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CoolSculpting Carried Out by a Nurse Instead of a Doctor - Worried

I am concerned now that a nurse did the procedure, I am over weight, but have lost many lbs, I was hoping this would help me along the way.

I have pain like bee stings, nerves going nuts, and sore to the touch. The swelling is down as it has been a week. My brusing is some interesting colors for sure! When I went for my consult, the nurse who did it stated I was a canidate. Is this procedure only to be done by a doctor? thanks for a reply

Doctor Answers 11

Should Coolsculpting be performed by a doctor?

Coolsculpting is a non-invasive, class 2 device. This means that it is not necessary for a physician to perform the procedure. WHAT IS necessary is that your technician is both adequately trained and experienced. 

In our practice, our Coolsculpting technicians are nurses or medical aestheticians. Both hold every certification and training possible for this device and procedure, possess natural talent for aesthetic artistry, and understand human anatomy on a medical level.

Researching your technician, and their level of experience, is paramount in ensuring excellent results. The Coolsculpting department of the facility you are considering should easily be able to answer all of your questions, walk you through the procedure and processes, as well as provide excellent references with before and after photographs of previous patients.

The side effects you are experiencing can present themselves after Coolsculpting, and would be considered normal. Symmetry of your ultimate results cannot be determined by bruises left from the device. In our patients who experience more severe nerve pain (approximately 2%) we would presc
ribe a nerve blocking agent, such as Lyrica or Neurontin. I advise you to contact your provider and see what they recommend for comfort.

CoolSculpting Carried Out by a Nurse Instead of a Doctor

Coolsculpting is a class 2 device which means that the treatment requires physician supervision. The definition of physician supervision varies from state to state, and is applied differently in each area. For us, I am directly involved with the examination, consultation, marking, pre treatment preparation and the post treatment evaluation. My nurse may be the person who may initiate the cooling process but only under my direct supervision.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Cool sculpting recovery

The placement of the device is based on exam and markings!

Body reshaping can be performed with a cannula that removes fat via liposuction or with noninvasive technology like Cool Sculpting. With Cool Sculpting there is no cannula inserted into your body. All treatments are performed on the surface from the outside in using technology that freezes the fat. Don’t hesitate to give us a call in Austin regarding a Body Reshaping Consult at the Upper Room. On our Facebook Page there is an Interview I recently did with KVUE, a local news station in Austin, that was picked by affiliates around the United States, including Miami. During the Interview we discussed the technology of Cool Sculpting as well as it application process.

The discomfort from treatment does resolve. Taking over the counter tylenol or naproxen resolves this in the majority of cases. If you have swelling that is persistent then a waist binder is helpful.

CoolSculpting Can Be Performed By Non Physicians

Normal side effects after CoolSculpting can include tenderness, swelling, bruising, numbness, itching, burning, and skin sensitivity. These symptoms normally resolve anywhere from 1-2 weeks. These side effects can occur regardless of who performs the treatment. Anyone who provides CoolSculpting treatments are certified through the Zeltiq training program. This ensures that you are getting proper treatment. If you have concerns with your treatment you should consult with your provider so that they may evaluate you.

CoolSculpting can be effectively provided by physician extenders

Different states may have different regulations as to who can treat patients with lasers, and other non-laser devices such as Zeltiq's CoolSculpting.  In my NYC office, we have taken the extra effort to become a certified CoolSculpting practice. I, or another physician, first sees the patient in consultation and then if it is determined that the CoolSculpting is indicated, I will determine which applicator is needed per area of treatment. 

The symptoms and signs you mention are not unheard of and should recover spontaneously, but this may take a different number of weeks in different people. If there is no short term improvement then please call the practice that did the treatment for the physician to examine you.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Who can perform CoolSculpting?

Thank you for your question.

The symptoms that you are experiencing is common for some patients who have undergone CoolSculpting treatments.  Patients experience these symptoms whether the procedure is performed by the doctor or another staff in the office.  The company does come out and train staff members to perform this procedure so it is OK that a nurse performed the procedure on you.... really, the machine does most (if not all) of the work.

These symptoms should subside within a couple of weeks.  If you have concerns, call the office and set up a time to go in and be seen.

Best Wishes!

Consultations and treatments

i evaluate all of my coolsculpting patients personally.  some are better candidates for liposuction, other better candidates for an excisional surgery ie tummy tuck.  as far as performing the procedure, as long as the correct area is properly targeted, i do believe this can be safely performed by a nurse or other medical staff.  swelling and bruising are normal as this device truly does target tissue!

Eric Chang, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Symptoms after Zeltiq

It is very common to experience numbness, "pins and needles" sensations, cramping, and mild pain following a Zeltiq procedure, regardless of whom applied the device. Over 85% of patients will experience one of the above mentioned symptoms. Usually these symptoms last about 1-2 weeks. Some of my patients have found an over the counter menthol based cream called Sarna lotion to be soothing to the treated area. However, if the pain and symptoms are severe, please contact your provider.

Swelling is common after the treatment as you are healing and some patients prefer to wear loser fitting clothes for the first few weeks after coolsculpting. Bruising varies from patient to patient and application to application, but most bruising will resolve in 1-3 weeks.

There are variations in policies between offices for whom performs the consultation, mapping of the treatment areas, and placement of the coolsculpting applicator. In our office, only the physician performs consultation, mapping, and procedure.

Zeltiq concerns


Zeltiq Coolsculpting is a great procedure for helping to sculpt and contour the body but there may be some discomfort and bruising after the procedure, regardless of who applied the applicator.  Staff members who treat patients (in our office our PAs perform the procedures) are all well trained by the company and as you most likely noticed there isn't much in the way of a procedure to perform...the device itself does the work...the providers are there to make sure the placement of the suction is done properly.  It is very common to start to feel a pins and needles like sensation in the treated area (like you may have felt if one of your feet has ever fallen asleep and then "wakes up" again).  The bruising is caused by the suction.  If ever you have any concerns about a treatment you've had you should always call or schedule a follow up with the office where you were treated.  Keep in mind also that you may need multiple treatments in an area to achieve the results you desire.

Good luck~

Dr. Grant Stevens  

Grant Stevens, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Coolsculpting discomfort

Coolsculpting works great for reducing fat. However, a certain percentage of patients will have discomfort as you describe. It is independent of the person applying the vacuum device. It occurs as a result of the actual procedure, in other words, 60 minutes of vacuum pressure associated with cold temperature. The side effects you are experiencing will resolve but you should alert your physician.

Steven Hacker, MD
West Palm Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.