CoolSclupting Guide: Top Questions and Answers
Approved by the FDA in 2010, CoolSculpting has quickly become a popular treatment for non-surgical fat reduction. The procedure freezes fat cells by applying the device to the area of stubborn pockets being treated.
If you’re considering CoolSculpting, you probably have a lot of questions. We’ve drawn on the expertise of RealSelf doctors, featuring Dr. Elyse S. Rafal, Real Self TOP DOCTOR, to bring you answers to the most commonly asked ones.
What is CoolSculpting?
CoolSculpting is an FDA-approved, non-surgical procedure that uses a handheld device to precisely freeze and destroy fat below the surface of the skin. The treatment is not intended for significant weight loss, but for treating stubborn areas of fat resistant to diet and exercise. Common treatment areas include abs, love handles, back, arms, and under the chin.
Is CoolSculpting right for me?
Good candidates are men and women who exercise, have a healthy diet, and are within 20 pounds of their ideal weight. Since CoolSculpting uses intensely cold temperatures to crystallize and kill fat cells, you should not undergo the procedure if you suffer from cryoglobulinemia, paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria, or cold agglutinin disease.
How much does CoolSculpting cost?
While the average cost of CoolSculpting is listed around $2,000 on RealSelf, the price can vary widely depending on factors like the number of treatments needed and the geographic location where the procedure is performed.
Other factors that impact cost are the type of applicator used and the area being treated. There are multiple CoolSculpting applicators that come in various sizes, designed to treat different parts of the body. If you’re looking to target more than one area, SCHEDULING A FREE CONSULT IS RECOMMENDED.
EACH CYCLE ON AVG. COSTS AROUND $750 PER AREA, Dr. Elyse S. Rafal offers competitive pricing and discounts for purchasing additional cycles.
What happens during a CoolSculpting procedure?
When you arrive for your procedure,our nurses will review and mark the area(s) being treated. A protective gel pad is then placed on the surface of the skin and excess fat will be pinched into the CoolSculpting applicator. You should not feel pain, only some pressure and suction for the first few minutes of the treatment. After that, the target area will become numb to the cold. The treatment will last roughly 60 minutes, during which you can read, check email, watch a movie, or even nap.
After the procedure is over, the treated area will be red and may appear as if there’s a “stick of butter” underneath the skin. This is the fat that’s been sucked up by the applicator. Your nurse will massage the site, and the lump should quickly disappear. As this is a no-downtime procedure, you’ll be free to continue with your regular activities right away.
Below, a RealSelf community member describes her experience with CoolSculpting:
How much fat can I lose after CoolSculpting?
In general, you can expect to gradually lose 20% to 30% of fat in the treated areas after one session. “Most patients see noticeable results within three months, but some may see results in as early as a few weeks,” “There is one major exception: Those who gain weight during the course of treatment. If you are serious about body contouring, you must avoid weight gain during treatment or your results will be poor.”
To get an idea of the types of results you can expect, here are three of the most viewed before and after photos on RealSelf:
What happens to the fat?
When the freezing technology of CoolSculpting is applied to areas of excess fat, “the treated fat cells are crystallized, turned into dead cells, and naturally processed and permanently eliminated by the body, leaving you more toned and sculpted,”. “We have ‘janitor’ cells called macrophages that find the damaged cells,” she adds. “[The fat] eventually gets excreted through your urine.”
How long will my CoolSculpting results last?
As adults, we don’t produce new fat cells, so the number of cells destroyed and removed from the body remains permanent. That said, when we gain weight, our fat cells expand. Gaining weight after CoolSculpting could still mean an increase in the size of the remaining fat cells. I recommend you focus on maintaining your ideal weight following the procedure.
What are the side effects of CoolSculpting?
CoolSculpting is very safe. Typical side effects include redness, minor bruising, tingling, numbness, or discomfort in the treated area. These are temporary and should resolve quickly.
RealSelf doctors report that some patients may experience more intense pain, particularly if they were treated with the largest applicator. “It is not uncommon to have delayed onset pain after a CoolSculpting procedure,” “This is more commonly experienced with abdominal CoolSculpting. It starts three to five days after the procedure and can last 10 days or so. This pain is nerve-based and is best treated with Neurontin. which we can always prescribe upon full exam and follow up, if needed.