With Cool Sculpting, if It is Not Weightloss, Where Does the Frozen Fat "Go"?

Does the fat leave your body?

Doctor Answers 24

CoolSculpting by Zeltiq is loss of fat not loss of weight

Losing fat does not mean weight loss as fat is much less dense than muscle and you would need to lose a lot of fat to see the reduction of weight on a scale. Meanwhile the 20% reduction of fat volume in one focal bulge can make a difference in shape and how clothing fits.  The body metabolizes the dead fat cells.

Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

How Does Cool Sculpting Work?


The cool sculpting (Zeltiq) will freeze the fat cells (cryoplipolysis) without affecting other tissues; the fat in the adipocytes (fat cells) will freeze at a controlled temperature inducing cellular apopotisis (programmed cell death) hence a permanent solution.

As for the fat within the adipocytes, it will get dissolved into the blood stream at a slow rate without inducing a increase of the serum fat levels worth noting.

So the fat will be used up by your body and the adipocytes that were eliminated will never grow back again.

I hope this helps.

Thank you for your inquiry.

Dr. Sajjadian

Ali Sajjadian, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 189 reviews

CoolSculpting.... will you lose weight?

Coolsculpting kills 20-25% of the fat cells in the area treated.  As these cells die, your body reabsorbs the fatty acids and the cellular debris and you excrete the excess through your intestines.  You will see the area treated shrink over the next 2-3 months as this happens.  You will not feel, or know that anything is happening in any way other than when you look in the mirror over the next several weeks, you will see that you are getting smaller.  Will you lose weight?  ....a very small amount for each treatment area. 

CoolSculpting Removes Fat

This is an excellent question and one that virtually all of my patients ask at some point. Understanding the difference between fat reduction and losing weight is helpful. When a person loses weight, the fat cells shrink but remain in the body. If you gain weight, those cells enlarge. CoolSculpting permanently eliminates fat cells by cooling them until they crystallize (or freeze) and begin dying. They are then naturally processed and eliminated from the body through its natural metabolic system. They are gone for good. Remaining fat cells in your body can still enlarge, though, so it's important to stick to a healthy lifestyle to maintain your results. I hope that answers your question!

Dead fat cells are processed by your liver

Coolsculpting causes a natural process causes apoptosis, or "programmed cell death," of the treated fat cells. Once dead, they are cleaned out of the fat layer by your body's immune cells, and are then metabolized by the liver and excreted from the body. 

David P. Rapaport, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Where does fat go after CoolSculpting?

The fat cells are damaged by the cold temperature during CoolSculpting and are slowly dissolved and broken down in your body by cells called macrophages. The fat cell particles are then cleared from your body through your lymphatic system and goes through the liver where it is processed out of your body as waste.

Coolscupting Treatment

The treated fat cells are crystallized (frozen), then die. Over time, your body naturally processes the fat and eliminates these dead cells. The CoolSculpting fat freezing procedure is FDA-cleared and safe to use in the neck area.

Hardik Soni, MD
Summit Emergency Medicine Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Fat Leaves Through Kidneys

This is quite a common question, and a good one. CoolSculpting causes the breakdown of fat cells in a natural process called apoptosis. At this point, the body's waste system takes over, filtering the fat cells out through the kidneys so that they leave the body along with the urine. You are right in that CoolSculpting does not produce a significant weight loss. Although you will shed unwanted fat cells and can reshape and tone areas of the body, you won't likely see a significant change on the scale.

Mark E. Freeman, MD
Idaho Falls Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

"Frozen" fat cells are metabolized and naturally eliminated

CoolSculpting freezes fat cells through a process called cryolipolisis that only affects the targeted fat cells; it does not damage surrounding tissue. After the fat cells are “frozen,” they are metabolized by the body and naturally eliminated through urine.

William Groff, DO
San Diego Dermatologist
4.8 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Frozen Fat Filtered Away

Great question! Once fat cells are treated by CoolSculpting, they die in a process called apoptosis. This is a controlled form of natural cell death. Over time, the dead fat cells are broken down and automatically metabolized, filtered out of your body through normal processes. The reason we say CoolSculpting is not weight loss is because it's not intended to reduce large volumes of fat. Instead, patients can expect about a 25% reduction of the treated areas. For many people, this is the perfect amount to treat small, stubborn deposits. While you won't notice a significant change on the scale, you will see improved curves and contours.

Richard Chaffoo, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 17 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.