I am 34 years old, 5'5" and 117lbs. I workout regularly between 5 and 7 days a week (jogging in the summer and tae bo during the winter) and am in good shape. My abdomen has always been my problem area. If I highly restrict my diet, I can have the flatter tummy, but that's hard for me to maintain for any length of time. Even though I am what others would deem "skinny" I still have a layer of fat on my abdomen that doesn't go away.
When I learned about Cool Sculpting from my plastic surgeon's office I made an appointment right away, and then...I read the reviews. I became very anxious and nervous after reading about the pain being reported by others. However, with the end game being a flatter stomach, I decided to go ahead and get the procedure on my lower abdomen. During the consult, the specialist informed me that the abdomen is in fact the area where patients experience the most uncomfortableness and that having the actual procedure is similar to "menstrual cramps" for the first 10 minutes. She had tried it on herself and was able to perform physical activity that evening and described that afterward for the next couple of weeks it would feel numb ("as if you stomach wasn't part of you").
During the procedure, the specialist warned me, that it would feel very shocking at first and it would feel like I couldn't breathe, so to just focus on taking deep breaths at first and after about 8-10 minutes it would get easier as the cold would make the area feel numb. I can say, yes during the initial application it does feel like your stomach is being completely sucked into a vacuum, but I never felt like I couldn't breath and I wouldn't describe it as pain. It was cold, but really not all that uncomfortable for me. I brought my Kindle to read for the hour during the procedure, but had I not been propped up, I could have fallen asleep and taken a nap. I had read that some described the rubbing of the frozen fat after the procedure as being painful, however I didn't find this painful either.
Immediately after the procedure we could see that I had a little bruising from the suction. I wore spanx as compression for the first 48 hours and I feel this significantly reduced the swelling (and any rubbing action from waistbands). I also used Arnica gel (applied 5x a day) for the first few days. For one it helps to soothe the area and my bruises (another bruise emerged a day later) were gone in 4 days! To me, that seems remarkable. I now swear by the stuff (I bought it at CVS). Days 3-5 I took Advil regularly and that helped with the strange, what I can only guess to be the nerve endings "waking back up" sensation. Again, not really pain, just a strange feeling that felt like strong tingling on the inside of my stomach wall.
I chose not to jog the first 5 days (the bouncing action of my swollen belly felt odd) so I did the elliptical instead. By Day 8 the little bit of swelling I did have, was completely gone. Now, just the area treated is slightly numb when touched. My intent of sharing my experience was to inform others that it wasn't painful (to me) and to highly recommend compression-like spanx afterward for swelling and Arnica gel for swelling and bruising. It seems to me that everyone is different and heals differently. For me the experience was a piece of cake and I hope in sharing my experience to calm ther nerves of thoese out there considering Cool Sculpting. I am 2 weeks out and anxiously awaiting my results. I will post an update after 3 months.