Coolsculpting Results and Studies?

I've been researching the time frame of how long Coolsculpting results are supposed to last and read the following, "Patients experiencing fat layer reduction show persistent results at least six months after the Zeltiq Procedure. Longer term studies have not been completed." I am confused about the 6 month point. Are they saying results only last 6 months? How can they even prove that the fat cells have been eliminated from the body? If they are eliminated, are they eliminated via stools/urine?

Doctor Answers 9

CoolSculpting provides long term fat reduction

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I have many patients who have not seen any fat return for more than two years after their CoolSculpting fat loss. This Zeltiq device kills the fat cells by freezing them and they are then engulfed by macrophages which help carry them away.

The remaining fat cells could engorge more fat if someone were to consume too many calories after their treatment. CoolSculpting is not a replacement for diet and exercise.

The information provided in Dr. Shelton's answer is for educational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical advice.  The information provided should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultations with a qualified health professional who may be familiar with your individual medical needs.

Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

CoolSculpting Can Be Considered Permanent

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 The authors of clinical studies are constrained to making statements that are supported by data. This means that if their study lasted only six months, the authors can only comment on results up to the six-month mark. So, in the instance of CoolSculpting, though the authors can definitively say that the results lasted for 6 months because the data proved they did, the authors cannot conjecture beyond that point. Longer term studies are in the works and are expected to show good results as well. 

From previous studies, we know that cryolipolysis kills fat cells.  We also know that our body regularly breaks down and eliminates dead cells through the urine. Based on our understanding of biology and our experience with liposuction and other fat-elimination techniques, we know that fat cells that have left the body do not regenerate. They are gone for good. However, we also know that if you consume more calories than you burn and begin to store fat again in the remaining fat cells, those cells will swell to accommodate the overload that was once handled by the cells that are no longer there. In other words, if you want to maintain your CoolSculpting results permanently, you have to engage in healthy habits permanently. Please consult a board-certified dermatologist to see if you are a candidate for CoolSculpting. 

Melda A. Isaac, MD
Washington DC Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

CoolSculpting Permanently Kills Fat Cells – Permanent Results Are Up To You

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Thank you for your excellent questions. Zeltiq's CoolSculpting system uses cryolipolysis – a patented technique that lowers the temperature of fat cells sufficiently to trigger apoptosis (slow cell death), but not enough to affect surrounding tissue.

First, we know that the fat cells are actually destroyed and eliminated because the FDA demands scientific proof before granting approval of a technique or drug. As with all treatments, CoolSculpting had to first undergo proof of concept testing in animal models before testing on humans was allowed. Histological studies on animal fat in the treated area before, 2 days after, 14 days after and 28 days after cryolipolysis showed a significant reduction in the number of fat cells post-treatment as compared with baseline. We know that the fat cells have been eliminated because that is the way the body operates: dead cells are broken down by macrophages so that they can pass through the lymphatic system and be excreted via the urine.

Second, because the initial clinical studies on humans only lasted for six months, we cannot definitively state that results last longer than that until the longer-term results are in. However, we know from decades of experience with other fat-elimination techniques, such as liposuction, that once fat cells are gone they do not return. That means your results should be permanent as long as you maintain your post-procedure weight. In my clinical experience, patients have had persistent results for years!

Please remember that getting great results from CoolSculpting is not a license to begin indulging in an unhealthy diet or becoming lax about your exercise routine. Though you have fewer fat cells, if you consume more than your normal amount of daily calories, the fat cells that remain can swell to accommodate the extra fat. If you are not diligent about staying in shape, you can sabotage your good results.

Please consult a board-certified dermatologist to see if you are a candidate for CoolSculpting and to learn how you can maintain the benefits you receive from the procedure – permanently. 

Kimberly Butterwick, MD
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Coolsculpting results and studies

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The CoolSculpt fat reduction procedure is FDA-cleared and contours the body by safely and effectively freezing away unwanted fat for good without surgery or downtime. Once CoolSculpting eliminates the fat there is about a 20 to 25% reduction of fat cells from your body, which will not reappear if healthy exercise and lifestyle are maintained. Every patient is different, so a consultation with a Coolsculpt practice is essential to understanding more about individual results. It is a good non-surgical option for those close to their ideal weight, with some stubborn fat bulges, that don’t want post-surgical downtime. Best of Luck.

Steven Gabel, MD, FACS
Portland Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

CoolSculpting Results and Scientific Studies

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The medical literature will state that there is about a 20 to 25 percent reduction in fat. We have seen this to be true in our office. We typically recommend more than one cycle per individual area. The fat cells are killed, so there should be permanent reduction.  It is still not a license to have a poor diet and not exercise as every fat cell cannot be eliminated.  the dead cells are taken up in the usual manner by the body's system, and eliminated.  Every patient is different, so best to get a consult from a certified, experienced CoolSculpt office. It is a very nice non surgical option, especially for those who cannot have post surgical downtime.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

CoolSculpting is FDA Cleared

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Coolsculpting is FDA cleared to eliminate fat. The lymphatic system is involved in processing the treated fat which is why we offer CoolSculpting in Raleigh NC includes a CoolSculpting Complete treatment that incorporates Vibrational therapy to help enhance the lymphatic system. 

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Coolsculpting results

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In theory, the fat that is destroyed by Coolsculpting technique is not reproduced and thus is permanently removed.

Steven Hacker, MD
West Palm Beach Dermatologic Surgeon

Visit the manufactures’ website (Zeltiq®) to view the associated studies

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Dear Confused,

I’m sorry you’re having difficulty in your research, but I’m pleased to hear that you’re doing your part in ensuring it’s an appropriate procedure for your cosmetic needs.  In regards to your study quote, I believe they are stipulating that long-term results have not yet been comprehensively studied as CoolSculpting® is a relatively new treatment, introduced to American consumers only a year ago.  Like liposuction, CoolSculpting® does permanently destroy the targeted, unwanted fat cells; however, the remaining fat cells still maintain their ability to expand with weight gain.  Additionally, the patients most suited for CoolSculpting® are those with very small, isolated areas of diet and exercise resistant fat on the abdomen and/or flanks.   I encourage you to visit the manufactures’ website (Zeltiq®) to view the studies associated directly with CoolSculpting® for more detail on your elimination question.

C. Edwin Pittman, MD
Athens Plastic Surgeon

CoolSculpting Results

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Thank you for your question. Typically, each CoolSculpting treatment results in a noticeable reduction of fat in the treated area. After the initial treatment is complete, you can attain further reductions with additional treatments, resulting in even more fat loss. Some patients find that just one treatment fully addresses their goals. You and your doctor will discuss and design a plan that suits you best.
You may start to see changes as quickly as three weeks after your treatment, and will experience the most dramatic results after two months. But your body will still flush out fat cells and continues doing so for up to four to six months after treatment.
When you have your CoolSculpting treatment, the affected fat cells will be eliminated. As long as you maintain your weight with your normal diet and exercise, your long-term results should remain stable.

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.