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With Cool Sculpting, if It is Not Weightloss, Where Does the Frozen Fat "Go"?

Does the fat leave your body?

Doctor Answers 16

CoolSculpting by Zeltiq is loss of fat not loss of weight

Losing fat does not mean weight loss as fat is much less dense than muscle and you would need to lose a lot of fat to see the reduction of weight on a scale. Meanwhile the 20% reduction of fat volume in one focal bulge can make a difference in shape and how clothing fits.  The body metabolizes the dead fat cells.

Manhattan Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

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Where does fat go after CoolSculpting?

The fat cells are damaged by the cold temperature during CoolSculpting and are slowly dissolved and broken down in your body by cells called macrophages. The fat cell particles are then cleared from your body through your lymphatic system and goes through the liver where it is processed out of your body as waste.

How Does Cool Sculpting Work?


The cool sculpting (Zeltiq) will freeze the fat cells (cryoplipolysis) without affecting other tissues; the fat in the adipocytes (fat cells) will freeze at a controlled temperature inducing cellular apopotisis (programmed cell death) hence a permanent solution.

As for the fat within the adipocytes, it will get dissolved into the blood stream at a slow rate without inducing a increase of the serum fat levels worth noting.

So the fat will be used up by your body and the adipocytes that were eliminated will never grow back again.

I hope this helps.

Thank you for your inquiry.

Dr. Sajjadian

Ali Sajjadian, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

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CoolSculpting.... will you lose weight?

Coolsculpting kills 20-25% of the fat cells in the area treated.  As these cells die, your body reabsorbs the fatty acids and the cellular debris and you excrete the excess through your intestines.  You will see the area treated shrink over the next 2-3 months as this happens.  You will not feel, or know that anything is happening in any way other than when you look in the mirror over the next several weeks, you will see that you are getting smaller.  Will you lose weight?  ....a very small amount for each treatment area. 

Dead fat cells are processed by your liver

Coolsculpting causes a natural process causes apoptosis, or "programmed cell death," of the treated fat cells. Once dead, they are cleaned out of the fat layer by your body's immune cells, and are then metabolized by the liver and excreted from the body. 

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Fat cells go out as waste post coolsculpting

The treated fat cells will exit your body through the lymphatic system and goes through the liver where it is processed out of your body as waste (in the fecal matter).

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
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It get destroyed and metabolized

Coolsculpting destroys about 20-25% of your fat cells permanently. The fat cells placed in the applicator are crystallized with controlled freezing during the treatment. Once the fat cells are dead the body metabolizes them over time. Coolsculpting is not a weight loss treatment because it only treats the fat placed in the applicator. The results are great and most patients notice fat reduction in 2-3 months after the treatment.

Fat Elimination After CoolSculpting

The larger fat is broken down by the body and excreted through the Lymphatic system.  It is not meant to be a form of weight loss because it works best on small areas of fat that will not go away through traditional diet and exercise.  It is not treating an area large enough to stimulate significant weight loss.

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What Happens to Frozen Fat after being treated with CoolSculpting by Zeltiq

According to Zeltiq, the manufacturer of CoolSculpting  During the procedure, exposure to cooling causes fat cell apoptosis, which leads to the release of cytokines and other inflammatory mediators. Inflammatory cells gradually digest the affected fat cells in the months after the procedure. Lipids from the fat cells are slowly released and transported by the lymphatic system to be processed, much like fat from food. Because the lipid clearance process is gradual there is no harmful change in blood lipids or liver function.

Therefore, it is important that a person considering treatment not have lymphedema or any other disorder of the lymphatic system. In my practice we include vibrational therapy as part of the CoolSculpting treatment at no additional charge to increase circulation and stimulate the lymphatic system. 

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Fat Removed through CoolSculpting

CoolSculpting uses a targeted cooling process that kills the fat cells underneath the skin, literally freezing them to the point of elimination. Once crystallized, the fat cells die and are naturally eliminated from your body.

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.