21 Aug, 2021

What Is CoolSculpting, and Does It Work?


CoolSculpting is a completely non-invasive fat reduction procedure that kills fat cells by freezing them. Fat cells are more susceptible to cold temperatures than other cell types, so it’s possible to chill them without damaging surrounding tissue.

Unlike liposuction, CoolSculpting requires no incisions or manual removal of fatty tissue. Chilling technology lowers the temperature of the fat cells from outside the skin, leaving the skin itself intact. It’s a targeted procedure ideal for small fat pockets, including those that are otherwise difficult to treat.

If you’re considering CoolSculpting as part of your body contouring plan, here’s what you need to know about the procedure, including:

  • ‌Does CoolSculpting work?
  • ‌Is it safe?
  • ‌What do the results look like?
  • ‌Who should consider CoolSculpting?

‌But, first things first, here’s what CoolSculpting is like from the patient’s point of view.

How Does CoolSculpting Work?

CoolSculpting uses a specially designed high-tech machine that cools the fat cells from outside the skin’s surface. It’s an outpatient procedure that takes about an hour from start to finish.

When you arrive at the treatment office, you’ll sit in a reclining chair. A technician will mark out the treatment area and places a protective gel pad on your skin.

The technician will then place the CoolSculpting applicator against the skin. A vacuum will gently pull the skin and underlying fat into the applicator, which cools the tissue. Some people describe the pulling sensation as slightly uncomfortable, but the cooling mechanism numbs the area quickly.

Feel free to bring a book, laptop, or smartphone to the treatment office, or just sit and rest. Most people can return to their normal daily activities immediately after the procedure. You may feel a bit sore — like you’ve just come from the gym.

Is CoolSculpting Safe?

CoolSculpting is a completely non-invasive procedure, so it’s extremely safe for most people. 

It’s not appropriate for people with cold-related conditions like cryoglobulinemia, paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria, or cold agglutinin disease. It may also not be suitable for patients with very loose skin. 

As with any medical treatment, always discuss your health history before undergoing the procedure.

What Are the Risks?

The main risks of CoolSculpting are cosmetic. It’s difficult to predict which fat cells will respond, and some patients report asymmetrical or uneven results after the initial treatment. Working with a skilled technician can reduce much of this risk.

In very rare cases, patients grow fat cells in response to the treatment. It only happens less than 1% of the time and is much more common in men with Latin backgrounds.

What Are the Side Effects?

CoolSculpting has very minimal side effects. Some people experience a slightly uncomfortable tugging sensation during the procedure, but this usually goes away as the applicator cools and numbs the area.

Some people experience minimal to mild discomfort, swelling, or bruising after the procedure. Patients have also reported a slight numbness or tingling as though the skin has fallen asleep.

What Can — and Can’t — CoolSculpting Treat?

CoolSculpting is a body contouring procedure designed to treat small, stubborn pockets of fat. The FDA has cleared it for use against fat bulges in nine areas of the body:

  • ‌Along the abdomen
  • ‌Along the upper arm
  • ‌Around the bra line
  • ‌Around the thighs
  • On the back
  • Under the buttocks‌
  • Under the chin
  • ‌Under the jawline

CoolSculpting is not meant to remove large areas of fat. It’s not a substitute for liposuction, except in small defined body areas, and it’s not a weight-loss treatment. 

You may lose some weight once your body breaks down the frozen fat. Still, the more noticeable results will be in your shape rather than your size. You may even drop a clothing size or two, depending on the areas you choose to treat.

When Will You See Results?

The body will gradually break down and eliminate fat cells, usually over four to six months. On average, people see a 20% reduction in fatty tissue in the treated area.

Who Are the Best Candidates?

CoolSculpting is most successful in people who have thicker fatty tissue and smooth, elastic skin. The key tests are:

  • ‌Can you pinch the fat deposit between your fingers?
  • ‌When you let go, does the skin snap back into place?

‌If the answer to both questions is yes, you’re more likely to see great results. 

‌It won’t be about seeing the numbers on your scale drop. Again, this is for body contouring, not weight loss. What CoolSculpting patients notice is a shrinking of “muffin tops” and a loss of bra fat, so they look better in their clothes. 

Realistic expectations matter too. CoolSculpting may not take you from a pear shape to an hourglass figure, but it can make your flattering outfits more flattering. 

How Long Does CoolSculpting Last?

Is CoolSculpting permanent? The short answer is yes — but only if you do the work to keep the fat off.

When the CoolSculpting treatment effectively freezes a fat cell, the cell is dead. It won’t unfreeze or “come back.” However, your body can grow new fat cells in the same area and no body contouring procedure can keep that from happening.

CoolSculpting can get rid of existing fat for good, but what happens from there is up to you. If you maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat well, and stay active, you’ll build up fewer new fat cells.

Are You Ready to Get Started With CoolSculpting?

To get great CoolSculpting results in the first place, you need to work with an experienced and qualified specialist. At Medicus Vein Care, a CoolSculpting Certified Center, we only allow Certified CoolSculpting Technicians to work on our patients.

Medicus technicians will work with you to understand your body contouring goals. They’ll develop a treatment plan and help you figure out how many sessions you’ll need to achieve those goals.

At Medicus Vein Care, we’re committed to making sure every person who walks through our doors gets the best possible results. Get in touch today and find out what we can do for you.