If Coolsculpting eliminates fat cells in a specific are, would that person would have to gain it somewhere else? So confused.

Imagine a 5'5 woman, 125lbs for 20 years, who has maintained that weight at say 2200 cals a day with X activity level. If she has coolsulpting on her abs, and those fat cells vanish, and she keeps eating 2200 cals a day, it stands to reason SOME OTHER PART OF HER BODY is going to have to get fatter if her stomach can't "host" that fat, due to less fat cells in that location. Unless she decreases her calories forever, less fat cells in one area means other areas have to take over, wouldn't they?

Doctor Answers 13

CoolSculpting Won't Cause Fat Accumulation Elsewhere

The point to remember is that fat does not have a brain. Fat does not know to "go to other places because some fat cells were removed." The fat cells that are destroyed by either CoolSculpting or liposuction will not return. If you gain weight, the weight will be redistributed in all of the other fat cells in your body. If you are maintaining a steady weight at 2200 calories a day, then you will not gain weight if you remove fat cells. Your metabolism is the same — you are enlarging the fat cells and reducing them at the same rate even though you have fewer fat cells in your body. If you change your activity level or calorie intake or if your metabolism slows, then you will gain weight and all of the fat cells in your body will increase in size. Thanks for your question.

Coolsculpting is a body contouring procedure

Coolsculpting changes your body shape (just like liposuction). So, yes, you can still gain weight in the areas treated but you would gain proportionally throughout your body with your new shape.

David Rankin, MD
Jupiter Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Coolsculpting

Coosculpting uses technology that destroys fat cells by cooling them to a specific temperature that has been shown to target only the fat cells and not damage the skin or surrounding tissues.  The by products of the cells are then metabolized by the body and excreted, just like by products of the foods we eat.  Because the cells are destroyed, they can't "migrate" elsewhere and the result is a permanent reduction of fat in the treated area.  If you gain wait however, fat cells that remain in other areas of your body or in the area treated can still grow and store fat.  This is similar to having liposuction or other fat removal .  Once the Coolsculpting device freezes the cell, it dies and gets absorbed and that is why it takes several months to see the full improvement in the contour or bulge that was treated.  The device has been extensively studied to show that the fat doesn't accumulate elsewhere and that the treatment is completely safe, as far as fat migration.  It may take more than one treatment to completely flatten the area you are trying to treat and often we'll "stack" treatments on the same day to augment the result if needed and treat to areas at the same time, since we have 2 devices, to save patients time.  Have a consultation at an experienced facility where they can go through the process in detail with you.  Having had the device since FDA approval and having had the procedure myself, I can vouch that it's truly remarkable and very effective, unlike some of the other non invasive technologies out there that claim to destroy fat but are not actually FDA approved to do so.

Best of luck!

Joseph A. Eviatar, MD, FACS
New York Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

CoolsSculpting fat "transfer"?

Fat accumulation in specific areas is what drives people to technology like CoolSculpting. It's a fast way to do some sculpting that your own body genetically doesn't provide to your liking.

If you take in more calories than you burn (and age generally does affect metabolism which requires a shift to less calories or more activity) then you will see overall weight gain.

In that case you wouldn't create new fat cells - simply the fat cells you have would enlarge and they would enlarge wherever there are fat cells, not just in a specific area. So the idea that one other area would "take over" wouldn't apply.


Rebecca Fitzgerald, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

#bodycontouring #coolsculpting #weightloss

Dear Nutripea888

Thank you for your question!
The answer is NO, unless you gain weight! The fat in your body will be in equilibrium- so the Fat Cells that are eliminated - ARE GONE.  However, the remaining fat cells can grow if you consume more calories than you burn.

With Warm Regards

Trevor M Born MD

Trevor M. Born, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 107 reviews

CoolSculpting will not cause fat to develop elsewhere

CoolSculpting can effectively reduce areas of unwanted fat with lasting results. The process causes death of a given number of fat cells via controlled cold exposure, so the reduction is permanent. If the patient were to gain weight in the future, most likely all the areas of fatty tissue throughout the body will increase, but the areas treated with CoolSculpting will increase or bulge less because there are fewer fat cells in that particular location. 

Weight gain is not disproportionate after Coolsculpting

This "legend" is the same misguided thought with regard to liposuction.  Coolsculpting or liposuction does not remove all of the fat cells.  This is a given.  Fat cells are composed of free fatty acids, triglycerides, and cholesterol--all items in the blood stream.  Once fat cells are destroyed, the ones that remain in the area can accommodate these components. 

Peter J. Capizzi, MD
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Coolsculpting and fat reduction

Coolsculpting is a wonderful technology developed by two Harvard dermatologists to permanently reduce the number of fat cells in an area. If a patient has a stable weight beforehand and maintains their diet and exercise habits, then it is unlikely that additional fat will accumulate in other areas save for normal changes with aging and further slowing metabolism. 

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

Fat Calorie CoolSculpting Confusion

Hi Nutripea888:

Yes. You are correct and you have good understanding of 2 of the 3 components to fat balance. 
1. calories in
2. calories out, and for the third, 
3. genetics / metabolism. as we age, our metabolism changes. This for example includes genetic redistribution of fat with estrogen changes, i.e.,  menopause or cystic ovaries or surgical removal of ovaries. Thyroid and cortisol changes, glucagon and testosterone changes, human growth hormone and the list goes on. 

Some patients genetically redistribute to the visceral organs (internal fat), others to breast or butt...

Each CoolSculpting applicator reduces up to 20% of the fat within the bulge treated. That means 80% of the surviving fat cells can still enlarge with oil (fat). Liposuction done well can reduce 80-90% of the fat, so there is little to redistribute back to the original site. Most will go to the next genetically prone area if one of the 3 fat balancing components is not optimized. 

I hope this was helpful and reduced some confusion. All the best!

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

CoolSculpting permanently contours, no effect on weight.

CoolSculpting is like liposuction, it eliminates fat cells in isolated areas of unwanted fullness.  Even with significant contour improvements, the total amount of fat is not that much, often about one pound.  If you gain that one pound back, it will not go to just one site, but would be spread out evenly over your whole body.  So if your weight is unchanged, you're right, it must have gone somewhere, but one pound spread throughout your body is not noticeable. Look at some of the before & afters in the link below and you'll see CoolSculpting results that are like typical liposuction results.  Every patient's weight is noted, and most are unchanged or slightly higher, but that pound of redistributed fat cannot be seen in any of them.

Mario Loomis, MD
Middletown Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 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.