The Surgeon Minute

No Downtime Fat Removal Gives Plastic Surgeons More Options

No Downtime Fat Removal Gives Plastic Surgeons More Options

“Freeze the fat away!” The billboards for CoolSculpting are popping up all across the country. While the slogans and ads make it sound too good to be true, the fact is the procedure really does work.

Dr. Patricia McGuire, a board certified plastic surgeon in St. Louis, knows the device works and has implemented it into her practice. By having an option for fat removal that doesn’t involve surgery, anesthesia, or downtime, Dr. McGuire has added a new option for a whole group of patients.

By Patricia A. McGuire, MD
and Adam McMillon
The Plastic Surgery Channel

More Options means More Refined Results

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CoolSculpting is now available in many plastic surgeons offices, increasing the scope of their practice as they now have a new option for a particular niche of patients. “Body contouring patients are very lucky now because we have a lot of options to offer them,” says Dr. McGuire. “As a plastic surgeon, I can offer the full extent, from abdominoplasty to non-invasive surgery.”

It’s generally easy for a plastic surgeon to know which patients need which type of body contouring, but the opposite is true for patients out there researching. CoolSculpting peaks everyone’s interest, but not everyone will be a good candidate. Conversely, a patient might think they need liposuction, when in fact the surgeon may suggest a couple rounds of CoolSculpting.

“A lot of patients are confused which way to go,” explains McGuire. “A lot of it depends on a patient’s anatomy. If the patient has a lot of loose skin and stretch marks, they’ll probably need the most invasive procedure, which is an abdominoplasty. If the patient has small areas of fat and doesn’t want any downtime, then the non-invasive technology, such as CoolSculpting, may be for them.”

What does the CoolSculpting process look like?

“The advantage of CoolSculpting is that there’s no downtime,” says McGuire. “The procedure is done in the office, no anesthetic, takes 1-2 hours and then patients can return to normal activities right away. The disadvantage is, CoolSculpting takes 4-6 weeks to see results, so impatient patients may not be great candidates for the procedure.  McGuire says most patients will require more than one treatment, usually two, to see the best results.”

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CoolSculpting may not be enough, what’s my next step?

Patients who come into a plastic surgeon’s office for CoolSculpting will have the advantage of the physician’s knowledge and array of tools. “If a patient wants results sooner, then we can offer ultrasonic-assisted liposuction, power-assisted liposuction, or SmartLipo, which is a laser assisted liposuction. Again, these options depend on the amount of downtime the patients want, the location of the fat, and how fat the patient has.”

“The big advantage we have as plastic surgeons is we can offer our patients all of those options and tailor it for them.”

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