellulite) and breaking the bands that create fat dimples in the skin. Cellulaze can drastically reduce the appearance of cellulite through its innovative SideLight Laser technique and after undergoing extensive training in the United States, I was chosen to pioneer the procedure in Australia. Cellulaze has been available in the U.S. for over three years and is clinically proven to reduce the appearance of cellulite.


What kind of results can patients typically expect?

Typically, all patients will experience a significant improvement in the appearance of their cellulite after a Cellulaze treatment. Results vary from patient to patient and range from partial to complete removal of cellulite.

How much does it cost?

This one-time treatment starts at $7,000 and is charged according to the size of the area being treatment.

How much downtime does a patient need?

A Cellulaze treatment requires minimal downtime. A typical patient will resume daily activities immediately and return to work within days. Vigorous activities and exercise however are not recommended for a minimum of 3 weeks and possibly up to 6 weeks post treatment.

What is the pain like throughout and after the procedure?

Cellulaze is a minimally invasive treatment performed under local anesthesia with an oral sedation. The procedure is extremely well tolerated with little or no discomfort during and after the procedure.