Photo of Harper. Photo by college employee Andrew Holman.
By Quincey Taylor
Body image is a hot topic in today’s society. From weight loss pills to diet regimens, it’s important for individuals to take the safe option for their own body type. Coolsculpting, also known as cryolipolysis, is one of the newest options on the market for individuals to change their body shape. Millie Harper, second year graduate student in the BYU College of Nursing, is creating a guide with the help of associate dean and professor Dr. Jane Lassetter for nurse practitioners to become more informed about this procedure in order to give the best care and advice to their patients.
It all started when Lassetter was at a beauty salon and noticed the coolsculpting procedure being done. “That didn’t really sit well with her,” explains Harper, “She thought that that should be something that should be overseen by health providers. She wanted to investigate further about the requirements and the risks and see if that was something that should be done in a beauty salon.”
Since then, Lassetter has done extensive research and has enlisted the help of Harper, acting as the chair of Harper’s writing project. This scholarly paper, which takes the place of Harper’s thesis, will act as a guide for nurse practitioners who may have patients who are interested in coolsculpting. Harper expounds that this will allow nurses to answer patients’ questions like, “Am I candidate? Would this be a good option for me? Is this something I should investigate further?” This guide will allow practitioners to be able to direct them to the best option.
In many cases, coolsculpting has provided lasting results for localized fat reduction. The procedure essentially freezes – and kills – fat cells in the body with a gel vacuum which are then reabsorbed into the system. Many times the process is focused on a certain area of the body, like the abdomen or upper arms. This isn’t necessarily a weight loss procedure, however, it focuses more on the sculpting of the body into a desirable shape.
Harper tells of the risks that are involved with the procedure, especially if the facility is questionable. She says, “Putting a cold device on your skin for 30 minutes isn’t always a good idea.” The biggest risk is frostbite, but other risks include increasing lipid levels and changing the chemical nature inside your body. Many times the individuals operating the machines have attended only a three-day course, and are only overseen from a distance by medical spa professionals.
It is important for nurses to be informed about this procedure because of its growing popularity. Body image is a big issue for a lot of people,” Harper says, “It’s important to be educated about it.”