Is Coolsculpting truly a good option?

I know that cheaper is not always better yet this is an alternative option to having surgery & being left w/ a scar. Does it truly work & what are the side effects, if any, especially for people such as myself w/ sensative skin?

Doctor Answers 18

CoolSculpting as an alternative to surgery

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
In the appropriate patient with localized pockets of stubborn fat, CoolSculpting is absolutely a non-invasive alternative to a surgical procedure such as liposuction. The key here is in the APPROPRIATE patient. I have had the procedure done myself and it works. Millions of people have been treated across the world and it works. What I would do is go to the CoolSculpting website and search for a certified CoolSculpting provider using the "Find A Provider" tool. I would schedule an in-person consultation which is the best way to determine if you are a good candidate for CoolSculpting. An honest CoolSculpting provider will tell you whether CoolSculpting or surgery is the better option for you. 

CoolSculpting as an option

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Thank you for the question. They are different modalities.  CoolSculpting can get a 25% reduction.  We have found it to be very effective for the love handles, abdomen, bra area, arms, thighs, neck, and other areas. We have found that treating the area twice usually improves the fat cell kill significantly.  Other physicians I have spoken to have found similar findings.  The fat cells die and are taken up by the normal cell disposal mechanisms of the body.  Liposuction is a surgical modality that is usually more dramatic, with a greater reduction. The fat cells are physically removed with liposuction.  Again, the CoolSculpting is non invasive, no surgery, no downtime.  As always, the modality should be appropriate to the individual patient.  Best to see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, who can evaluate for all modalities.

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


{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

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.

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

You might also like...

Non-Invasive Fat Reduction Really Does Work

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

There are now various methods available to eliminate small areas of stubborn fat that do not respond to diet and exercise. Not only are they less invasive than other techniques, such as surgery and liposuction, they can also be quite cost-effective. However, they generally only kill and eliminate up to about 25% of fat cells in a session, so you may require more than one treatment. CoolSculpting works by cryolipolysis(TM) – a patented technique that freezes fat cells without affecting surrounding tissue. Everybody responds differently to treatment, but common side effects include redness, soreness, sensation of cold or numbness, bruising and swelling. These generally resolve within hours to days, although some patients may take up to 2 weeks to heal completely. Full results from treatment are apparent within 3 to 4 months. Other noninvasive fat reduction techniques include Vanquish (uses radiofrequencies), Sculpsure (uses lasers) and UltraShape (uses ultrasound waves). Schedule a consult with a board-certified dermatologist to find out which non-invasive fat reduction technique is best for you.

Margaret Weiss, MD
Baltimore Dermatologic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

CoolSculpting Permanently Eliminates Stubborn Fat

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
We are truly fortunate to be living at a time where there are so many options available for treating stubborn areas of fat that will not respond to a healthy diet and exercise. If you have small areas, such as love handles, muffin top or bra bulge, then CoolSculpting is indeed a good alternative to surgery.  With that said it will only reduce 20-30 percent of fat in the treated area after a single session where surgery will offer a more significant reduction.  So it ultimately depend on how much fat you have and what your expectations are.  Coolsculpting has very little if any downtime and only minimal side effects such as redness, tingling, numbness and possible slight bruising or swelling. These generally resolve within hours to weeks. It takes about 3 to 4 months to see optimal results, as fat cells are frozen and killed during the procedure, and then must be eliminated by the body over time. Please see a board-certified dermatologist to find out if CoolSculpting is the right solution for you.

Sabrina Fabi, MD
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 91 reviews

CoolSculpting does absolutely work

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

CoolSculpting is a very reliable option for non invasive body contouring for the right person. It is important to have a consultation with an experienced provider to get the best results. There are very few side effects and limited to bruising, swelling, and temporary numbness. Less frequently there is risk of delayed onset pain which is decreased with the new cool advantage applicators. Ideal clients will experience the best results. 
All the best
Dr Soni

Hardik Soni, MD (not currently practicing)
Summit Emergency Medicine Physician

Is Coolsculpting truly a good option?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The most important considerations are how much fat you want to lose, how quickly you want to lose it, what you are willing to go through to do so, and of course, how much you are willing to spend. Non-invasive options like CS are appropriate for small, localized areas of fat, which are resistant to diet and exercise, and are great choices because they avoid all the effects of surgery, with little to no downtime, but will not give you as good of results as surgery. You should be seen by an experienced cosmetic surgeon, who can review all the treatment options with you, and help determine what is best for your particular body type. If you do choose to go non-invasive, I believe SculpSure is a better choice than CS - as it gives the same or better results in less than half the treatment time, with none of the side effects of CS, and can treat up to 4 areas in a single session, rather than just one at a time.

Craig Schwartz, DO
Leawood Vascular Surgeon
3.4 out of 5 stars 6 reviews


{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
CoolSculpting is a non-surgical, non-invasive way to lose areas of excess, stubborn fat. This technology targets and cools unwanted fat cells in the selected area to produce a decrease in fat.  By “freezing the fat”, a natural reduction of contour will result as the cells disintegrate over the following weeks.  No needles, no special diets, no supplements, no surgery and most importantly, no downtime. Some side effects are temporary numbness and soreness, and/or itchiness in the treated areas.

Brian S. Glatt, MD, FACS
Morristown Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Coolsculpting does work

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
People do lean to the cheaper and less invasive option when possible but there are some important things to know about this shortcut. It truly works but some people get better results than others. What I have found with my patients is that approximately 80% get visible results. About a 25% reduction in fat in the targeted areas.  With surgery you could potentially get better results but it comes with additional cost and recovery.  

Side effects are temporary numbness and soreness in the treated areas.  Other issues or anything major is unusual. 

Christopher J. Ewart, MD
Augusta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 46 reviews


{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
CS is a good option for selected patients.  Selection is the key, and liposuction or even surgery are better options for many patients with loose skin or firm or large areas of fatty deposits.  I would definitely recommend that you consult with an experienced plastic surgeon who can assess you and offer what option is best for you.

Jeffrey D. Wagner, MD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 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.