We all carry our weight differently. Personally, when I gain weight it goes straight to my stomach. Even at my most fit, I always have a little tire around my belly. So when I heard that there was a non-surgical way to get rid of stubborn areas of fat, called CoolSculpting, I booked an appointment at Pierre R. Michaud, MD, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery.
During the initial consultation with Dr. Michaud and Medical Aesthetician Mari Nadolny, they explained that CoolSculpting was not a weight loss system. Rather, it’s a contouring tool used to diminish pockets of fat that don’t go away no matter how much someone diets and exercises. Any changes that I saw would be purely aesthetic, and my weight shouldn’t change.
CoolSculpting works by freezing the fat cells in the body. Freezing the cell destroys it, and your body naturally gets rid of it afterwards. There can be some discomfort during recovery and everybody’s body reacts differently to treatment. I felt comfortable and safe with the realities of the procedure, and decided to move forward with the next step: the physical checkup, where Dr. Michaud and Mari determined whether I was a good candidate for the procedure. Dr. Michaud observed the areas I was considering. He agreed that my tummy would benefit from the treatment, and we decided together to treat my upper legs, too.
On my next visit, Mari brought me into the treatment room. After taking before pictures, Mari explained how each area being treated takes about one hour, and that my total procedure would total four hours. Lucky for me there was a big screen TV in the room that I would have all to myself.
To get going, Mari drew on my body where she would be placing the CoolSculpting machine attachments. There was a small amount of suction coming from the attachment that scooped the area into it. Once in place, the attachment started to cool. At first I could feel my skin getting colder and colder. Ultimately the area got numb, and I forgot it was there. I could easily sit back, relax and watch some much needed TV.
Once the hour was up, Mari took off the attachment and massaged my skin. She explained to me that massaging the area is important to the CoolSculpting process. It returns sensation to the area, but it also promotes the body’s ability to get rid of the fat cells.
After four hours (and a few naps) it was over – it went by quicker than I thought it would. The only discomfort I felt during recovery was in the first week. I noticed that the treated areas had a similar sensation to that of a foot or an arm that falls asleep and is slowly waking up. The pins and needles feeling was soothed by applying ice packs. Taking ibuprofen was not an option since inflammation was an indication that my body was getting rid of the fat cells, and boy did I want those fat cells gone.
When I came in for my checkup after 12 weeks, Dr. Michaud remarked how much flatter my inner thighs were. He also recommended a second treatment for my stomach. He explained that the first treatment really debulked the area. The second treatment would refine it.
After the second round of CoolSculpting, I booked the final consultation for another 12 weeks. Recovery after the second treatment was a breeze. I barely had any discomfort and I even made my way to the gym. I also began to notice that my tummy was getting flatter and flatter. I was gaining a new confidence in my appearance, and feeling the urge to wear more form fitting clothes.
I was giddy on my way to the final appointment. Mari took “after” photos of my treated areas, and we discussed them with Dr. Michaud. Seeing the difference in my body after two treatments was such a confidence boost. I hadn’t lost any weight, but areas that stuck out in ways I wasn’t comfortable with had been contoured. Dr. Michaud also explained that the treated areas would continue to go down, because my body’s healing process wasn’t over just yet. I was already thrilled with my results, and couldn’t wait to see what the future held for my body and my newfound confidence.
Dr. Pierre Michaud, MD. Aesthetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery
875 Centerville Road, Building 2, Warwick