After a few questions about my Coolsculpting, still left with a few more. My Dr says these are 2nd degree burns.. (photos)

All the Dr has said is that I have 2nd Degree burns She assures me if Scarring is left and pigmentation is left it will be fixed. Can you fix A burn color? Is this Frostbite? How do I know that it didn't do more damage deaper? I know this is "rare" but once the numbness is gone am I going to have permanent pain from Damage? A cotton ball was placed in my belly Button for Insulation of the Navel, could this have thrown off the Sensor to show my Temp was too cold? Day 7. Painful

Doctor Answers 5

After a few questions about my Coolsculpting, still left with a few more. My Dr says these are 2nd degree burns..

Thank you for your question. Sorry to hear that. This seems very unusual for a CoolSculpting treatment. I would recommend contacting Zeltiq and speaking to them. Always ensure that you see a physician with experience in CoolSculpting.


Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 457 reviews

Fat freezing (CoolSculpting) skin injury, frostbite

Dear Intheflo:

Thank you for sharing your photos. So sorry for these problems. 

“CoolSculpting” (CS) made by Zeltiq iis a FDA approved machine for the use of non-surgical fat reduction .

They have incorporated many preventative mechanical and electronic mechanisms to prevent frost-bite. 

Frostbite looks like a burn injury as it progresses from redness to blistering to skin/fat necrosis. It requires immediate care to keep it from progressing. 

My concerns for your care include: 
  • A non-approved imitation machine 
  • Direct application of the applicator without the use of a anti-freeze gel separator.
  • Use of a cotton-ball in the navel theoretically could preclude the proper seal and creating continous suction of the applicator causing continued freezing to reach proper temperature and thus causing a frost-bite injury.
  • improper evaluation as a candidate 
  • improper selection of a Certified CoolSculpting physician or Team.
  • improper use of CS protocols 
  • Other issues which may have added injury including prior co-morbidities to the area such as:
    • over vigorous massage rather than kneeding, 
    • application of ice packs or heating pad to the therapeutically cooled area,
    • DIY (do it yourself) kits to enhance the result of the therapeutically cooled area.
    • Auto-immune, nicotine use, diabetic and other illnesses which diminish circulation. 

Obtain urgent consultation to reduce the progressive level of the injury and diminish your concerns including: pigmentation, scar, fat necrosis with underlying irregularity, numbness and other issues.

Please consider another opinion from a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon experienced and certified in CoolSculpting, frostbite / burn injury and care.

I wish you the very best!

Dean P. Kane, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Coolsculpting and Complication

I have been doing Coolsculpting since it came out and have never seen anything like this. Coolsculpting is a safe and highly effective treatment for fat reduction. Was a gel pad placed? A cotton ball is never used.  Are you sure that you had Coolsculpting by Zeltiq? Is this a certified physician? I would consult a board certified dermatologist who is an expert with Coolsculpting for evaluation.  Best, Dr. Green

Michele S. Green, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

CS complication

Hi there.  I have never heard of this complication before.  The treatment pattern does not look like a "condoned"/advised placement of the applicators.  I would ask your physician to put you in touch with a Zeltiq representative.  The machine is designed to avoid this.  I agree, it may be a "knockoff".

There will very likely be residual scarring and skin color changes from this.  Given the location and size, and given that you are petite, a "tummy" tuck, or any surgical procedure to remove the affected area is probably not an option.

Sorry, and I hope this helps.

Duncan B. Hughes, MD
Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Complication from Coolsculpting?

This is a burn and probably will have residual problems with pigmentation and scarring. I have never seen nor heard of this complication and I have been using since 2009. It is not wise to put anything on the skin other than the gel pad. I would question whether this was actually a Zeltiq machine or some knock off from China.This is a very safe procedure in general.

Steven F. Weiner, MD
Panama City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 41 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.