SLUCare Now Offers CoolSculpting
Pictured: Karen Gregory, CNS, delivers CoolSculpting treatment.
Body fat is a trait we all share, but some have a more fraught relationship with it than others. We need fat to insulate and protect our organs and tissues, but it can become a stubborn problem in certain areas of the body, and diet and exercise don’t always reduce it. SLUCare practitioners offer a procedure called CoolSculpting to combat unwanted fat from the chin to the knees, and they’re seeing positive results, says SLUCare advanced practice nurse Karen Gregory, CNS.
“CoolSculpting is not a weight loss procedure,” she explains. “It’s an FDA-cleared, noninvasive treatment that shapes areas of the body where unwanted fat hasn’t responded to diet and physical activity.” She says it works well in areas like the upper arm, abdomen, double chin, back, bra line, flanks, inner and outer thighs and knees. SLUCare performs the outpatient procedure at its University Tower offices in Richmond Heights, where physicians and advanced practice nurses customize treatment plans for each patient. The practice held an open house this month to introduce new patients to its services.
CoolSculpting involves the freezing of fat cells through a technique called cryolipolysis, which can reduce the number of fat cells in a treated area by 20 to 25 percent. Once the cells are frozen, the body’s lymphatic system clears them out over a few weeks following treatment, and optimal results usually are seen in two to three months.
There are many different tools to improve the look and shape of the body; the ‘holy grail’ is a procedure that is effective and painless. CoolSculpting fits that idea well.”SLUCare plastic surgeon Dr. Christina Plikaitis
Gregory says the treatment doesn’t affect surrounding tissues; it only targets fat cells. “There is no downtime after the procedure, and no needles or incisions,” she says. “The patient feels a slight tugging when the CoolSculpting applicator contacts the body, but it’s not uncomfortable.” A vacuuming action gently pulls the skin and fat tissue into the applicator and cools it. Once the area has been treated, it is massaged to improve results even further, Gregory says. Some patients may experience minor numbness, redness, swelling or bruising afterward, but these side effects are temporary. “There are many different tools to improve the look and shape of the body; the ‘holy grail’ is a procedure that is effective and painless,” says SLUCare plastic surgeon Dr. Christina Plikaitis. “CoolSculpting fits that idea well. Some patients even relax and read while having it done.”
Gregory notes that the technology was developed in an interesting way. “Researchers in the 1970s realized that cold could have an effect on body fat,” she explains. “They noticed that kids who sucked on popsicles lost fat in their cheeks, and women who rode horseback in the winter saw a reduction in outer thigh fat.” Cold treatments to remove body fat began appearing in the 1990s; now, CoolSculpting features applicators of different sizes to fit each patient’s unique physique, Plikaitis says. “There are lots of different treatment patterns we can do,” she notes. “Each patient is evaluated by a plastic surgeon who can offer more than one way to achieve body shaping goals. CoolSculpting is one of the most effective tools we have, and we’re very excited about it.”
By: Julia M. Johnson