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Monroe Dermatologist Explains: CoolSculpting® vs. Radiofrequency

Monroe Dermatologist Explains: CoolSculpting® vs. RadiofrequencyWhen it comes to fat loss, there’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is it’s possible to lose fat with a healthy eating plan and a consistent exercise routine. The bad news is you generally have no control over which areas of the body the fat loss comes from.

Sometimes you’re still left with excess fat, and it can show up as lingering saddlebags on your thighs, pockets of fat on the inner thighs or in the form of a tummy pooch. No matter where you find excess fat, it should be gone by now, right?

Well, there’s more good news!

In the past, liposuction surgery was the primary go-to method to help get rid of lingering fat pockets. Today there are noninvasive cosmetic procedures to help you precisely target those stubborn pockets of fat cells that diet and exercise seem to have no effect on. And the best news is, once you eliminate those fat cells, they’re gone forever!

Two of the most popular nonsurgical procedures used to shape and contour the body are polar opposites in their methods to achieve their desired results. One involves freezing the fat cells to death, while the other one uses heat to destroy them.

Both methods have their pros and cons, and neither one should be considered a one-size-fits-all solution. Let’s look at both of those procedures in a little more detail.


Coolsculpting® is just one brand name for the body shaping procedure more commonly known as fat freezing. The way it works is to cool the targeted area to somewhere between 30 and 40°F and maintain it at that temperature for about an hour. The fat cells will die, and over a period of a few weeks, the body will naturally process and eliminate them.

This natural body process can take up to about three months, so the results of the procedure won’t be totally visible until then. On the plus side, there’s very little discomfort, and little, if any, downtime is necessary. You can usually resume your regular activities immediately after the treatment.


There are a number of different trade names for the devices that use radiofrequency waves to eliminate fat cells, but they all generally work in a similar fashion.

Radiofrequency waves are delivered into the fatty tissue, destroying fat cells without harming neighboring healthy cells. The RF waves can penetrate deeply into the subcutaneous tissue, heating those cells to the point of destruction without heating the surface of the skin.

The treatment typically takes 15 minutes for each targeted area that’s treated, and multiple areas can be treated in a single session. Results can usually be seen after the first treatment, with more notable results seen several weeks later.

One major benefit of radiofrequency treatment is that in destroying the fat cells, it also stimulates an inflammatory response, which triggers an increase in collagen in the body. The end result is tissue repair. So any loose skin left from eliminating the fat cells is naturally tightened. Fat freezing methods are unable to produce this result.

As you can see, both types of procedures have their pluses and minuses. It’s certainly worth your time to schedule a consultation to discuss which method is the best for your unique situation and get recommendations on which one is most able to give you the results you desire.