Long-term Effects of Coolsculpting?

I'm seriously considering getting Coolsculpting done on my love handles and stomach. I've read up on it, but can someone explain to me why it only damages the fat cells and nothing else? And also, does it ever come out "lumpy?" I'm worried about long-term side effects. Also, are the results more dramatic or thinner people or those with more weight to remove? Thanks :)

Doctor Answers 31

Long Term Effects of CoolSculpting?

To date there are no long term negative effects of CoolSculpting.The reason it only damages fat cells is that fat cells will freeze at higher temperature than other tissues. The reason the other tissues such as skin, nerves and blood vessels are not frozen at these same temperatures are that they are water based.   The device carefully controls the cooling process so that the temperatures achieved are such that the only the fat will freeze but are above the freezing point of other tissues inside the applicator. Regarding your second question, CoolSculpting gives a very NATURAL looking reduction without issues of lumpiness nor hanging excess skin. Finally, the ideal patient is the one who is close to their ideal weight with moderate to small bulges.  However, that is not to say that the procedure does not work in larger individuals.  As with all procedures proper expectations are critical.  I have treated individuals who are less than ideal and they have been extemely gratified by their results.  One does have to ensure that they understand that complete elimination of their bulge will not happen and if desired multiple procedures can be performed for additional fat reduction.  Having accepted this, they are more than thrilled to produce undeniable results with one treatment that does not require any surgery, needles, anesthesia nor downtime!  


Long Island Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

The long-term effects of Coolsculpting

CoolSculpting is an FDA-cleared and patented procedure using a targeted cooling process that selectively targets and kills the fat cells underneath the skin.  CoolSculpting technology safely delivers precisely controlled cooling to gently and effectively target the fat cells underneath the skin. Only fat cells are damaged, leaving your healthy skin cells intact. The treated fat cells are crystallized (frozen), then die. Over time, your body naturally processes the fat and eliminates these dead cells. CoolSculpting is non-surgical, so typically you can return to a normal routine after the session is over.

Steven Gabel, MD, FACS
Portland Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Long-term Effects of Coolsculpting?

Thank you for your question. Coolsculpting permanently kills fat cells in the treated area.  Some patients have complained of small "lumps"  but it is rare and they eventually go away with some manual massage. Similar to liposuction the ideal candidates are thinner patients with stubborn smaller fatty pockets. There are no long-term problems associated with Coolsculpting. I recommend a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon. Best wishes.  

Brian C. Reuben, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

The freezing temperature of a fat cell is why coolsculpt only affects fat cells.

The freezing temperature of a fat cell is why coolsculpt only affects fat cells. The gel pad placed prior to the handpiece application protects the skin from freezing.  I have not personally seen irregularity after treatment. And I have done many ! Liposuction and some laser Lipo methods can result In irregularity and in skin laxity over time. Coolsculpt does not do this when applied correctly and with an aesthetic eye. The results are more dramatic for localized fat. The patients who are best candidates are not badly overweight. So all body types can have nice responses and the drama depends upon the localization of the fat .

Long-term Effects of Coolsculpting

I have been using coolsculpting in my practice for many years and have seen no long term side effects with this procedure.  The results that you can expect are 25% of a given area (bulge) reduced in the area treated.  This procedure is not a weight loss device and not meant for obese patients.  Coolsculpting is a very safe and highly effective non-invasive procedure.

CoolSculpting produces a reduction in fat cells that lasts

Hello and thank-you for your question.

CoolSculpting is a great, FDA-approved treatment for fat reduction of the abdomen and flanks. It can be used safely for off-label treatment of the upper arms, inner/outer thighs, bra-strap area and above the knees. The advance cooling technology selectively targets and eliminates fat cells gently and gradually without affecting the surrounding tissue-fat cells are more sensitive to cold than our skin, muscles, nerves, ect. Patients in our office have seen an average fat reduction of 20-25% with one treatment. Several treatments may be required.  I use the "treatment to transformation" method to achieve smooth contours.It takes about 2-3 months to get a general idea of the final results. The results are long-lasting as long as you maintain a stable weight through healthy lifestyle. I recommend scheduling a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon experienced in body contouring to determine if your an ideal candidate for CoolSculpting.


Best regards,
Andrew Lyos MD, FACS

Andrew T. Lyos, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Long-term Effects of Coolsculpting

The best part about CoolSculpting is that in just a few hours, it offers a permanent solution to your fat reduction without the downtime or discomfort of surgery. As long as patients maintain their weight through healthy diet and exercise, the results will be seen long-term. 

Louis P. Bucky, MD
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Why does cool sculpting work

Fat is more sensitive to cooling than other tissues. Fat turns solid (freezes) at a lower temperature than the water that is in the other cells. It is possible for the result to be lumpy. That is why you should look for someone with experience and good results.  

Daryl K. Hoffman, MD
Los Gatos Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Long-tern effects of Coolsculpting

Coolsculpting offers permanent fat cell reduction.  When done properly by a trained physician, I would say the chances of developing lumpiness is low - but possible.  I would make sure you feel confident in your provider's ability to assess and develop a customized plan for you.  We were the first plastic surgery practice in greater Houston to adopt Coolsculpting and I see patients before they have their treatment to ensure their suitability.

How CoolSculpting works.

CoolSculpting is the fastest growing and most pervasive FDA approved treatment for the noninvasive reduction of subcutaneous fat. In order to understand how the patented cryolipolysis process works to destroy fat without damaging skin, muscles, nerves, etc.. we must first understand that fat freezes at a warmer temperature than water. The majority of our bodies are made of water as we learned as children in science class this includes the structures mentioned above with the exception of fat which is lipid based. Imagine what happens when you put a container of chicken soup in the refrigerator. The fat separates and freezes at the surface. CoolSculpting is taking advantage of this same principle by taking the tissue into and applicator and then bringing down the temperature to one that freezes fat but not water. I have actually had the treatment myself and have been quite impressed with the results on my flanks as well as lower and upper abdomen. To speak to your question about lumpiness, it is imperative that you seek treatment from a provider that has attended CoolSculpting University as the results can be somewhat provider specific as applicator selection and placement can impact the results.

Paul Vitenas, Jr., MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 80 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.