Does CoolSculpting last and what may cause fat to return to the area treated?

Doctor Answers 14

Does CoolSculpting last and what may cause fat to return to the area treated?


The fat cells removed by CoolSculpting are permanently destroyed. However, if you fain weight, the remaining fat cells can expand in any area. We recommend maintaining a stable weight for the best results. Regards,


Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 425 reviews

CoolSculpting Lasts

Yes, once the fat cells are dead and gone, they are gone for good. It is important to understand that you must keep a stable weight for your results to last.  If you gain weight, you will gain it in your remaining fat cells.  You will always have less fat cells in the area treated than you had before, so you may not gain the fat back in the treated area, but it could go to any other fat cells.  It is important to be as close to your goal weight as possible before doing any cosmetic treatments if you want the best results.  It is best to keep up good eating habits and exercise after your treatment.

Jeffrey Hartog, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Results Can Be Permanent

The results of CoolSculpting are permanent, in the sense that the fat cells targeted by the procedure are gone for good. Provided you maintain a healthy lifestyle, there's every reason to believe it will stay that way. Fat returning to the treated areas is unlikely, but is certainly possible if you adopt more sedentary and unhealthy habits in the future. For most people, though, the results of CoolSculpting offer patients motivation to stay in shape long after their procedures.

CoolSculpting Results Last When Paired With Healthy Habits

The CoolSculpting procedure works by lowering the temperature of fat cells through a patented process called cryolipolysis. This causes the cells to break down and be naturally flushed from the body. The reduction of fat cells is permanent. In other words, those fat cells won't return. However, the remaining fat cells can still expand, so it's important to maintain your results through exercise and a healthy diet.

Richard Chaffoo, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Long Lasting results with CoolScultping

CoolSculpting has long lasting results; like lipo suction, once the fat is removed from a specific area it is gone for good, however, should you gain weight the weight will gain in areas that have not been treated with CoolSculpting. Keep in mind that you will need an in person consultation to see if you are a good candidate and this is the right procedure for you. Typically 2-3 treatments, depending on the fat in the area, will be sufficient to get you the results you may be looking for along with diet and exercise. This is the best way to make the most out of your CoolSculpting treatments. 

Randolph Capone, MD, FACS
Baltimore Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

The results of CoolSculpting do last

Dear Margo:

If you have a treatment that eliminates fat cells, those cells will die and not return. When you gain weight, all the fat cells of your body get larger because they need to store more fat, and when you lose weight, they all get smaller. Without any treatment, you have a given number of fat cells at birth, and that number does not change throughout your lifetime (with the exception of someone who is severely obese, in which case the cells can increase in number), but with treatment, the number of cells in the treated area is permanently reduced. Those cells will not be replaced with new cells, and you will reduce the volume of fat in the area you treat. And you will put less fat on in the treated area with weight gain than you would have had you never had the treatment. Relative to the rest of your body, you will always have less fat in the treated area than you did before.

Now, it can appear that the fat has returned even when it hasn't, since there are factors that influence the amount of fat that will be stored in the fat cells in different areas of the body. For example, cortisol and insulin allow more fat to be stored in the fat cells around the waistline. So if you are severely stressed chronically, and/or eat foods that are digested very quickly often (foods with a high glycemic index, such as sugary desserts, white bread, rice, and potatoes), over time more fat may be stored around the organs in your midsection (visceral fat). If this happens, even though the layer of subcutaneous fat has fewer cells because of CoolSculpting, your tummy can protrude from deposition of fat much deeper, within the abdominal cavity.

This of course assumes that you have a treatment that allows the cells to enter apoptosis and die. There are treatments out there that only injure the cells or empty them of their fat, but when they recover they will take on fat again, and the fat reduction will only be temporary. #CoolSculpting does kill the fat cells, as does #Kybella.

I do hope this answers your questions.
All the best,
Dr. Clark

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

Treated Fat is Permanent

The fat cells that are destroyed by CoolSculpting are permanently removed from your body.  The fat cells that remain continue to perform their function of storing fat for energy.  As they store more fat, they enlarge to accommodate the excess.  Healthy diet and exercise will improve and maintain the results obtained by the CoolSculpt procedure.

Tina B. West, MD
Washington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Coolsculpting and Results versus Hi Definiton Liposuction

The results from coolsculpting are 20% as compared to liposuction/hi definition contouring that give more of an outcome in a single procedure. I suggest you see an expert for an evaluation.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 165 reviews

Does CoolSculpting last and what may cause fat to return to the area treated?

Thanks for your question and as always I recommend that you always consult with a board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon, as we know more about this procedure, about fat, and what best can be done to remove it and keep it away. CoolSculpting is a great procedure for fat removal and has become one of the most common procedures that are being done for fat reduction. As has been said, one can lose about 20-25% of the fat in the treated area, and since this procedure kills fat cells, the fat cells in this area will not come back. If you maintain your weight and do exercise, this should be permanent. Of course, with any procedure such as this, excess weight gain can cause new fat cells to emerge in that area, which, of course, we do not want.

Michael Gold, MD
Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Cool Sculpting and Return of Fat

Cool Sculpting permanently reduces the number of fat cells in the treated area. Best candidates for Cool Sculpt are those who maintain a healthy height and weight following treatment so that your results are maintained. If you gain weight after treatment the cells enlarge that you have, so maintaining healthy weight consistently is best. 

Timothy Treece, MD, FACS
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 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.