CoolSculpting, calories, and fat redistribution

How do I think about the math here? If I freeze/eliminate fat cells from, say, my belly but eat the same calories as I was before, won't the excess calories I was using to plump up those fat cells just go to other fat cells? What does my body do to deal with the extra calories except store them in fat somewhere else? If I Coolsculpt my belly, will I maybe end up with fatter arms?

Doctor Answers 8

Yes and No

You are eliminating the fat cells for good with Coolsculpting.  But if you are planning on gaining weight, you should probably not get Coolsculpting.  Coolsculpting requires that you stay the same weight (more or less) and really commit to a healthy lifestyle for best results.  

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

What the fat goes

CoolSculpting results in permanent loss of fat cells in the treated area. Your body does not produce new fat cells, so the result of the CoolSculpt treatment is permanent in that respect. However, the remaining fat cells are still going to do what they do: store fat.  They can still expand as they store excess calories, no matter where they are located. This is so even with liposuction.  Maintaining a healthy weight, and diet and exercise program will decrease the chances of ending up with those "fatter arms" you mentioned.  Good Luck!

Tina B. West, MD
Washington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

CoolSculpting, calories, and fat redistribution

Thank you for your question. The best way to maintain the results of CoolSculpting is by having a healthy lifestyle. If you gain weight, you can gain weight anywhere as fat cells expand in all areas, including the areas that are treated. 

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 416 reviews

CoolSculpting and the Remaining Fat Cells

CoolSculpting eliminates the fat cells from the area you are treating.  If you are getting CoolSculpting, or any other cosmetic treatments for fat, you want to be at a stable weight you can maintain.  If you gain weight, you can gain the fat in any remaining fat cells.  A healthy diet and regular exercise regimen are the best way to keep the results you get from CoolSculpting.  

Jeffrey Hartog, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Cool Sculpting Results

CoolSculpting will remove fat cells. Please note that fat cells can increase and decrease. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine is important.  Please visit a board certified plastic surgeon for an evaluation. Best of luck!

Christine Sullivan, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Coolsculpting and Results

The fat removed from coolsculpting is permanent, the fat that remains can get bigger.  If you eat poorly you will not lose weight overall even with coolsculpting.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 159 reviews

What happens to the fat after CoolSculpting?

As you correctly suggest, CoolSculpting does permanently reduce the amount of fat in a given area.  CoolSculpting does not eliminate potential for the fat in that area to increase in size if you gain weight.  That said, some patients more prone to adding weight to certain areas or losing it from certain areas as changes.  This genetic predisposition does not change following CoolSculpting treatment.

Brian Biesman, MD
Nashville Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

CoolSculpting, calories, and fat redistribution

Where do the calories go if they are no longer going to those fat cells. While sometimes patients note that adjacent areas to teated areas look "fuller", it is clear that the fat cells which undergo apoptosis are no longer present. If caloric intake is the same and the calories are looking for a place to store up until they are needed, they will no longer have as much repository cell volume in the treated area. Adjacent areas however will still have the same capacity and thus may continue to retain these calories. Treating these adjacent areas can deliver more uniform results. Don't forget to massage your abdomen or treated areas for best results

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.