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Fat Freezing VS Fat Burning

If you’ve been working out, reducing your weight, or just have stubborn pockets of fat you can’t seem to lose, you might have come across terms such as ‘fat freezing’ and ‘fat burning’ when it comes to fat removal solutions. With advancements in science and newer technology, procedures for fat removal are on the rise.

Fat freezing and fat burning are two different methods used to reduce fat. These procedures have been found to be effective in getting rid of fat tissue. In this article, we will compare two of the most well-known non-invasive fat reduction treatments on the market.

●      Fat freezing or cryolipolysis – CoolSculpting, the only FDA approved fat freezing procedure available on the market1

●      Fat burning or laser lipolysis – SculpSure, the only FDA approved laser lipolysis procedure available on the market2

Introduction on fat freezing and fat burning

What’s the Main Difference Between Fat Freezing and Fat Burning?

The primary difference between fat freezing and heating is that fat freezing utilizes sub-zero temperatures to reduce the appearance of stubborn fat, while fat burning obviously uses heat to melt fat cells. As we have established previously, we will be discussing the only 2 FDA-approved fat burning and fat freezing treatments, namely SculpSure (fat burning) and CoolSculpting (fat freezing).

While SculpSure and CoolSculpting feature distinct differences, there are also numerous similarities between the two treatments. Firstly, both devices destroy unwanted fat cells by changing their temperature. 

In the case of CoolSculpting, the fat cells are cooled down to the point of crystallization, while SculpSure heats the cells to destroy them. In either instance, treated fat cells are then eliminated by the regular processes of the body’s lymphatic system.

fat-burning-sculpsure
fat-freezing-coolsculpting-singapore

Furthermore, both of these treatments are non-invasive, which means they do not require anesthesia or incisions. Patients resume their daily routine as soon as their treatment has been completed as well. However, it is important to note that SculpSure and CoolSculpting are designed to eliminate unwanted, isolated areas of fat and are not considered weight loss devices.

Now, let’s dive into detail and find out how these procedures work.

How Fat Freezing works – Discussing Cryolipolysis | CoolSculpting

The fat-freezing is technically known as cryolipolysis. It is also better known as CoolSculpting commercially3.

CoolSculpting is a proven method of body contouring through Cryolipolysis, gaining approval from the FDA for this purpose in 2010. Its original approval included treatment of the abdomen, flanks, and thighs. Subsequently, the device was cleared by the FDA to eliminate stubborn fat from areas such as the double chin, arms, and knees. CoolSculpting remains the only non-invasive method of body contouring to receive the clearance to use Cryolipolysis for fat removal.

CoolSculpting works through controlled cooling. Because fat cells freeze at a higher temperature than other cells in the body, targeted cooling is delivered that destroys the fat without damaging the surrounding skin and tissue. As the “frozen” damaged fat cells are flushed out by the body, naturally, the treated area becomes leaner.

How does the Fat Freeze?

In one study, it was found that fat freezing prevented blood flow specifically to the fat cells or adipocytes4.

The cooling can cause the blood vessels that carry oxygen to constrict. Apart from this, this constriction can be so severe that once constricted the vessels never open again. Thus, the blood flow is hampered and the fat cells do not get oxygen. As a result, the fat cells breakdown and die5.

Another study found that fat freezing triggered an inflammatory process. In response to the inflammation, the fat cells die, and as a result, the promotion of collagen deposition in the target area happens6.

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What Happens During the CoolSculpting Treatment?

CoolSculpting is an outpatient procedure. During the procedure, you can be asked to change into a comfortable robe. You will be asked to sit or lie down comfortably. However, this will depend on the target location for fat removal. For instance, if you are due for fat removal from your back, then you will be asked to lay down flat with your stomach facing down.

Once you have settled into the right position, an applicator is placed on the specific treatment area. After the applicator is applied, you will start feeling a cool sensation. CoolSculpting uses temperatures from −10°C and −13°C using a special applicator for specific target areas. The applicator remains in place at this temperature for a predetermined treatment duration7.

