During Coolsculpting, do the fat cells die during the procedure, or in the weeks after?

Quick question regarding Coolsculpting: do the fat cells die DURING the procedure, immediately after the procedure, or in the days/weeks after the procedure? Thanks!

Doctor Answers 11

Worth the wait...

During the in-office treatment process the fat cells crystalize, then the cells will then die through a natural programmed death in the following 2-3 days. These dead cells are cleared through your lymphatic system and the liver where it is processed as waste. Studies conclude no significant rise in your cholesterol levels and can be the equivalent to eating only 1 French fry a day for the liver process. The post-procedure manual massage plays a large role in the crystallized fat cells and increases treatment efficacy. Coolsculpting results may be seen as early as 3 weeks and the most dramatic contouring seen in 3 months. So even though the fat cells die early in the first few days the results you will see and love will take weeks. Coolsculpting results are worth the wait!


Bentonville Dermatologist
3.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

CoolSculpting leading to fat cell death

CoolSculpting has FDA approval for fat reduction since 2010. CoolSculpting freezes the fat cells. The fat cells die via a process called apoptosis, (programmed cell death). The number of fat cells are therefore reduced. The body will take these cells up, process them and excrete them, just as any other cell. Yes, the remnants are filtered through the liver, and then excreted eventually via stool.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

CoolSculpting Fat Loss

Coolsculpting uses a method called cryolipolysis (fat freezing) to affect fat cells, and once the fat is frozen it goes through programmed cell death (apoptosis). This usually occurs a few days after your procedure and the process of elimination of the affected cells from your body generally takes about 3-4 months to complete. The studies show that patients achieve the best results from CoolSculpting after 3 months. Many patients will start to show some improvement after 3 weeks, but it is best to wait 3 - 4 months before considering the results as final. Also, comparing your before and after photographs will help you see the results yourself.

Steven Gabel, MD, FACS
Portland Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Coolsculpting process

During the in-office treatment process the fat cells crystalize, then the cells will thenbe eliminated in the following days. Results are typically visible within 3-4 weeks, sometimes more sometimes less.

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

Coolsculpting Technology

A Coolsculpting treatment uses a method called cryolipolysis (fat freezing) once the fat is frozen it goes through apoptosis (programmed cell death). This usually occurs a few days after your procedure and is aided by the immediate post treatment massage.

After fat cells die, your body naturally consumes the affected cells. The process of elimination of the affected cells from your body generally takes about 3-4 months to complete. Immediately after treatment you can be swollen for up to 2 weeks and many patients start seeing the initial improvement starting 3 weeks after their treatment.

A Coolsculpting treatment destructs about 20% of the fat in the treated area; sometimes multiple treatments in the same area are necessary for the best results.

It is best to consult with a Board Certified Dermatologist to see if this is the appropriate treatment for you.

Nissan Pilest, MD
Irvine Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Coolsculpting non-surgical liposuction

Coolsculpting will cause "apopotosis" of fat cells which are then naturally eliminated by the body. Results are typically visible within 3-4 weeks, sometimes more sometimes less.
Be careful, this applies to proper original Coolsculpting technology. There is an abundance of "Copy" machines which try to mimick Coolsculpting but have no effect and may even cause skin damage.
Coolsculpting in the original Zeltiq version is the only one that works safely.

Alexander Aslani, MD
Spain Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 262 reviews

CoolSculpting works by killing fat cells.

CoolSculpting works by killing fat cells.  Because fat cells are more susceptible to cold than skin or muscle it is only the fat cells that die when you treat an area like your abdomen or flanks.  The fat cells die over the next 2 to 3 days after the treatment and then they are slowly absorbed by the body.  Results can be seen as soon as 3 weeks but final results take 60 to 90 days to be seen.

Coolsculpting and fat reduction

Coolsculpting is a fabulous procedure that reduces fat in a bulge or treated area by 20 to 25% per treatment.  The fat is "frozen" and these cells die after the treatment. These fat cells do in fact die and are metabolized and excreted from your body over time. It is important to maintain a heathy diet and exercise or otherwise you will get new fat cells if you gain weight.  Coolsculpting is great procedure but it is not meant as a weight loss device. For the best results please contact a board certified physician with experience with coolsculpting.

Cool sculpting results are improved with post procedure massage

Massage of the treatment area with enhance the reduction in the fat layer.  A Plastic Surgeon who has this device can advise properly and explain all alternatives in clouding surgery.  Visit the Smart beauty Guide to find aPlastic Surgeon near you!

How Coolsculpting works

That is a great question. CoolSculpting was invented by two Harvard dermatologists. During the treatment the fat cells are cooled with a controlled protocol. This triggers apoptosis or programmed cell death which results in the death of some of the fat cells in the treated area. One can see about 20-25% reduction of the fat layer. It is VERY important to see someone that will properly evaluate and treat you as this makes all the difference. My recommendation is to go with a board certified physician with expertise in the procedure.

Omar Ibrahimi, MD, PhD
Stamford Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 25 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.