Long-term Effects of Coolsculpting?

I'm seriously considering getting Coolsculpting done on my love handles and stomach. I've read up on it, but can someone explain to me why it only damages the fat cells and nothing else? And also, does it ever come out "lumpy?" I'm worried about long-term side effects. Also, are the results more dramatic or thinner people or those with more weight to remove? Thanks :)

Doctor Answers (14)

Long Term Effects of CoolSculpting?

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To date there are no long term negative effects of CoolSculpting.The reason it only damages fat cells is that fat cells will freeze at higher temperature than other tissues. The reason the other tissues such as skin, nerves and blood vessels are not frozen at these same temperatures are that they are water based.   The device carefully controls the cooling process so that the temperatures achieved are such that the only the fat will freeze but are above the freezing point of other tissues inside the applicator. Regarding your second question, CoolSculpting gives a very NATURAL looking reduction without issues of lumpiness nor hanging excess skin. Finally, the ideal patient is the one who is close to their ideal weight with moderate to small bulges.  However, that is not to say that the procedure does not work in larger individuals.  As with all procedures proper expectations are critical.  I have treated individuals who are less than ideal and they have been extemely gratified by their results.  One does have to ensure that they understand that complete elimination of their bulge will not happen and if desired multiple procedures can be performed for additional fat reduction.  Having accepted this, they are more than thrilled to produce undeniable results with one treatment that does not require any surgery, needles, anesthesia nor downtime!  

Long Island Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Long-term Effects of Coolsculpting?

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CoolSculpting has been around for several years now. Its effects last — but it is a two-way street. You must use diet and exercise to maintain the effects; otherwise there is always a risk for weight gain and new fat formation if you decide not to take care of yourself.

Michael Gold, MD
Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Cool Sculpting is only 20 to 25% effective.

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One of the problems with Cool Sculpting is that it is only 20 to 25% effective and often struggles to achieve an artful beautiful result.

Mark Taylor, MD
Salt Lake City Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

CoolSculpting to reduce fat

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CoolSculpting is a very effective way to reduce some excess unwanted fat in some areas. It can be used just about anywhere below the neck. The important thing when having CoolSculpting is choosing the right applicator (attachment for the machine) for the areas to be treated. The key is to make the fat super cold which damages the fat cells. The other cells in the same area (skin, muscle, etc.) are not nearly as sensitive to the cold. If the right applicator is used and you're a good candidate for the treatment you should expect smooth, even, and effective results. The results are more based upon the nature of the excess fat than the amount of it. I have seen good results from thin patients and others who have more excess fat. Have a discussion with a few docs that offer CoolSculpting, it's not a one size fits all procedure. 

I hope this helps!

Adam Rubinstein, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Cool Sculpting treatments

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Fat cells are more sensitive to the colder temperature.  The skin and other structures are protected through their technology so only the fat cells are frozen and ultimately taken out the body naturally.

Effects Following CoolSculpting

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Coolsculpting has been available in the United States for several years and in Europe for a much longer period of time. Over 50,000 patients have under gone coolsculpting safely with minimal complications. The procedure is FDA approved.

                  Multiple studies have demonstrated that fat cells are extremely sensitive to cold and prolonged exposure to cold can result in cell death. In contrast, nerve, muscle and skin are relatively unaffected by exposure to cold. This explains the effectiveness of this procedure in reducing fat collections.

                  Patient selection is critical to the success of this procedure. The procedure works best when patients are relatively thin and have localized fat collections. When patients have larger amounts of fat, the results are far less dramatic. These patients may need multiple treatments or may be better candidates for liposuction.

                  In the vast majority of patients who undergo coolsculpting the results are excellent. The procedure is very safe and there appears to be no long term problems associated with it.

Coolsculpting effects over time

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We have been doing Coolsculpting since it first became available. We had one relatively thin woman develop a subtle "shelf" above the area treated. Clearly you could see that Coolsculpting had reduced the fat on her central abdomen. We recently treated this area with Vanquish and that shelf has disappeared. Beyond that, we have seen no negative side effects. We definitely have seen mixed results and I believe it is because coolsculpting is so specific. In bigger folks, you need to treat a lot of areas to get visible results but for thinner people who have "grab-able" fat pads, it works very well.

Rutledge Forney, MD
Atlanta Dermatologic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Long-term Effects of CoolSculpting

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Using a process called Cryolipolysis, which uses extreme cold to freeze the fat within fat cells, CoolSculpting damages the fat within cells and stimulates the body’s natural response. Over the next few weeks and months following treatment, the fat is eliminated through the body’s lymphatic system. Since the elimination process is gradual, so are the results. Most patients begin to notice results within 3 weeks, but full results will appear in 4 to 6 months. Generally, the treatment will remove 20-25% of the fat in the area treated. 

CoolSculpting long term effect - Its safe

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Coolsculpting is a safe procedure approved by the FDA. Coolsculpting uses a process called cryolipolysis which is based on scientific research showing that fat cells are more sensitive to the effects of freezing than the other adjacent tissues. These fat cells are removed by the bodies own natural process. There are no foreign body introduced to the body. I actually had coolsculpting performed on myself. There are no long term negative effects of coolsculpting.

Make sure you are properly evaluated prior to your treatment.

Stanley Okoro, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

CoolSculpting is effective for fat reduction

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CoolSculpting was designed by Zeltiq to induce fat reduction.  Fat is more sensitive to the effects of freezing than the other adjacent tissues and that is why it tends to respond well to freezing for fat reduction. Certainly if someone is overweight, the same percent reduction will appear less of an effect than if they were slimmer at the onset of treatment.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 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.