Coolsculpting - how it's done: applicator stays 30 - 50 minutes or 1-2 minutes moving over the area?

Reading a lot of posts it seems the procedure it is done like that: the applicator stays for 30-50 minutes on the same area. The nurse that did the thing to me said it is better for the coolsculpting machine to stay just 1,5 minutes and moving over the abdomen, so that it will not get too red and used the machine at -2 degrees instead of -5 degrees maximum for the same purpose (explaining the effect is the same). Do you think it will work...or I just lost some money ? Thank you so much for your feedback.

Doctor Answers 7

CoolSculpting applicator time

When CoolSculpting is performed to any area, the applicator should be in place for exactly one hour.  Having the applicator in place for a shorter period of time may produce suboptimal results.  


San Francisco Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Coolsculpting- how it's done: applicator stays on 30-50 minutes or 1-2 minutes moving over the area?

Coolsculpting induces programmed cell death after selectively freezing fat cells. An applicator is placed on the area to be treated, the tissue is drawn up between freezing plates and the applicator remains in place for 60 minutes. This is how the Zeltiq coolsculpting machine is programmed to work. Beware of imitations.

Suzanne Kim Doud Galli, MD, PhD, FACS
Washington Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

How CoolSculpting Is Done

CoolSculpting applicators are placed on the treatment area for an hour at a time and then removed at the end of that hour for a 2 minute massage. The applicator is not taken off or moved during this treatment time at all. Your treatment may not have been CoolSculpting. You may want to verify with your provider.

Coolsculpting Treatment Protocol

For most applicators (other than coolsmooth), the protocol is for a one hour treatment per area. For the coolsmooth applicator, it is for two hours. It does not sound like you had a Coolsculpting procedure, but a treatment from an imitator. Check to see if the center is on the coolsculpting.com website.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Coolsculpting Protocol

Coolscupting is a fabulous non-invasive procedure that reduces fat in a given area by 20%. However, the protocol is that you need to leave the applicator in place for a full hour and massage the treating area immediately after.  I am not sure what procedure you had done but I am sorry to tell you that you did not have coolscultping by Zeltiq done with the proper protocol.  Please find a board certified dermatologist with a great deal of cosmetic experience for the best results.

Treatment claims to be CoolSculpting but protocol not followed

I am trying to conceive of a possible scenario by which the device used for your treatment could have been the CoolSculpting device by Zeltiq. The only one that seems possible is that the applicator was applied in multiple areas without using a gelpad and without using up a "smart card." 

Physicians must buy a smart card and a gelpad for each procedure. The treatment must last for one hour in order to be effective. The applicator must stay in the same location for the treatment to be effective. After 10 minutes, the smart card will no longer allow the CoolSculpting device to continue to work if the applicator is moved, but one can remove and reapply the applicator many times without having to replace the card if 10 minutes have not elapsed. After 10 minutes, the card cannot be used for another location or a different patient. If one were to attach the applicator for only 90 seconds without using a gelpad, frostbite would be very unlikely, but I think frostbite might occur if left on without a gelpad for a little longer than that.

You might want to contact Zeltiq. I am sure they will want to get a definitive answer to your question for you, and help you receive an effective treatment.

Sheryl D. Clark, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

CoolSculpting requires a continued contact

CoolSculpting requires continued contact for an hour to properly cool the fat layer. Your description of your treatment suggests it was not CoolSculpting that you received but some other procedure.

Patients are advised to be still during their treatment so as not to dislodge the applicator. The continued suction is required to hold the skin and fat between the cooling plates....otherwise the system times out and a new (extra cost) card is required. If the fat (not the skin) does not reach a certain temperature, then nothing happens.

Rebecca Fitzgerald, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 21 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.