Cryolipolysis, or fat freezing (brand name CoolSculpting), is a method of noninvasive fat reduction in which cold temperature is used to break down fat cells. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, fat cells, in particular, are more susceptible to the effects of cold than other types of cells, which allows the fat cells to be destroyed while the skin and other structures are spared of injury.
Patients typically see a fat reduction of about 20% and no downtime is required, making fat freezing an ideal choice for patients seeking noninvasive fat reduction treatments. While patients may see their waistbands shrink in size, offering cryolipolysis can mean just the opposite for a practice’s bottom line.
Fat Freezing to Increase Revenue
Stanley Kovak, M.D., of Kovak Dermatology & Laser Institute, notes that medical spas should “definitely” consider adding fat freezing to their menu of treatments if they have time for training and room for the equipment.
“If you don’t get good results, you’ll get a bad reputation and the treatment will get a bad reputation." — Stanley Kovak, M.D.
“Be aware of competition because that can definitely have an effect on your return on investment,” he said. “If you don’t get good results, you’ll get a bad reputation and the treatment will get a bad reputation. CoolSculpting does work if used in the right hands and on the right person.”
CoolSculpting has gained popularity and a place in the cultural vernacular thanks, in part, to celebrity use. Khloé Kardashian recently revealed that CoolSculpting is her secret to a lean physique. But non-celebrity patients are seeing the benefits of fat freezing as well—thanks to reliable results and lack of downtime.
While CoolScultping is not the only body contouring method on the market—some treatments use ultrasound, while others use heat—Kovak states that other therapies can have a greater risk of side effects and can even cause nodules to develop under the skin.
“Fat freezing tends to be the most consistent treatment for fat,” he said. “There are a lot of devices out there that use heat; some give absolutely no discomfort, but the results tend to be minimal. Sometimes it’s more a short-term reduction in fat volume only to increase as you take in more water.”
Ensuring Patient Satisfaction
Positive results and patient experiences will help draw in new patients and retain old ones. As with most things, proper training is necessary as results are extremely dependent upon what handpiece is used, how and where it’s placed, as well as the patient, according to Kovak.
“Fat freezing tends to be the most consistent treatment for fat."
“If you are amiss with this, or are unable to do this properly, you’re going to have unhappy patients and you’ll have a machine that doesn’t bring revenue because you won’t have great results,” he said. “You also have to take into account there’s a lot of competition for fat, whether it’s freezing or liposuction or heating and because of the competition, ROI is decreased.”
Zeltiq offers a three-day CoolSculpting University training program, which offers providers training to successfully launch CoolSculpting in their practices. All practices undergo a certification process to ensure consistent efficacy as well as a comprehensive understanding of how the technology and procedure works.
“There are many papers on fat freezing and the results and many happy patients,” added Kovak. “It doesn’t mean every patient gets what he or she wants ... expectations have to be delivered properly. In general, most patients will get good results if you freeze the fat versus other methods.”