Two years ago, I tried CoolSculpting by Halley Medical Aesthetics for fat cells reduction at specific areas. It is a non-invasive, non-surgical treatment whereby you destroy up to 25% of the fat cells in each treatment area each time by freezing them. And because our body is unable to produce any more fat cells after 5 years of age, they are gone permanently after the treatment.
Back then, I had a total of 4 cycles (i.e. 4 applicators) done, 2 on my upper tummy and 2 on my lower tummy with some overlap. I went through zero lifestyle change and ate as I like during my travels after treatment. The treatments did not make my tummy washboard flat but the results were noticeable and they made a real difference to me.
In the past 2 years, I gradually developed a liking to jogging in the mornings (jogging will not slim the tummy though) and started intermittent fasting. These habits, together with occasionally being on a diet, helped me manage my body fat to some extent. However, even after I put in all these hard work, I am still some way off to the proportionate body shape I desire, which, was why I decided to go back to CoolSculpting again.
I chose to work with Dr. Terence Tan from Halley Medical Aesthetics (I’m going to call the clinic “Halley” from here on) again on CoolSculpting because, as far as I know, they have a lot of experience with CoolSculpting. It’s important to ensure that you go to a doctor who is experienced in this treatment because it is an investment and you want to make sure every treatment is as effective as it can possibly be.
In fact, Halley opened a new sister clinic—Halley Body Slimming Clinic (I’m going to call the Sliming Clinic “Halley Body” from here on) in October 2019 as an extension of what it has been doing to help people achieve their body goals. Halley focuses on facial aesthetic concerns of patients while Halley Body focuses on delivering end-to-end body slimming, body contouring, and muscle toning treatments to patients. In fact, Halley Body was newly minted when I did this second round of CoolSculpting with them.
Going back to the same doctor also meant that we could use my previous results as an indication of how my body takes to CoolSculpting. Since I had noticeable results after just 4 cycles, we decided on the application of 12 cycles this time round, to target specific areas I was dissatisfied with.
When I went back, I had a consultation with Dr. Terence Tan after I had some measurements done (e.g. weight, height, body fat percentage, blood pressure). He explained the treatment once again and gave me sufficient time to ask any questions I might have, even though I was already familiar with the treatment and its procedures.
We proceeded to mark out treatment areas on the same day as well. The fact that I was going for 12 CoolSculpting cycles meant that he could really map out problem areas to his heart’s content. Compared to my tummy, my flanks are relatively small, so he prescribed 10 CoolAdvantage applicators to my tummy and 2 CoolAdvantage Petite (smaller) applicators to my flanks.
My treatment day was 2 days after the consultation. On that day, treatment areas were mapped out again, based on photographs taken on consultation day. While I was having my treatment, I received many comments on Instagram via DM to ask if I really had any fat to reduce, so I took the next photos to dispel your doubts.
The treatments are applied by trained CoolSculpting staff in the clinic but Dr Terence Tan came to check in on me in between, to make sure I was alright.
This is how a CoolAdvantage applicator looks like. It may look smaller compared to a legacy CoolSculpting applicator, but in actual fact, it features an enhanced cup design for improved patient comfort as well as a larger freezing area to treat a bigger area. Treatment time for the traditional CoolSculpting applicator takes 60 mins but this duration is reduced to 35 mins with the CoolAdvantage applicator.
I have a lot of trust in the staff applying the CoolSculpting applicator on me. She carefully planned the areas to put on first, so that my entire treatment will be comfortable yet effective for me – these judgment calls come from their experience of having performed the treatment many times over. The same staff massaged each treatment area after each treatment to help speed up the break down of my fat cells for maximum effectiveness.
One of the most common questions I get about CoolSculpting is whether the treatment is painful. Based on my experience and my friends who have also undergone CoolSculpting, there will be some areas that are more uncomfortable for you than others, and the same is different for each person.
When the applicator is applied, you will first experience very strong suction at a low temperature. I personally only feel very uncomfortable when the applicator was placed on my upper tummy but all discomfort goes away after the 6th to 7th-minute mark, so the discomfort is not prolonged. I have to say that though I dreaded the massage session after each application because my treatment areas felt raw immediately after treatment – in this sense, having 12 applicators done is indeed much more uncomfortable than 4.
The fact that I can speak with the doctor, reply text messages and watch a Korean drama on my phone while being treated is a testament of how bearable the discomfort is to me. I also fell asleep throughout when they were applying my last applicator.
Halley Body has six CoolSculpting machines, which means I can have more than 1 treatment done at the same time, saving me a considerable amount of time, given that each applicator requires 35 mins to complete its job. At the maximum, I received 3 treatments at one time, largely because my treatment areas overlap and because I am so petite that they are not able to fit 4 on me all at once.
It took slightly more than 4 hours for me to complete 12 cycles without break. You can request to go to the toilet or even have your meals in between treatment, but I opt not to, so that the treatment time can be as compact as possible. My suggestion is to come with snacks/food in case you become hungry and visit the toilet just before treatment.
After treatment, I was taken for measurements and there was already a 1.1 cm reduction around my waist plus a reduction in body fat, according to the weighing machine.
For me, the real “pain” of CoolSculpting comes a day after. While I do not have any bruises, after your body fat cells get broken down by freezing, you will feel a tingling sensation all across the surface of your skin and the feeling of having a layer of liquid right underneath your skin. In addition, treatment areas will swell up – I felt and looked like I was 5 to 6 months pregnant.
The swelling affected my jogging routine. I felt a sharp stretching sensation whenever I tried to run and the feeling of having liquid go in all directions when I exercise was too much for me to bear. For me, the swelling stage did not happen (or it was not noticeable to me) with 4 cycles but it was very obvious when I did the 12 cycles. The swelling took around 9 days to subside, and the sharp stretching sensations were gone with it. I made sure to moisturise and take care of the skin on my tummy during that period, to avoid any stretch marks from the sudden swelling. The tinging sensation did not really bother me unless someone touches it.
This is me a day short of being at week 3, finally fitting into a pair of skorts I have not been able to wear since 2015. Results will only show after three months and I have another round of treatment to complete in 8 weeks’ time but here I am, able to wear something that I couldn't for the first time in 4 years. That makes me excited – very excited.
Halley Body Slimming Clinic
277 Orchard Road #03-16
Phone: 6246 8806
By Estella Goh