Remedy for pain during Coolsculpting?

I've had Coolsculpting done on several areas but found the procedure itself extremely painful for the abdomen area until the area went numb after about 5 minutes. I'm considering repeating the abdomen and want to know if there is anything I can do to take the edge off of the pain such as applying topical lidocaine to the area just before the procedure.

Doctor Answers 12


I appreciate your question.
The pain at the beginning is the worst part
you could try some advil but this may increase your bruising
The best way to assess and give true advice would be an in-person exam.
Please see a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in aesthetic and restorative plastic surgery.

best of luck!

Dr Schwartz

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Coolsculpting and Initial Pain

Coolsculpting is a fabulous procedure for decreasing the bulge of fat in a given area by as much as 25% in a single treatment with no down time.  Until the area is "frozen" there may be some discomfort.  If you feel that it was too uncomfortable then you can take Motrin before the procedure.  I would not advise topical lidocaine since if it is occluded under the applicator could cause irritation or other side effects.

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

Pain during CoolSculpting

As the CoolSculpting applicator draws in the tissue and treatment begins, there is a squeezing and pulling sensation that some patients find uncomfortable at first. After several minutes the treatment area becomes numb and the procedure is much more comfortable. We do not find that topical numbing is necessary but do advise patients they may take Ibuprofen 30-45 minutes prior to their treatment to help take the edge off. 

Brian S. Glatt, MD, FACS
Morristown Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Pain control for Coolsculpting

Thank you for your question.  Coolsculpting treatments can be intense at the very beginning until your tissues accommodate to the treatment and the temperature drops.  I have prescribed some oral sedatives (e.g Ativan) and narcotics for pre-procedural comfort.  But I require a driver.  You can also use topical numbing and this may help as well.  I would apply it an hour before the treatment.  I have also injected lidocaine for other energy based treatments on the abdomen such as the CO2 and this is also an option depending on where you go for your treatment.

Young R. Cho, MD, PhD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 35 reviews


Discomfort during the first 5-10 minutes of CoolSculpt is caused by pressure from the suction of the applicator. After 5-10 minutes, this discomfort and pressure subsides as the area being treated becomes numb from the cold. Generally, this pressure is most uncomfortable when treating the lower abdomen with the larger applicator. In such circumstances, some patients take ibuprofen 30-60 min before the treatment to take the edge off. If you are very concerned about this pain, you may consider taking an anti-anxiety medication an hour before the procedure as well--just be sure to arrange transportation.

Ava Shamban, MD
Santa Monica Dermatologic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Pain during Coolsculpting

I agree that the topical lidocaine won't help and that Valium or similar anti-anxiety drug would take the edge off.  Just have someone drive you home if you are going to take that medicine during treatment. XO

Sheila S. Nazarian, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Pain during and following CoolSculpting

Dear marithon:

A few patients do develop discomfort and pain following CoolSculpting (CS); not so much at the beginning of the cooling process. The trouble with using topical lidocaine is the potential for overuse and toxicity. Any distraction such as music, video, meditation and tylenol (an hour or 2 before) can help for that brief period before the skin is "cooled numb". 

Most of my patient require no medications following CoolSculpting but for those that do, we have tried, tylenol, ibuprofen / naprosyn, LidoDerm topical and rarely narcotic for comfort during the occasional spasm a week following the procedure. 

Discuss further with your Certified CoolSculpting Team. 
All the best!

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

Coolsculpting and Pain

This can be improved by ibuprofen, neurontin or antianxiety/painkillers prior to the procedure.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 190 reviews

Remedy for Pain During CoolSculpting

Your observation is appreciated. 
In my opinion the large central abdominal applicator has induced more discomfort than the smaller applicators. 
In patients who have above average discomfort with the large applicator we switch to two treatments of the smaller applicator. 
Talk with your physician about this possible option. 

R. Brannon Claytor, MD, FACS
Bryn Mawr Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Pain during CoolSculpting

The initial discomfort is usually short lived and usually resolves within the first 5 minutes.  Even though during your first treatment you initially felt discomfort it does not mean the next will have the same response. Each and every treatment is different with most patients during treatment not feeling any discomfort at all. Typically the large Cool Max applicator will cause some of what you described but further treatments may require smaller applicators which are more tolerable. Topical numbing cream is not necessary and would not numb deep enough.

Tina Venetos, MD
Lake Forest Dermatologist
3.4 out of 5 stars 5 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.