Who is Qualified to Operate the Coolsculpting Machine? Should It Be Only a Doctor?

Who is Qualified to Operate the Coolsculpting Machine? Should It Be Only a Doctor?

Doctor Answers 14

Certification of CoolSculpting training

Doctors do not need to be the ones who apply the applicator and do the treatment. In our NYC practice, we, as many others, have taken extra effort to become certified by Zeltiq to perform CoolSculpting. The medical assistants are trained well and supervision is provided by the physician.  As the physician of the patient, I, or another physician, see the patient in consultation and determine if the patient is a candidate for the procedure and discuss the treatment and its consequences, along with its risks, and measure the patient for which applicator is fits best per area to be treated and mark the exact site upon which the applicator is to be placed. In this way, any of my assistants can apply the CoolSculpting applcator.

Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Initial Evaluation by a Surgeon Is Best

Thank you for your question. In order to operate a CoolSculpting applicator in a treatment setting, you must first be certified by ZELTIQ, the manufacturer. Many practices, including mine, have a CoolSculpting Specialist on staff who has been trained by ZELTIQ and performs the actual treatment session. This meets the FDA requirements of operating a Class II medical device under a physician's supervision. I also firmly believe that every potential CoolSculpting patient should be examined by a board-certified plastic surgeon before treatment. He or she can affirm that the patient is a good candidate for the procedure and develop the treatment plan that will result in the best body contouring results.

Richard Chaffoo, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Coolsculpting provider qualification

I was the first plastic surgeon in the Houston area to bring on Coolsculpting.  I would say with any device, there is a learning curve.  Both in terms of knowing what the limitations of the device is, and gaining experience if this is something that can be delegated within a physician practice.
I have found in my own practice that when I delegated completely, the results were more inconsistent.  Today I am involved in every consult and draw out the treatment plan for every patient prior to their treatment.  I still do many of the treatments myself depending on my schedule, but I do have a team that supports me. 
I would be weary of going to place where you don't see a physician or where the surgeon is not an expert in body contouring.

Certified CoolSculpting Providers

Kudos to you for asking who specifically performs a cosmetic procedure -- you are being a proactive patient. The company that makes CoolSculpting, Zeltiq, provides practices with extensive training as part of a certification process that ensures consistency. CoolSculpting University is a comprehensive, 2-day program that includes intensive, one-on-one training. CoolSculpting is typically offered by plastic surgery and dermatology practices, where trained, qualified members of the medical staff may perform the procedure. It is safe for physician assistants, nurses, aestheticians, and others to perform the procedure if they are certified, but it is wise to also be sure that a physician is on hand.

Daryl K. Hoffman, MD
San Jose Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Coolscultpting and Certification of Training

Coolsculpting certified practices receive special training with hours of supervision from the company.  I personally believe that the physician should evaluate all new coolsculpting patients.  There is a learning curve to this procedure and nurses can perform this procedure in a doctor's office if they are properly trained and supervised by a physician.  Please be certain to consult a board certified dermatologist with expertise in coolsculpting for the best cosmetic results.

Qualification to Operate the Coolsculpting Machine

Coolsculpting is a class 2 device which requires that any one working with the machine to be under physician supervision. Unfortunately, physician supervision varies from state to state, and applied differently in each area. I believe that it is my responsibility to be hands on in charge of each phase of the process from examination, consultation, marking, treatment, and post operative care. I will utilize trained people but they need to meet my quality standards. It is important to constantly review your standards to determine if there ways to increase the efficacy, safety, and comfort of the procedure for patients.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

CoolSculpting Can Be Operated By Healthcare Providers - Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, or Physician Assistants

                  Coolsculpting is usually performed by a healthcare provider who is under the supervision of a physician. This includes nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants who manage the coolsculpting machinery and apply applicator heads.

                  Decisions regarding patient selection and formulation of a treatment plan are made by the supervising physician. This physician would perform a comprehensive evaluation on the patient before proceeding with intervention. This approach ensures appropriate patient selection and optimizes results.

                  It’s important to understand that coolsculpting may not necessarily be the best choice for some patients. It’s therefore important, to see a physician who is familiar with the complete range of therapeutic options. 

CoolSculpting Treatments

CoolSculpting can only be performed in the office of physicians with physician supervision. The treatment can be performed by technicians with proper training. Highly trained and experienced technicians are important as the procedure is technique dependent. Nurse practitioners and PA's may, if needed write prescriptions for medications. On rare occasions, a patient will have discomfort that can be treated with a prescription of Neurontin. However, most patients fdo very well wearing the compression garment our office provides every person as part of our CoolSculpting Complete package. We have also noted that arnica montana, a homeopathic remedy that helps with bruising and swelling after surgical procedures can help people with comfort following a CoolSculpting Complete treatment. 

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 98 reviews

Coolsculpting Center of Excellence

We suggest you find a Coolsculpting Center of Excellence. This means that the physician has undergone rigorous training, testing, and treated numerous patients. This is probably the best way to find a Coolsculpting center.

Steven Hacker, MD
West Palm Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Training for performing Coolsculpting Procedure

Thank you for your question.

Zeltiq will only sell this machine to medical doctors but they will come in and train the staff to perform the procedure.  The doctor and staff will go through training (written as well as practical/ hands on) prior to being able to perform the procedure.

I examine all potential patients in my practice to determine if they are a good candidate for the procedure and then either myself or my staff will administer the procedure once the patient decides to return for treatment.


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.