Post coolsculpting, is the treated area supposed to be considerably firmer than before the treatment?

I'm 2 days post Coolsculpting treatment for love handles and lower abdomen. There is some bruising and tenderness, which seemed expected and normal. What I didn't expect was the treated fatty areas to become very firm. Previously the treated regions had a typically gelatinous fatty pliability. Now the areas have the firmness of a thick foam product, almost a 'Nerf' football material. Is this normal?

Doctor Answers 7

2 Days after Coolsculpting

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What you're describing 2 days after your Coolsculpting procedure is totally normal and temporary.  After the procedure you may experience bruising, swelling (firmness), numbness, tingling, soreness.  These things will all resolve.  No worries.  

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 152 reviews

CoolSculpting Side Effects

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You may just have some swelling in the area, which is normal.  If this worsens over the next few weeks, then consult with your provider.  The side affects usually gradually resolve themselves.  If the areas remain firm after the 3 months, have your physician check you for PAH. 


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Coolsculpting is an excellent form of non-invasive  fat reduction for the right patient. Some applicators take 1 or 2 hours but the new advantage applicators take only 35 minutes and have significantly less risk for delayed onset pain (especially in the abdomen). Results are seen at 2 months and typically 1-3 treatments will be necessary on each area to achieve ideal results. The number of treatments depends on the amount of fat there and the patient's goals.  There is not downtime and the results can be impressive in the right patient.  We also use the Zimmer Z-wave for improved patient comfort and added results. The best candidates are those who are in pretty good shape with areas of stubborn fat that won't go away no matter what. After coolsculpting, it is normal to feel like this due t the swelling, bruising, ect.)

My best,

Sheila Nazarian, MD, MMM

Beverly Hills, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

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

CoolSculpting Recovery

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After treatment with CoolSculpting, patients can experience bruising, soreness, and swelling of the treatment areas. The initial swelling after the procedure will result in firmness of the areas, but this will subside. Over the few couple months, patients see a gradual reduction in the thickness of fat of the treated zones. Most patients see the most dramatic results after 1-3 months. Remember to communicate any concerns as you are recovering from the treatment to your board-certified plastic surgeon. Good luck and congratulations on your procedure!

Tom S. Liu, MD, MBA
Los Gatos Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

CoolSculpting Swelling and Bruising -- Use Cellutone/Z Wave After and Venus Legacy / Vanqish

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To improve the induration or swelling post coolsculpting it is essential to do z wave, and exilis with cellutone or z wave. I suggest you follow treatment with VANQUISH as well to get more than a 15-20% improvement.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 207 reviews

Firmness After CoolSculpting

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There will be some firmness in the treated areas after CoolSculpting. This is normal and will resolve on its own, usually after an average of about 2 weeks. If there is any concern please contact your treating physician. Best wishes.

Michael A. Zadeh, MD, FACS
Sherman Oaks General Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

CoolScuplting Recovery

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The firmness is a combination of swelling and bruising both of which are normal after CoolSculpting.  With the bruising you described there will be more associated swelling.  Also, there can be a lot variability in these symptoms between different people and even between different treatments in the same person.  As long as every thing is slowly moving in the right direction, patience is the best answer.

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.