Popsicles & Fat Loss: The Strange Connection that Created CoolSculpting
CoolSculpting has rapidly become one of the most popular body contouring treatments offered at our practice. And what’s not to like? CoolSculpting has been shown to effectively reduce targeted body fat that is very difficult to lose by diet and exercise alone. CoolSculpting treatments are non-invasive, which means there is no need for needles, incisions, or anesthesia. The best part of all of this is the fact that there is little to no recovery time needed.
The story of how CoolSculpting was developed is almost as interesting as the results of the treatment itself.
The idea behind CoolSculpting was the brainchild of two doctors, Dr. Rox Anderson and Dr. Dieter Manstein, who are both associated with the Wellman Center of Photomedicine, affiliated with the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.
The two doctors were both familiar with a strange phenomenon known as “popsicle panniculitis”, which has to do with the loss of cheek fat that occurs while sucking on a frozen popsicle. At the time there was also a recently documented case where a woman who rode naked in the cold weather on a horse, reported the loss of fat in her inner thighs. We’re not sure why anyone would ride a horse naked in the freezing cold, but it is certainly interesting.
Both cases documented a connection between the exposure of an area of the body to cold temperature and resulting fat loss in the area. From this correlation, Dr. Anderson and Dr. Manstein hypothesized that perhaps applying extreme cold to fat could result in fat loss as well.
With trial and error Dr. Anderson and Dr. Manstein discovered that fat was actually much more sensitive to cold than nerves, skin, muscle and other body tissue. The doctors were able to pinpoint a precise temperature that served to maximize the destruction of fat, while leaving all of the other structures unharmed, and thus the concept of cryolipolysis was created.
When fat cells are exposed to cold temperatures they become terminally injured and gradually die. Over time, the body seeks to remove these dying cells, with absolutely no increase in either cholesterol levels or lipid levels in the blood. Further research revealed that approximately 25% of fat in the abdomen was reduced in only one treatment. Additional treatments have been shown to further reduce the fat by nearly the same amount, which is very promising for those looking to reduce fat.
CoolSculpting was approved by the FDA in 2010 and was initially used off label for fat reduction. We began offering CoolSculpting at Westlake Dermatology shortly after the FDA approval. It was integrated into our services quickly after seeing such great results from the treatment.
Are you interested in CoolSculpting or have you had the treatment? Leave a comment below and tell us your thoughts!