CoolSculpting - where do the frozen fat cells 'disappear' to?

When I asked this question during the consultation, I got the answer that the fat is excreted in through the waste system. Why is it that the area that I got treated (back fat area) shrunk but my legs & hips gained fat? My Mother also got this and found the same result-to the extent that she feels her clothes don't fit. Is it possible for the fat to be repositioned?

Doctor Answers 12

CoolSculpting - Fat Cells Naturally Eliminated

CoolSculpting safely destroys fat cells through a process called cryolipolysis ("freezing fat"), which are then naturally removed via the the body's lymphatic system. This process is gradual, which is why it can take a few months for the full effects of your treatments to become apparently, but the dead fats cells are permanently eliminated. Due to this permanent expulsion, no fat is repositioned; however, weight gain after the procedure may appear in other areas of the body. For our patients to maximize their CoolSculpting results, I recommend they combine their treatments with exercise and a proper diet.

Oak Brook Physician
4.2 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

CoolSculpting Removes Fat Permanently

CoolSculpting works by cooling fat cells until they begin dying. The process of fat cells dying and being removed from the body is gradual, and it can take months for the results to appear. The fat is not repositioned. Because fat cells are permanently removed by CoolSculpting, any weight gain after the procedure may show up in other areas of the body. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and a nutritious diet can help you enjoy your CoolSculpting results.

Kevin M. Johnson, MD, FACS
Spokane General Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Frozen Fat Cells Are Gone for Good

Thank you for this question. The short answer is that fat cells targeted during a CoolSculpting treatment are exposed to cold temperatures that trigger their death. As they die, the body removes them permanently through its natural metabolic process. Some fat cells remain in the treatment area, but many are destroyed and later flushed away. The cells do not move to another part of the body, but fat cells that remain can still enlarge if you gain weight. That is likely why you saw weight gain in other areas, and that is why it is important for patients to exercise and watch what they eat to maintain their CoolSculpting results for years.

Daryl K. Hoffman, MD
San Jose Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

CoolSculpting - where do the frozen fat cells 'disappear' to?

Thank you for your question. That is correct. The dead cells are eliminated from your body through your lymphatic system. You may feel that other areas look larger since the treatment areas have decreased in size. If you have concerns, speak with your chosen provider. 


Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 474 reviews

Fat cells

The fat cells that are destroyed by CoolSculpting are eliminated via the lymphatics. Other areas do not make more fat cells. Fat cell production is completed at puberty. Fat cells that remain after treatment as well as those elsewhere will enlarge when the patient takes in an excess of calories that the body does not use. These are stored in the remaining fat cells causing them to enlarge. Fat people do not have more fat cells, just bigger ones. Therefore to maintain your treatment results you must watch your weight. Gaining weight will cause you to lose the benefits of CoolSculpting. Best Wishes, Maurice Vick MD 

Destroying Fat Cells With CoolSculpt

Once the fat cells are destroyed their contents are removed through your lymphatic system.  CoolSculpting does not work as a weight loss program.  If you continue with your current life style, the treated areas will shrink (loose fat).  The fat will not distribute to another area unless you gain weight.  You may feel as though the other areas are larger, because the treated areas are smaller, giving you that appearance.  Your initial thought may have been that you only needed you back/hips/abdomen done, but now you're not satisfied with your legs and butt.  Those may be able to be treated as well.

Eric P. Bachelor, MD
Pleasanton Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 18 reviews


Coolscuplting destroys the fat cell through cryolipolysis. These fat cells are permanently destroyed. Therefore, they are eliminated via your body's lymphatic system. Because these fat cells are destroyed, they do not get stored at a different location in your body. They are consider waste and your body eliminates them as such. If you gain weight after coolsculpting, other areas will increase in size quicker than the areas that were coolsculpted due to the increased number of fat cells in the areas not coolsculpted. That is why it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle after the procedure.  

Lenore Sikorski, MD
Orange County Dermatologist
4.3 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Permanent Fat Removal

Hi and thank you for your question. 
During CoolSculpting the fat cells are permanently killed and they then are removed from the body thru the lymphatic system.  The fat is not redirected to another location on the body. 

Thank you and best of luck!

Peter J. Capizzi, MD
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

Fat Elimination

Fat cells are completely eliminated and do not travel to another part of the body. If weight is gained the area treated will not increase in size as much as other areas that were not treated with Coosculpting. 

Michael E. Kelly, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Coolsculpting and Fat Removal

Coolsculpting is a fabulous procedure for freezing the fat in a given area.  It will work amazingly well on your flanks or any other bulges of fat.  Please consult an expert.  Best, Dr. Green

Michele S. Green, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 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.