During the entire process, if you feel uncomfortable at any given stage, your doctor can pause or stop the procedure. The procedure usually takes 45 minutes to one hour. This depends upon the area and size of the fat tissue that is scheduled to be removed.

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You may resume your daily activities right after the procedure

After the application, it may take up to 3 to 4 months for the results to be visible as the destroyed fat will be eliminated slowly over the course of months naturally by the body’s immune system.


How Fat Burning Works – Discussing Laser Lipolysis | SculpSure

In contrast to fat freezing which uses cold temperatures, fat burning uses heat to get rid of fat cells. SculpSure’s technology is based on heat, laser heat to be exact. The treatment gained approval from the FDA to utilize laser lipolysis for fat removal.

The laser energy is delivered into the treatment area, where it targets the fat cells and liquefies them. Since fat also more sensitive to a lower temperature than other cells in the body, heat can be used to destroy these cells without damaging surrounding skin and tissue.

As a result, the broken-down fat in the treatment area is eliminated by the body in the weeks following treatment. 

Studies have shown that the rise in temperature of the local tissue caused the death of fat cells. This is because the fat cells are more vulnerable to changes in temperature. Therefore, the applied heat can damage the structural integrity of the fat cells causing their death.

Research has shown that laser lipolysis is also effective for skin laxity. One study used laser lipolysis and skin tightening to treat the lower subcutaneous layer. Treated skin tissue was evaluated and it was found that under constant heat, skin tightening was observed during the healing process without epidermal injury8.

Laser lipolysis has the potential of producing similar clinical results to those seen with liposuction while providing the additional benefit of skin tightening9.

What Happens During the SculpSure Treatment?

At your appointment, you will be asked to sit or lay down based on the target location of fat removal. Then a belt-like device is wrapped around the target site. The applicators will then be placed on the targeted site.

Heat is produced with the help of laser light of 1060nm wavelength. The heat produced can range from 45°C to 47°C. However, the exact temperature used during the treatment will vary from person to person as well as the target location10.

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You might feel alternate cooling and heating during the procedure. The procedure can take from 25 minutes to 40 minutes11. Much like CoolSculpting, you may resume your daily activities right after the procedure.

After the application, it may take up to 3 to 4 months for the results to be visible as the destroyed fat cells will be eliminated slowly over the course of months naturally by the body’s immune system.

Pros and Cons – Fat Freezing Vs Fat Burning

Every procedure has its own risks and benefits. Although fat freezing and fat burning are minimally invasive procedures, they have their own limitations and gains.

Fat Freezing (Cryolipolysis)

Pros

Cons

Proven to be safe and effective

Minor swelling and bruising

Gets rid of stubborn fat

Numbness at the site

Non-invasive

Slower results as opposed to invasive treatments

No anaesthesia
PAH (paradoxical adipose hyperplasia)
No downtime
Cell

In-office treatment procedure

Cell

Fat Burning (SculpSure)

Pros

Cons

Proven to be safe and effective

Might require a few treatments to achieve desired results

Minimal discomfort

Slower results as opposed to invasive treatments

Relatively pain-free and safe

Cell
Gets rid of stubborn fat
Cell
Non-invasive
Cell
No anaesthesia
Cell

No downtime

Cell

In-office treatment procedure

Cell

Treats skin laxity

Cell
No Risks of PAH (paradoxical adipose hyperplasia)
Cell

Finding the Right Fat Removal Solution

When it comes to choosing the right procedure for you, your goals and needs are indeed important considerations. Both SculpSure and CoolSculpting are offered at Ensoul Body Medical Clinic and the treatment plans are tailored to the unique needs and goals of the patients following a detailed body assessment.

With extensive experience in both processes, we can recommend the more appropriate treatments for you. To learn more about our solutions, schedule a body assessment with us today.