More Painful Downtime Than Expected - London, GB

30 y/o, no children, 5'7, 140 or so pounds,...

30 y/o, no children, 5'7, 140 or so pounds, clothes size 10UK/US 6 (I don't weigh myself and usually just look at how my clothes fits).
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

This is pretty close to how my stomach looked before the procedure, it tightens up after ice pack quite a bit.

Day 8, still lots of pain

My belly button is extremely itchy and the constant little stabs under the skin are still very bad and non-stop. When I press on the stomach it feels very painful, more painful than the bruise pain I had the first three days, more like internal organ pain. Letting cats near it is out of question!
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.
http://www.realself.com/review/coolsculpting-pain-after-cool-sculpting#comments

Day 14 - pain subsides gradually

As of yesterday, the pain has been gradually getting duller but I still need an ice pack to fall asleep.

A slight result

I am probably still recovering as my stomach gets itchy from time to time but I am noticing a very small reduction: the sort of change if I did a detox for a week, but it's very subtle and not noticeable to anyone but me. I'm sure if I had a couple more sessions I could see great improvement, shame my recovery was so painful I will never do coolsculpting again.
Will take some pictures if the change becomes a little more noticeable

I see results

I definitely see results from the procedure - I'd say the 20% reduction claims were pretty accurate for me. This has also motivated me to up my abs exercise and not overeat. The stomach is by no means perfect but feels great and liberating to be wearing some of my more clingy clothes without worrying about the stomach so much. I am very gutted that my recovery was so painful, otherwise I'd already be booking one session on upper and one more on lower tummy, pretty sure that would make it close to perfect, with those visible abs outlines that I'd love to have. Maybe I'll risk it once the neurological pain is forgotten or if I can obtain those pain killers they don't prescribe in UK.
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

OK, I must admit, I have been very impressed with my results so far. At this point there is not much more than a fold of skin with a tiny bit of fat left where there used to be a considerable pouch all my life, when I bend over it's no longer a roll of fat but a small fold (unlike the two rolls above it). I must be a sucker for punishment because yesterday I had two small cups done on my upper stomach and booked two more for the small amount of back fat that I have to achieve more harmony in my upper body (I am naturally top-heavy, with skinny legs and a short boxy torso).
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

The recovery has been exactly the same for me this time round, on day 5 the neurological pain started and got much worse today, it's the sort of stabbing/nagging pain - it's sharp and dull at the same time, really hard to describe. I've been trying my best to man up but it's so intense at times I get cold sweat and almost pass out. Broke down and cried from pain at work, so had to tell the colleagues what I'd done (they all agreed I'm stupid and didn't need it). I do know why I did it though and look forward to day 13 when I can feel like myself again. Strangely, moving a lot and especially gym seem to help with the pain, as opposed to seating down, although nothing beats the ice pack.
Cavendish Clinic

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.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Comments (13)

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I'm 7 days post procedure for my abdomen below my belly button. I'm in the same severe pain that you described. They used the smaller suction on two areas with some overlap in the middle of my belly. I'm sorry it was so painful for you, but you've helped me from seriously freaking out about my pain, and I now know it will get better! Glad you got the results you wanted.
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Ah I'm really sorry you're going through the same, that pain is really intense and one of the worst I've ever experienced, especially the overlap part - it was incredibly itchy and painful at the same time. I'm just on day 6 after my upper stomach was done and getting the exact same type of pain, almost passing out at work. It got better for me on days 12-13 last time but I was also overdoing it with the ice packs.
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I had the same procedure in late April of this year. Experienced a little post-procedure pins and needles pain a few days later but it went away after 2-3 days. Took 3 months to see the full result. You'll likely continue to lose fat for at least another month. You look terrific so far!
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You are so lucky! I'm loving my results and would really like to get upper stomach done and the lower part again, wish I had no neurological pain like some people:(
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Good luck. Do they say 2-3 months to see final results?
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my nurse said 1 month is when you see results
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Just reading ur posting has been helpful because of the interaction of members. It helped me to formulate questions to ask. I hope u get the results u desire after the pain u have experienced.
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Thank you, I hope it works for you!
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Thank you for posting this, the Institute that performs it tried to get me to purchase several sections at once and I'm glad I contacted this site or I might have been SEVERELY disappointed! I may still do this but IF I do, it will only be 2 large sites, the top muffin top that overhangs in jeans and knitted tops. I plan to substantially modify my diet and exercise 4 times a week when it's safe to do so after the procedure. Does anyone else who had the procedure agree with my plan? Do you think I'll see results?
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I would recommend to start exercising before the procedure to kick-start the process, as unlike liposuction, it is definitely not a quick fix and more like a sculpting tool when you are already close to your ideal weight. From what I've read, there is no way to tell if you will be in pain or not, any other area apart from the stomach seems to be a breeze, and with the stomach there is a 50/50 chance you will be in great discomfort. I must have just been one of the unlucky ones but I'm definitely glad I haven't purchased a treatment package and had just one procedure done to see how I would react
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Elena, I believe that they froze you on a lower rate than prescribed. I also believe that whoever did the procedure for you hasn't had training. The lady who does my procedures, has had extensive training and will not go lower than -5°C on the skin. This prevents the skin freezing and other cells than fat cells freezing. I feel sorry that you had this terrible ordeal!
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Thank you, I assumed it's a standard procedure for everyone and shouldn't be too risky, the clinic does hundreds of those a month. I think it's just my personal pain threshold or something like that.
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I must say, I have had coolsculpting done on my stomach (top and bottom), my love handles and muffin tops. I'm still going to do my inner thighs. I had NO pain to date. It's been months. Whoever did your treatment, did not know what they were doing or the painkillers and shit you took had a severe reaction to your procedure. I have not taken pain killers or anything else. I did have the itchy and scratchy part, but only for one day. They lady who did my coolsculpting was very professional, I was never uncomfortable and we were chatting through the whole procedure. She stayed the whole time, making sure that my skin did not freeze.
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