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Why Do Some Coolsculpting Patient Report Little Pain and Others Report Severe Pain?

Is there a reason why there are such different responsed to the level of pain with coolsculpting?

Doctor Answers 18

Reactions to CoolSculpting treatment

Thank you for your question.

The CoolSculpting method is based on science performed by the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Research determined that fat cells are more vulnerable to cold temperatures and when introduced to these cold climates are effortlessly and permanently demolished. Beginning weeks after the cooling application, the cooled fat cells initiate the process of solidifying the fat cells without destroying surrounding tissues, eventually causing the cells to shrink and disappear naturally. Gradually as the cells diminish, the depth of the fat layer will be reduced.

Each patient is different with how they respond to this procedure.  Usually, patients experience more of the achy, tingly, etc when the procedure is performed on the abdomen vs. other areas. It really is patient specific.

 

Coolsculpting

The pain depends on the size of the applicator and type of tissue treated. We have had very few patients with any sign pain after Coolsculpting, but in all those occured in patients who had the abdomen treated with the large applicator. We attribute our success to the use of percussion devices that helps distribute the temperature gradient across the tissue and reduce the chance of tissue damage and nerve irritation.

Amir Moradi, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Discomfort is a subjective thing to describe.

There are so many things that can contribute to the way that a person describes their discomfort.  Everyone's response to pain is different and can be influenced by many factors, including the area that is treated and the way that they support their body during the healing process.  Compression garments can often help you to feel more comfortable, as can antiinflammatories and curtailing more strenuous activities if they cause significant discomfort.  Everyone structures their recovery differently and these subtle differences can impact the way that they feel as they are recovering from their treatment.

Why Do Some Coolsculpting Patient Report Little Pain and Others Report Severe Pain?

Coolsculpting is a fairly pain free procedure. Following the treatment most people continue with their normal daily routines. Over the course of a few days, some people feel mild discomfort similar to what you might feel after a workout. Compression garments can help alleviate those aches. On occasion, significant pain has been reported in less than 4% of patients and can be mitigated with compression, ice and even a doctor prescribed medication in severe cases. The patients who experience significant discomfort are usually the patients which had a treatment with a single large applicator on the lower abdomen area. The abdomen tends to be the most sensitive area to treat but also the most popular. Areas like inner and outer thighs have very few complaints of pain. Good luck.

Steven Gabel, MD, FACS
Portland Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Difference in Pain

Thank you for you question. It is common to experience a little discomfort during the initial application and especially if you were treated with the larger head piece. Once the precise cooling has been initiated the area will start to go numb within 7 to 10 minutes and the discomfort starts to dissipate. The abdomen tends to be the most sensitive of all areas that we treat.

Sheila S. Nazarian, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Why Do Some Coolsculpting Patient Report Little Pain and Others Report Severe Pain?

Thanks for your question. Coolsculpting is a fairly pain free procedure. Patients that report a lot of discomfort after the procedure were likely treated with the larger head piece that treats the lower abdomen. The abdomen tends to be the most sensitive area to treat but also the most popular.  Areas like inner and outer thighs have very few complaints of pain.

Brian C. Reuben, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Cool sculpting and pain

Thanks for your question. Pain during the procedure is very unusual. When the device is initially applied, some patients describe mild discomfort or pressure at about 4 minutes which usually subsides within one minute. Make sure to see a surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery for all your aesthetic concerns. Best of luck!

Richard Chaffoo, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Pain Variation with CoolSculpting

Hi, thank you for your question. The first factor to consider is that every individual’s pain threshold is different. Unlike tumescent liposuction, CoolSculpting is a non-invasive treatment. It requires no incision and no intrusive vacuuming of the targeted fat. CoolSculpting works by using a two-paneled device that holds the targeted area and delivers cooling technology to freeze fat cells. The fat cells die through apoptosis and are then disposed of by the body’s natural defenses. There is no anesthesia or pain medication needed with this procedure. The severe pain reported may be due to a low pain threshold and unfamiliarity with the cold temperature on the bare skin. Rest assured that CoolSculpting will never drop to temperatures that cause frostbite. The technology simply targets fat cells while leaving all other skin, tissue and healthy cells undisturbed.

Daniel Behroozan, MD, FAAD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon

Cool sculpting recovery

Because each person is different.  It should not require more than tylenol or an anti-inflammatory to resolve the discomfort.

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 and pain

During the CoolSculpting procedure, there will be intense cooling for a few minutes. Some people find this uncomfortable, but the area soon becomes numb and people can relax and feel quite comfortable during a treatment. Following the treatment most people continue with their day normally with little to no discomfort. Over the course of a few days, some people feel mild discomfort similar to the feeling one might have after a workout. On occasion, significant discomfort has been reported. The patients who experience significant discomfort are almost always patients who have had treatment with a single large applicator administered to the lower abdomen area.  In my practice, we offer compression garments like the ones we use for patients following tummy tucks or liposuction. This has seemed to provide additional comfort and support to patients. On occasion, a patient might find relief with a non-narcotic pain medication called Neurontin.  This can be prescribed by the doctor or the physician assistants and nurse practitioners in the practice. However, most patients do not require medication following a CoolSculpting procedure.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 59 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.