What is Coolsculpting?

Coolsculpting is a non-surgical treatment that contours the body by freezing stubborn excess fat. It is FDA-approved and requires no downtime. While it is not a weight loss technique, it is effective on fat that is resistant to diet and exercise.

The treatment is most often used on the love handles, thighs, abdomen, hips, and buttocks. In order to be a good candidate for Coolsculpting, you need good skin elasticity. If you have loose skin, you may need a surgical procedure for best results.

How Coolsculpting Works

Coolsculpting actually freezes and crystalizes the unwanted fat cells in the area(s) where there are excess bulges of fat. After the fat cells have been crystalized, they gradually die and are eliminated from the body naturally. This is a process called cryolipolysis. After the freezing of the cells, some of the fat cells undergo a process called apoptosis (programmed cell death). Over the 3 months following your procedure, the cells die and your body removes the fat cells without internal scarring.


The Coolsculpting device uses two cooling panels, and the bulging fat is drawn up between the panels. You will feel a pulling as the tissue is cooled by the device. The cold is a bit intense, but it is not painful. Once the panels are placed, they need to stay in that area for one hour. This allows the fat to become freeze. After the device is removed, the area is massaged (which increases the efficacy of Coolsculpting). If you want more than one area treated, this can be done immediately following.

Depending on the areas to be treated, you can sit or lie down during the procedure, which takes one hour per area treated. You can read, relax, or work on your laptop as the device does its work.

The procedure starts with Dr. Lewis making a plan for the placement of the Coolsculpting applicators. You will have photos taken as well to document your transformation. One of his trained assistants will then guide you through the procedure. You will be in a comfortable private room and have access to entertainment and have a pager to call for assistance if you need.

After the procedure, you will feel some numbness and tingling in the area that lasts for a few weeks. In most people this is not uncomfortable, but it is something you will be conscious of. This usually resolves after 2-3 weeks.

Coolsculpting Results

The gradual process of elimination of the fat cells takes about three weeks after a treatment and looks perfectly natural. At that time, you will begin to see results, but the gradual results will continue for up to three months after each treatment. During this time, the fat cells that remain will condense so that the area will become smoother.

Most people see great results from only one treatment – an average of about 20% reduction of fat. The second treatment often reduces fat by another 20%.

The results are permanent, but new fat cells can develop at a later time. You can prevent this to some degree by exercising regularly and maintaining your weight at a healthy level without significant fluctuations.

Studies have shown that 86% of people will have a visible reduction in fat after just one treatment and that 89% would recommend this to friends.

Recovery from Coolsculpting

No recovery time is required after Coolsculpting. You can continue with normal activities directly after your appointment. For a few days, there might be some minor redness, bruising, and tingling in the areas that were treated.

Coolsculpting vs. Liposuction

Although Coolsculpting is an excellent way to treat fat and contour the body, it is not as powerful a technique as liposuction. In some case, it may be more cost effective to have surgical liposuction to reduce unwanted fat and to improve the contour of specific areas. That said, not everyone is ready to have a surgical procedure and Coolsculpting can help most people achieve an improved contour without the need for a more invasive procedure.

Coolsculpting FAQs

Does Coolsculpting require surgery?

No, Coolsculpting is a non-surgical, non-invasive procedure that requires no needles, no incisions, and no downtime.

Does Coolsculpting require an anesthetic?

No, Coolsculpting is not painful, so no anesthetic is needed.

Can I remain awake during Coolsculpting?

Yes, since no anesthetic is required, patients remain awake for the treatment.

How long does a Coolsculpting treatment last?

1 hours per site treated.

Are the results of Coolsculpting immediate?

No, the results of Coolsculpting take at least three weeks to begin to show up, and they continue for about two months after a treatment as the fat cells are naturally expelled from the body and the remaining fat cells condense, smoothing the treated areas.

Do the destroyed fat cells return?

No, the fat cells do not return, but you can develop new fat cells. Maintaining your weight and exercising often help to prevent the development of new fat cells.