Why Some Fat is Stubborn
If you’ve ever undergone major weight loss, you know that the last few pounds are the hardest to lose. We often hear from our patients that the first 20, 50, or even 100 pounds seem to be easier to lose than the last 5 or so - and sometimes, even when the number on the scale drops, our body still holds on to fat in certain areas. The area under the chin (aka double chin), the arms, thighs, and the abdomen can all seem to resist weight loss, despite our best efforts.
Why? This isn’t some evil conspiracy designed to encourage you to abandon your healthy habits. It has to do with how fat cells behave when we gain and lose weight.
How Fat Cells Work
Over the course of our lifetimes, the number of fat cells we have typically goes in one direction: up. Our bodies typically create fat cells throughout childhood and adolescence and then stabilize in adulthood. However, if we do gain weight as adults, this number continues to increase.
Here’s the unfortunate truth about fat cells: You can grow them, you can shrink them - but without external intervention, you can’t really eliminate them. Like other cells in the body, fat cells do die, but they’re replaced by an equal or greater amount each year.
When we lose weight, the cells shrink - but they remain intact. This is why the last few pounds are so impossibly difficult to lose - you’ve emptied out the suitcase, but it still takes up space on its own.
To make matters even more frustrating, if you do regain weight that you’ve lost - as many of us do - studies show that your body kicks its fat cell production into overdrive, creating more stubborn fat cells and making it harder for you to get to your ideal weight.
Luckily, modern medicine has created a few solutions to help us target stubborn fat cells. The answer is to physically remove the cells, either through surgical methods like liposuction, or non-surgical treatments like CoolSculpting®.
Liposuction is a surgical treatment that involves making small incisions through which fat is physically removed. It’s a good option for patients who have excess skin or weak muscle tissue in addition to the stubborn fat, because a plastic surgeon can work to repair these other tissues during the same procedure.
Since it is a surgical procedure, liposuction involves some downtime, and can involve swelling, tenderness, and numbness for weeks to months after surgery. While this is a life-changing procedure for many patients, some patients - especially those who don’t struggle with excess skin or weak muscle tissue, just stubborn fat - don’t want the downtime associated with a surgical procedure.
For those patients - CoolSculpting® offers targeted reduction of fat without incisions, surgery, or downtime. You can do CoolSculpting® treatments during your lunch break, and go back to work with few to no side effects.
How CoolSculpting® Works
The CoolSculpting® procedure safely delivers precisely controlled cooling to gently and effectively target the fat cells underneath the skin. Treated fat cells are crystalized (frozen), then die. Over time, your body naturally processes the fat and eliminates these dead cells, leaving a more sculpted you.
Because of the very gradual absorption of the destroyed cells, there is no discernible increase in lipid levels in blood stream or any other physiological changes. The procedure is FDA-cleared and has been used effectively around the country and abroad for over a decade.
Is CoolSculpting® for Everyone?
It’s worth mentioning that neither of these treatments is recommended for patients who are overweight or obese - without the accompanied lifestyle changes, your risk of complications is higher, and you’re likely to gain the weight back after treatment. If you’re overweight or obese, Dr. Majewski will recommend natural weight loss before pursuing a surgical or non-surgical body contouring option. This is for your safety, and to ensure that you are able to get and maintain the results you want.
If you have excess skin or weak muscle tissue in addition to excess fat (many women struggle with this in the abdominal area after having children), Coolsculpting® might not be the right solution for you. It will reduce the fat cells, but will not help with the loose skin or muscle tissue, and may not improve your appearance. Dr. Majewski will likely recommend a surgical option - such as abdominoplasty or an arm lift or thigh lift - to help you get the results you want.
You might be a candidate for CoolSculpting® in one area (such as your arms or thighs) but not in another - it simply depends on how the fat, skin, and muscle tissues have developed in that area.
Schedule a Consultation
Curious to know if CoolSculpting would be the right solution for your stubborn fat? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Majewski. Be sure to check our Specials and Events page to see if we have a free CoolSculpting® consultation day coming up!