CoolSculpting Overview

CoolSculpting is a medical procedure that helps get rid of excess fat cells underneath your skin. While there are several benefits to CoolSculpting, it’s important to be aware of the risks if you’re considering this procedure.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has certified CoolSculpting as a safe medical treatment. CoolSculpting has many benefits over traditional liposuction. It’s nonsurgical, noninvasive, and requires no recovery time. And it’s effective in reducing fat cells in a given treatment area by up to 20 to 25 percent.

During your CoolSculpting procedure, our certified specialist uses a special tool to cool certain parts of your body to freezing temperature. The procedure freezes and kills fat cells in the part of your body that you’re having treated. Within a few weeks of treatment, these dead fat cells are naturally broken down and flushed out of your body through your liver.

While there are minimal side effects from CoolSculpting, the fat-reduction procedure is not recommended for everyone. Healthy clients looking to treat stubborn subcutaneous fat are usually recommended for CoolSculpting. Click here to learn more about the difference between subcutaneous & visceral fat.

CoolSculpting Risks

CoolSculpting is generally viewed as a safer, non-invasive type of fat reduction surgery than traditional procedures, such as liposuction. There is no tissue manipulation, needles, knives, or anesthesia meaning little to no downtime. Clients are able to drive themselves to and from their CoolSculpting procedure and return to their daily activities.

During the first 5-7 minutes of the procedure, most clients feel a tugging sensation accompanied with intense cooling. After the first 5-10 minutes, the treatment area feels numb with little sensation. Most people do not feel anything during the procedure; the only noticeable side effects of the procedure tend to be minor and occur only around the area of treatment. Most minor side effects reduce or go away within a few days to weeks after the procedure. It is normal, however, to experience numbness or loss of sensation in the treatment area for 1-3 weeks.

Common immediate side effects of CoolSculpting may include:
  • Redness
  • Firmness
  • Minor itchiness
  • Minor swelling/bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Numbness
  • Tingling

Immediate side effects may last for anywhere up to a few hours after the procedure, with redness being the most common. If you plan on attending any social events during the day of your CoolSculpting procedure, it is recommended that you allow 1-3 hours for redness and/or other side effects to dissipate

Other side effects that a person may experience in the first few weeks after CoolSculpting include:
  • Itchiness, especially a few days after the procedure
  • Slight feeling of fullness in the throat after treatments involving the neck or chin region
  • Muscle soreness

CoolSculpting is considered a safe, effective way to reduce the number of fat cells in a small target area. It is used as a form of fat loss or fat reduction, commonly misinterpreted as weight loss. CoolSculpting is not recommended for the treatment of obesity.

Who Should Avoid CoolSculpting?

The procedure is designed to permanently eliminate stubborn fat cells and fat density that normally shrinks with the help of diet and exercise. CoolSculpting candidates should be at or slightly above their projected BMI and looking to treat areas with subcutaneous (pinchable) fat. People with certain conditions that weaken or change the body’s ability to handle the cold can also experience complications.

Medical conditions that rule out CoolSculpting use:
  • Pregnancy, attempting to become pregnant, and breast-feeding
  • Cryoglobulinemia, a disorder where proteins that usually only increase in response to cold are in abnormally high concentrations
  • Cold agglutinin disease, an autoimmune condition where temperature change kills red blood cells
  • Paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria, a condition where red blood cells die in response to temperature change
  • Raynaud’s disease
  • Skin conditions related to the immune system, such as eczema and psoriasis
  • Inflammatory skin conditions, such as dermatitis and hives
  • Long-term use of blood thinning medications
  • Active, implanted medical devices, such as pacemakers
  • Allergy to propylene glycol or isopropyl alcohol

If you are unsure if the above conditions may or may not apply to you, or if you have a medical condition that was not listed and are unsure of candidacy please contact our specialist at 586-944-0140.

Suggestions For Relieving Discomfort:

  • Wear comfortable clothing
    • Avoid tight and restrictive clothing immediately after your CoolSculpting treatment. Try not to wear tight clothing that cuts into the treatment area such as jeans with a tight waistband. If you are experiencing side effects, choose loose and comfortable clothes for the following day or two.
  • Drink Water
    • Drinking plenty of water flushes the body’s lymphatic system and helps removes fat cells faster after a CoolSculpting procedure.
  • Self-massage
    • If you are experiencing tightness, a light 5-10 minute massage will reduce tightness.
  • Compression garments
    • Compression garments such as Spanx or Maidenform Shapewear can help reduce swelling, increase blood flow, and relieve tenderness. Make sure the garment is not cutting into the treatment area and the fabric is soft & comfortable.
  • Ice
    • Apply an ice pack or cold compress to the treatment area for 10 minutes. If this does not feel comfortable then discontinue use. For some clients, they have found this to work best especially for relieving soreness and tenderness while others found the opposite effect.
  • Heat therapy
    • If a cold compress feels uncomfortable and offers no relief, try placing a warm towel on the treatment area or sitting in a sauna/warm room.
  • Over the counter medication
    • Take Tylenol (acetaminophen) to relieve pain. Avoid anti-inflammatory medicine such as Motrin (ibuprofen) as the anti-inflammatory medicine properties may interfere with the CoolSculpting results.

If you are experiencing any side effects, please contact your provider or speak with one of our specialists by calling 586-944-0140.

The information provided in this article should not be substituted for a consultation with an experienced professional. If you have any questions about CoolSculpting regarding recovery time, cost, side effects, and scheduling/consultations, please contact our office at 586-944-0140 or send us an email and our experienced staff will assist you.