What happens to the "frozen" fat after Cool Sculpting?

I had Cool Sculpting about 7 months ago. I had very bad bruising and lots of pain after the procedure and my abs are still numb. There have been no changes in my body shape except my Triglycerides are much higher. The doctor says "dangerously higher." Is this something Cool Sculpting will do? What happens to the fat that is "frozen?" How is the fat expelled from your body? I was told not to worry, it will get absorbed into the bloodstream. Is this correct?

Doctor Answers 13

What Happens To The Frozen Fat After CoolSculpting

When the fat cells are frozen and killed during a CoolSculpting treatment they are then cleaned up by your body's immune cells and ultimately eliminated from your body through urine. There are many studies that show that there is no effect of the CoolSculpting treatment on triglyceride levels, so I do not believe the treatment caused your elevated levels. 7 months is a long time to be numb after the treatment. Usually the numbness subsides after 2-4 weeks. I suggest you return to see your CoolSculpting provider for a follow up to make sure everything is ok. 

Sherman Oaks General Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

To answer patient question: What happens to the "frozen" fat after Cool Sculpting?

Numerous studies on both humans and animals have demonstrated that the frozen fat cells die and are then processed by specialized white blood cells and eventually eliminated from the body by the liver. Neither liver damage nor elevated cholesterol or triglyceride levels have been reported for patients who have had CoolSculpting.

Your experience has evidently been difficult, scary, and disappointing. I’m sorry for your trouble. Fortunately it is not typical and of course, I don’t have any details about your health, actual treatment, or post-treatment care. Neither liver damage nor elevated cholesterol or triglyceride levels have been reported in the peer-reviewed medical literature for patients who have had CoolSculpting, so as far as we know, CoolSculpting is not likely to have been the cause for your new health problem. To answer your question about how the fat is eliminated from your body, numerous studies on both humans and animals have demonstrated that the frozen fat cells die and are then processed by specialized white blood cells and eventually eliminated from the body by the liver.

Robert G. Fante, MD, FACS
Denver Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

What Happens to the Fat After CoolSculpting?

Thanks for your question. The fact that you are still having issues 7 months after your procedure is concerning and I would recommend that you either follow-up with your provider or see a board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon to make sure that everything is okay and to determine what can be done to minimize these concerns. CoolSculpting will not make the fat go away in one session – several sessions are needed in most to see the best results – were you told this in your consultation? If not, then you were not given the correct information. And why have you not had follow-up? This is not appropriate either.

And we know from very meticulous studies that were done to get the FDA clearance for this device, that the levels of triglycerides do not rise as a result of this procedure – so this is not normal either and may require a thorough work-up from your primary care physician to see that nothing else is going on with your body at this time.

Go see your CoolSculpting provider and go to your primary care doctor as well – get things taken care of.

Michael Gold, MD
Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

What happens to the fat after CoolSculpting?

Thank you for your question. The frozen fat after Coolsculpting is naturally absorbed and flushed away from the body. It doesn’t affect the lab value or organs in any way. One treatment freezes 25% of fat permanently and depending on your goal sometimes people may require few treatments to get more than 25 %. I would recommend consulting with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon to give the best treatment plan. I hope this helps!

Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, MD
Bay Area Dermatologist
3.9 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Where does the fat go after CoolSculpting?

Following the CoolSculpting procedure, the fat is gradually broken down and eliminated from your body through the same process is the fat in foods.  There are no significant measurable increases in fat breakdown products in the blood after CoolSculpting treatment.  This has been specifically and carefully studied

Brian Biesman, MD
Nashville Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Processing Fat Cells through body

Fat cells post coolsculpting will be processed by your body and be eliminated through urine. The process is painless and generally not noticeable.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

We Metabolize The Frozen Fat After CoolSculpting

CoolSculpting is a great technology that helps remove stubborn fat in those hard areas of your body by freezing the fat cells. Once your fat cells have been frozen, the cells are crystallized which eventually die off as we gradually metabolize and digest the cells back into our body. After this process, we naturally eliminate those fat cells to get the results you want. The great part about CoolSculpting is that this is a safe process, and does not hurt the outer layer of your skin.

Ariel Ostad, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

What happens to the "frozen" fat after Cool Sculpting?

CoolSculpting is a gentle and effective way to single out unwanted fat cells. These cells are crystallized or frozen which causes them to die. Over time, your body naturally processes and removes the dead cells.  Most people see a reduction of fat after a single treatment. You may start to see results as little as three weeks after treatment, though the most dramatic results tend to be apparent after about two months.  You should not be numb 7 months later.  I suggest you return to your CoolSculpting provider to be assessed, address your concerns and to make sure everything is ok.

Frank Lista, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 111 reviews

Frozen fat after CoolSculpting

CoolSculpting is a very effective way of permanently removing fat with out surgery. The fat is removed by a process of programmed cell death where the fat is released into the local treatment area, it is taken up by the inflammatory response of the immune system (hence the very firm swollen look and feel) and transported to the liver where it is excreted. I have not seen anyone be numb for 7 months. Usually it is less than three months. Elevated triglycerides are not seen after CoolSculpting so make sure your plastic surgeon and medical doctor are aware of the abnormal lab test. It may need to be retaken and treated if still elevated. Good luck

Robert Graper, MD
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

How the Body Metabolizes Dead Fat Cells

When cooling is applied to a normal fat cell, this causes the fat cell to freeze, damaging the cell membrane, causing the onset of apoptosis - programed cell death. The fat cells die in the first two to three days by apoptosis and begin to collapse. Macrophages digest and consume the dead fat cells and lipids within the cells. The dead fat cells and their contents are cleared to the lymphatic system. The body naturally processes the fat and eliminates the dead cells as waste.

Research have been done to prove that non-invasive cryolipolysis for subcutaneous fat reduction does not affect serum lipid levels or liver function tests. The body metabolizing dead fat cells is a very natural and slow process. The amount of lipid content being dumped into the body from CoolSculpting is as equivalent to eating two french-fries a day. Zeltiq did  study where 40 subjects treated on the flanks had their serum lipid levels and liver function tests measured at baseline and post treatment (1 day, 1 week, 4 weeks, 8 weeks, and 12 weeks) and no meaningful trends or changes were observed in cholesterol, triglycerides and liver.

Michael L. Workman, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 36 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.