What are the side effects of Coolsculpting?

What are the side effects of colls culpting ? I heard about stabbing pain after the procedure for a week. How bad is it? is Tylenol enough for that or need something stonger? How about numbness? Is it going away or permanent?

Doctor Answers 12

Coolsculpting side effects

Patients will typically see a 25% reduction in fat cells in the area treated with Coolsculpting by Zeltiq. Side effects after Coolsculpting include firmness, redness, bruising, swelling, numbness, muscle aches, itching and mild pain at the treatment area. These side effects are not permanent and can last anywhere from 1-8 weeks depending on the patient. Patients find it helpful to wear a compression garment over the treated area to help with swelling and muscle aches. In some cases, patients develop “late-onset type pain” which develops days to weeks following treatment. Consult with your physician if you experience severe pain after Coolsculpting.


New York Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

CoolScultping Side Effects

Although CoolSculpting is noninvasive, you can experience some side effects such as swelling, a dull itch, and numbness around the treatment area. Most patients have found that these symptoms subside about a week or two post procedure. 

Side effects of coolsculpting

There are very minimal side effects with cool sculpting.  The most common ones are redness, swelling, and bruising.  occasionally someone will have some delayed onset of pain around day 2 or 3 after the treatment.  Pain medication can always be prescribed if necessary, but that is a very rare exception.  Its a fabulous treatment with almost no down time and great results.  good luck!

Brent Birely, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

CoolSculpting is a very safe procedure

Side effects are quite uncommon with CoolSculpting.  Some patients will have temporary bruising, tenderness, or numbness after the procedure that resolves within days.  The soreness after CoolSculpting rarely requires anything stronger than Ibuprofen or Tylenol.

Jill C. Fichtel, MD
Columbus Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

CooSculpting Pain

Dear lpusztai:

Side effects to CoolSculpting (CS) include a range of discomfort and pain. These include:
  • no discomfort 
  • low-grade discomfort 
  • limited and temporary cramps
  • limited pain
  • prolonged pain
The vast majority of patients have little to no discomfort. Approximately a week following the procedure, as a CS patient myself, I had a deep low grade discomfort easily forgotten during the day and easily reduced with tylenol and ibuprofen. Very few patients do have abdominal muscle cramping pain which require a limited amount of a codeine medication. Only 1 patient of may 100's required a longer term dosing of anti-neuritis pain relief with Neurontin. 

A compression garment such as a Spanx or very firm skin compressing athletic "spandex" like clothing also helps to reduce the jiggling which may irritate and cause discomfort. 

All numbness has resolved once the superficial sensory nerves which are also "frozen" return to normal function. 

Please consult with a Certified CoolSculpting Specialist to properly inform you of the benefits and limitations of CoolSculpting. Consider a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon to review with you the many other options in localized fat reduction and larger area lipocontouring. 

I wish you well!

Dean P. Kane, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

CoolSculpting Side Effects

One of the biggest advantages of CoolSculpting is you can achieve a 20-25% fat reduction with minimal side effects.  The most common side effects are mild bruising, cramping, swelling, and numbness which occasionally last up to two weeks.  Rarely, patients experience a more intense nerve pain called late onset pain.  While uncomfortable, this side effect also resolves within a few weeks, and the resolution can be hastened with prescription medications.  I would recommend a consultation with an experienced CoolSculpting provider who can discuss all possible side effects in detail.  We treat patients every day with the procedure and find the vast majority of our patients tolerate the procedure extremely well.

Kent V. Hasen, MD
Naples Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Side effects of coolsculpting

Most patients have minimal discomfort after coolsculpting. It's commonly referred to as the type of soreness or muscle cramping you get with exercise or PMS and tolerated without medication or just ibuprofen (which is in line with my personal experience) Rarely patients have more significant discomfort requiring pain medicine like neurontin.  To reduce discomfort, I recommend wearing a compression garment like a Spanx immediately after treatment. It doesn't change the treatment recovery but does reduce discomfort from the 'jiggle factor'(movement triggering sensations) Spacing out treatments can also be helpful - one of my nurses had pain requiring medication after treatment with nine applicators over two days.  She's thrilled with her results and plans more treatment but we don't recommend so much done so quickly.

Everyone experiences some temporary changes in skin sensation in the treated area for a month or two. The freezing of tiny nerves in the treatment area causes some numbness which gradually goes away.

If you have severe discomfort or pain, do check with your physician - common things happen commonly and a coolsculpting patient could certainly have a coincidental appendicitis or ruptured ovarian cyst causing pain unrelated to the coolsculpting procedure.

I hope this answer was helpful.
Best wishes.

Heidi A. Waldorf, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Pain after coolsculpting

The pain you are referring to is late onset pain that can occur 3-5 days after the treatment. It is a nerve pain that is treated with neurontin and lido dermatologist patches. Tylenol is not enough. With that said, not everyone experiences this pain and it is self limiting. 
My best, 
Sheila Nazarian 

Sheila S. Nazarian, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Coolsculpting for fat reduction and side effects

Coolsculpting is a very safe procedure that can give amazing results when performed in a physician office setting with an experienced aesthetic dermatologist or plastic surgeon. The key for a good result is to be properly evaluated and in my office I personally evaluate each patient prior to treatment. The common side effects include bruising, swelling, numbness and soreness. A minority of patients develop pain syndrome which is characterized by the stabbing pain you describe. Our office has developed a protocol to medically manage this rare condition. The good news is that it is temporary and can last from a few days up to two weeks max. We discuss in detail the full range of side effects prior to treatment in our office with a informed consent. 

Omar Ibrahimi, MD, PhD
Stamford Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Side Effects of Coolsculpting

The side effects of Coolsculpting are bruising and some swelling and redness where the applicator was placed.  In some patients who have the abdominal area treated there is soreness, numbness, or pain for several days which subsides after a week.  Please consult a board certified dermatologist with expertise in Coolsculpting for the best results.

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.