Once a physician purchases a CoolSculpting machine, Zeltiq (pronounced zel-teek), the makers of CoolSculpting encourage their doctors to use it on themselves. It’s much easier to tell a patient about the product once you’ve experienced it yourself. This includes gaining first hand knowledge of effectiveness, pain, pros, cons, etc.
Prior to purchasing the machines, I learned that to treat an area like the love handles, muffin top, saddle bags or arms, the suction cup of the machine must be attached for one full hour. That means that if you treat both sides of your love handles, it will require 1 hour of treatment for each side. And when I’m asking a patient to undergo a certain procedure, I first ask myself what I would want for me. In the case of CoolSculpting, I would not want to take 2 hours of my time to treat both flanks.
Therefore I purchased 2 machines so that patients could undergo DualSculpting – having both sides of your love handles, muffin top or arms treated at once so that treatment time takes 1 hour instead of 2. The machines were delivered on Monday, March 17th and I treated my love handles the next day, the 18th! Here’s what I found. It didn’t hurt.
Like a patient, I first had pre-treatment photos taken of my flank areas. The areas of treatment were marked with a black magic marker and the CoolCurve+ treatment head was chosen since its size seemed most appropriate. A cool gel pad is first placed onto the love handles to protect the skin. This was quite cold but not painful. Just surprising. After the gel pad was in place, both suction heads were attached to my love handles and the machine was turned on. The suction was very powerful but again, not painful. The treatment head pulled the love handle skin up into the suction cup and slowly but surely the skin began to cool. As the skin cooled, it started to feel numb (which is normal).
For the hour of treatment, I was able to check my email and take care of other tasks on my laptop. So it was actually a very productive hour! At the end of one hour, the cooling automatically stopped and the suction decreased. I pulled the treatment head off of the skin along with the gel pad. At this point, the recommendation to improve fat reduction by an additonal 10-15% over the expected 20-25% reduction, is to aggressively massage the treated skin while it’s still cold. The purpose of this is that after treatment, many fat cells have already undergone a programmed cell death but other fat cells are teetering between life and death. Aggressive massage allows you to mechanically disrupt the cell wall of these fat cells to push them towards death. The massage doesn’t hurt for the first 10 to 15 seconds but as sensation returns to the skin, the massage does hurt for the next 20 seconds or so. But it’s tolerable.
Once done with the massage, that’s it, your treatment is complete! Things to expect over the next few days to weeks are numbness in the treated area. The numbness does eventually resolve, so it’s important not to worry. I’m 7 days out now and still no pain. The treated area does appear to have very slight bruising and swelling but I can tell this is already improving. The skin tends to itch at times over the last couple of days but this also has improved. I expect fat reduction to occur over the next 1 to 3 months and I will follow up with post-treatment pictures at that time.