30 y/o, no children, 5'7, 140 or so pounds,...
I am definitely no stranger to cosmetic treatments. I have fillers and botox on a regular basis, had rhinoplasty in April 2014 and am a firm believer in "no pain no gain". I had vaser liposuction without anaesthesia in May 2013 on inner and outer thighs, flanks and back of the arms (it was cheaper for more areas) with the intention of coming back to do my stomach, but the whole experience was too painful for me to want to repeat it and I couldn't afford two weeks downtime with my current job. Since then I've been exercising regularly 3-5 times a week (heavy weights and cardio), eating healthy apart from episodes of bulimia that I've had since early 20s and that have been the reason I gained weight to start with. I've been steadily losing weight all year and I would even say the weight kept coming off the "liposuction'd" areas more eagerly than my arms (front) and stomach that started to bother me more by comparison with thinner legs. I came across an article about "Aqualyx" fat-dissolving injections, went to a clinic for a consultation and learned about Coolsculpting instead. It seems to be advertised as a "no-downtime non-invasive" easy-breezy treatment, almost like having a massage after work. I did read lots of reviews on here and saw that while some people were in pain, others weren't at all, so I proceeded thinking I will be one of the lucky ones (but I wasn't). I went to two clinics, in one of them the doctor said he could "coolsculpt" absolutely anything off me and encouraged me to buy as many areas as I could, which really put me off. A nurse in the other clinic seemed a bit more realistic and said I only had enough "grabbable fat" on my stomach and it wouldn't work on any other area. I preferred this approach and booked the procedure in two weeks' time.
Still remembering my awfully painful vaser lipo experience, I took painkillers and a tranquilizer pill just before Coolsculpting and slept through the procedure. Two small cups were used on my lower stomach and the first five minutes on each side were almost unbearably painful, I wanted to jump off the couch and run away but the nurse encouraged me to wait it out. At the end she said I had a really impressive block of frozen fat and could expect good results. I left the clinic feeling absolutely normal and for the next three days I wasn't in much discomfort, I did my usual treadmill interval running (wearing spanx just in case) but my stomach felt like a big bruise and looked really swollen, so I had to choose the most maternity-like clothes to wear, trousers were out of the question and compression garments helped somewhat. The pain started on day 4, first off as pins and needles, on day five I was in lots of pain (many describe it like being stabbed in the stomach every few seconds, plus the itchy-sunburn feeling) and started taking non-prescription painkillers which don't seem to make much difference, day six painkillers and ice pack, it's day seven now and I can't even leave the house, ice pack is on all the time but at least the swelling seems to have subsided. I will wait until my final result to say if it was worth it or not but I do think the "no downtime" claims made by clinics should be a little more realistic. At the moment I just wish the pain would go away, it's the fact that it's so constant that makes it really bad.
Day 7 - just after ice pack, swelling gone
Day 8, still lots of pain
I found some codeine left from my rhinoplasty and took it just to see if it works, but biggest relief still comes from icing, as soon as the ice pack is off the pain is back. I am extremely annoyed I have missed at least two of my usual gym days already, that can't be helping the fat loss!
Day 9, still in pain
No matter the results, I am definitely not having this treatment done again, this has been one miserable week and an awful weekend. I am a very active person usually and being unable to do anything adds to the misery. My pain from coolsculpting so far is worse than pain I had from liposuction without anaesthesia and is very close to discomfort after rhinoplasty. But at least with other procedures pain decreases gradually after day 1 and the pain I'm having right now has been increasing daily, which is just so weird it makes me anxious.
Have been researching more about when I could expect the pain to stop and found a very long thread on here about pain after coolsculpting, it was a little bit comforting to discover there are lots of people with the same experience.
Day 14 - pain subsides gradually
A slight result
Will take some pictures if the change becomes a little more noticeable
I see results
Unfortunately, for the recovery pain alone I can't say coolsculpting was worth it for me but as for the results, I am impressed the claims have actually matched the reality, unlike so many other procedures.
One more area done 09/08
The procedure itself was not much different this time, I was very uncomfortable for the first 3 minutes, then a burning sensation for the next five and after that I was fine. I took my tranquilizer and had a nice relaxing nap. The frozen block of fat was once again pretty big and the nurse said I'll have good results again. Now my upper stomach is very painful, feels like an internal bruise (but no actual bruising), everything is familiar this time. I am not looking forward to neurological pain on days 5-10 but very much looking forward to my results. I will take some photos in a couple of weeks once the healing is done.
6 day post upper stomach done
2.5 months post lower, 1 month post upper
Had my back fat (small rolls) done three weeks ago and there was almost no pain and zero recovery pain, the biggest discomfort was from lying on my back for two hours. I wish it was like that for my stomach!
What concerns me slightly is that I developed an asymmetrical lump on my lower abs, I can feel it under skin and it feels hard, like fibrous tissue, this can be seen mostly in my side view and I can definitely see it looking down at myself. Not sure if it's a coolsculpting complication (I've read about it in other reviews but theirs looked worse) or has always been there and became more visible with fat reduction? It doesn't bother me too much but makes me wary about having another procedure in that area, although I would like to get rid of the funny-looking pooch and get my stomach perfectly flat, might look into spot liposuction now.
I'm uploading a couple of pictures I took this morning - obviously at its tightest but still looks better than before.
More fat loss on upper abs
Still not delighted about the lump of fat sticking out on the lower abs, I think it looks a bit funny but it doesn't make me self-conscious and I might be able to diet it away and I have motivation to do extra crunches.
A nurse performed it, I didn't have any problems with the clinic or the staff. Not sure if I can rate "bedside manner" or "time spent with me" as the cup was put on and I was sleeping for two hours, It's not the sort of procedure where you want someone to be next to you all the time. I come back once a week for velashape so "aftercare and follow-up" would not be very objective. I was made comfortable but wasn't expecting anything outstanding.