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 35

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

Coolsculpting targets fat cells.

As many have said, Coolsculpting really targets fat cells, there is no other tissue damage from this treatment. The results are very consistent, and if applied correctly for each patient the results should be very smooth. I have not seen any patients with any lumpiness. For best results 2 sessions are usually recommended and people who are in "good shape", and are candidates for Coolsculpting will have the most impressive results.
- Dr. P.

Kaleroy Papantoniou, MD, FAAD
Long Island Dermatologic 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 cool sculpting

There are no documented long term problems with cool sculpting that Zeltiq has disclosed to my knowledge. The treatments take down visible bulges so remember to go to a reputable location that assures you are a candidate to begin with or you can "Chase the bulge" is what I believe you may be referring to. Truly CS works best on clients with a BMI under 30, healthy height and weight with problem areas, not great for large volume reductions. Hope that helps!

Robert Heck, MD, FACS
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Slight depression in the tissue with Coolsculpting

Coolsculpting does not typically leave lumpy areas although that is why massage is important after the procedure.

There can be a small shallow indentation where the device was applied, and for that reason when the device is applied it should be placed where this would be to the patients/ advantage.  Meaning a slight indentation would improve the overall results.


 Your question is a good one.  The process of CoolSculpting allows the fat cells to be targeted by the freezing process and in so doing, it does not hurt the skin or blood vessels.  Pretty neat idea !  
 An interesting part of the treatment happens when the "suction" is removed from a treated area and the tissue looks like a big red lump !   Then the areas are massaged.  The swelling and color returns soon and then the process of the "stunned" fat cell resorption occurs and the products of this process are excreted as any other absorbed cells do.
 To date there are very few complications from this process.  It does not tend to dent and there are virtually no negative effects on the skin in the treated areas.

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 53 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
4.0 out of 5 stars 28 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
San Jose Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

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.

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.