The History of CoolSculpting

Before CoolSculpting became the world’s top non-invasive body sculpting procedure with over eight million fat freezing treatments, an interesting series of events transpired that made it all possible.

Cold-based have been used in medicine prior to CoolSculpting. Liquid nitrogen, for example, was used for non-neoplastic skin lesions since 1950 (Bouganim et al, 2005).

In terms of the role of cold and its impact on fat (adipose) tissue, the first documented report was in 1902. This publication described an “acute freezing reaction” resulting in nodules under the chin in young children. It wasn’t until 1941 when a case series of four young children and a teenager was published who developed lesions after exposure in the winter to extreme cold. These lesions were termed “adiponecrosis e frigore.”

Between 1940 and 1970, additional medical publications continued to report on findings of red, indurated (firm) nodules in both children and adults after exposure to cold. In 1971, two researchers, Epstein and Oren, described a condition they coined “popsicle panniculitis” after describing changes in an infant’s cheek who consumed a popsicle. Panniculitis is a term referring to inflammation in the panniculus, or the subcutaneous fat layer under the skin.

These observations led to the hypothesis that lipid-rich tissues are more susceptible to cold-induced injuries than the surrounding water-based cells.

The Animal Studies

These initial observations and reports led to the first animal trial that concerned cryolipolysis, a term referring to cold-induced fat cell destruction. This first trial involved a single Yucatan pig that was exposed to a copper plate at 10 different body parts that was cooled to -7 degrees Centigrade. Three months later, all 10 areas revealed a visible indentation with a measurable decrease in subcutaneous fat layer thickness.

These compelling results led to a later study involving three pigs, who were found to have lost 30% of their subcutaneous fat in the treatment areas. In each of these studies, no changes were found when measuring serum lipids or liver function tests. In vitro studies using cell cultures in a lab soon followed that focused on the mechanism of action of the cryolipolysis.

These early animal studies were led by Drs. Dieter Manstein and R. Rox Anderson at the Wellman Center at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, a teaching affiliate for Harvard Medical School.

Pura Vida Medical Spa’s Medical Director, Dr Eric Salata, with the first ever CoolSculpting device at the CoolSculpting corporate headquarters in Pleasanton, CA

The Human Trials

The first human trial looked at treating fat in the flanks (“love handles”) in 32 study participants. In this study, the fat reduction was evident to both study investigators and participants alike. Ultrasonography revealed an average of 22.4% reduction of fat later thickness.

These impressive results led to a larger study involving 50 study participants, which confirmed the fat reduction ability of controlled cooling. This data led to the FDA’s clearance for cryolipolysis of the flanks in 2007.

Since 2007, multiple studies looked at various applications of cryolipolysis, including use on various skin types, as well as performing multiple repeat treatments. As with the animal trials, no change in serum triacylglyceride or liver function tests were found. These studies further confirmed the safety and efficacy of cryolipolysis. The next FDA clearance involved the abdomen in 2012 (Jalian, 2013). Currently, there are nine FDA-cleared areas including the submentum (under the chin), submandibular region (under the jaw), arms, bra fat, back fat, abdomen, flanks, banana roll, and inner thigh. Additionally, the FDA has cleared the treatment of lax tissue with submental area treatments.

The Business of Fat Freezing

The company that currently owns the CoolSculpting® technology is AbbVie, a research-based global biopharmaceutical company. AbbVie acquired the Dublin-based Allergan earlier in 2020. In 2017, Allergan purchased ZELTIQ, a company that was founded in 2005 as Juniper Medical Systems. The company changed its name to ZELTIQ in 2007.

Current Trends

Since its introduction to the market, over 8 million CoolSculpting procedures have been performed worldwide and is offered in over 80 countries. CoolSculpting has been a celebrity go-to procedure, and its brand ambassadors have included Debra Messing, Molly Sims, Kristin Davis, and more recently Sarah Michelle Geller and Malin Akerman. Male athletes including figure skating superstar Johnny Weir and elite golfer Ian Poulter have also endorsed the CoolSculpting procedure. CoolSculpting treatments have been featured on shows including The Doctors, and Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

CoolSculpting at Pura Vida Medical Spa

Since first offering CoolSculpting in 2015 at their Downtown Naples location, Pura Vida has performed over 6800 CoolSculpting procedures, propelling Pura Vida to its place as Florida’s top CoolSculpting provider. Additionally, Pura Vida has added additional CoolSculpting devices and is SWFL’s only quadsculpting facility. Pura Vida Medical Spa holds the world record for most CoolSculpting cycles performed on the same patient in one session (31).

Interested in learning more about the CoolSculpting procedure? Call the Medical Spa selected by Florida Weekly magazine as the “Best Place for Body Sculpting” for 5 consecutive years at 239-919-PURA (7872) today tp schedule your complimentary CoolSculpting consultation. We look forward to seeing you soon!