What is the Recovery for Zeltiq Coolsculpting, and What Should One Expect?

 What is the recovery like, and what should one expect in terms of down time? Is Zeltiq Coolsculpting not as severe because it is non-surgical? Thank you

Doctor Answers 13

Coolsculpting Recovery

Bingo! That is exactly why you would like the Coolsculpting , since there is no down time, no pain, no
anesthesia. You can have it on your lunch hour

Birmingham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 10 reviews


Coolsculpting is an excellent form of non-invasive  fat reduction for the right patient. Some applicators take 1 or 2 hours but the new advantage applicators take only 35 minutes and have significantly less risk for delayed onset pain (especially in the abdomen). Results are seen at 2 months and typically 1-3 treatments will be necessary on each area to achieve ideal results. The number of treatments depends on the amount of fat there and the patient's goals.  There is not downtime and the results can be impressive in the right patient.  We also use the Zimmer Z-wave for improved patient comfort and added results. The best candidates are those who are in pretty good shape with areas of stubborn fat that won't go away no matter what. When compared to surgery, coolsculpting has little to no downtime.

My best,

Sheila Nazarian, MD, MMM

Beverly Hills, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Sheila S. Nazarian, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Coolsculpting Recovery

Recovering from Coolsculpt is much easier than recovering from lipo. While there is some discomfort, there are not limitations on your activity and you do not need to wear special compression garments.  Typically you can just go about your normal activities.  Everyone experiences pain differently and therefore you should know that some people may want to limit their workouts for several days - especially if the area treated is the abdomen. The inner and outer thighs, flanks and bra-fat areas seem to not affect activity levels as much.  Results are typically seen after about 3-4 weeks and continue to improve for up to about 3 months.  Some people experience a delayed onset pain that typically starts around day 4 or 5 and is like a burning sensation and is typically worse at night. This pain typically resolves in a few days and if you experience this pain, you should call you doctor and a prescription can provided to help you through this phase. 

Quenby Erickson, DO, FAAD, FACMS
Chicago Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

CoolSculpting Recovery

Hi, thank you for your question. There is no downtime associated with CoolSculpting. The procedure does not require anesthesia or any incisions. You may resume your daily activities after your treatment. Any mild discomfort you may have can be alleviated with ibuprofen.

Daniel Behroozan, MD, FAAD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon

Cool Sculpting recovery is as simple as getting up out of a chair or off your couch!

I believe it is a very simple recovery that can be done and you can be headed off to work, an appointment, a flight etc.... within minutes of finishing the treatment and getting dressed.

Body reshaping can be performed with a cannula that removes fat via liposuction or with noninvasive technology like Cool Sculpting. With Cool Sculpting there is no cannula inserted into your body. All treatments are performed on the surface from the outside in using technology that freezes the fat. Don’t hesitate to give us a call in Austin regarding a Body Reshaping Consult at the Upper Room. On our Facebook Page there is an Interview I recently did with KVUE, a local news station in Austin, that was picked by affiliates around the United States, including Miami. During the Interview we discussed the technology of Cool Sculpting as well as it application process.

Some discomfort but no real down-time

The recovery is typically quite minimal.
Coolsculpting is a noninvasive, nonsurgical procedure that has minimal to no recovery. Most patients can return to their normal activities immediately after the treatment. The treated area might look swollen, bruised and sore for a few days but patient do not need to take any time off from work to recover. To help with any discomfort after the treatment patients can take over the counter ibuprofen for the first couple of days.

Gregory Turowski, MD, PhD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Recovery time for CoolSculpting

CoolSculpting is advantageous because it is a nonsurgical and noninvasive fat reduction treatment that results in no downtime. The most common side effects post treatment are tenderness, swelling, numbness, itching, and sometimes bruising. These side effects usually resolve within several days up to a few weeks. Most people are able to resume their normal activities immediately with no disruption.

Steven H. Williams, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Recovery for CoolSculpting

Thank you for your question. CoolSculpting procedure has no "down time". You can go back to work, exercise, etc. immediately after the procedure.  Patients do feel achy, and may have some swelling and bruising for the first couple of weeks but these symptoms are self limiting.



Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,484 reviews

Zeltiq Coolsculpting recovery and side effects

Zeltiq is non-surgical which is one of the primary benefits of Zeltiq over other methods of fat reduction.

Side Effects:

Immediately after the procedure, the treated area may have mild to moderate tingling, numbness, and soreness.  Mild bruising is sometimes seen, but is uncommon.  The soreness may last for 2-3 days and feels like the muscle soreness you get after a round of intense exercise.  The tingling and numbness feels just like the sensation your skin has after intense cold exposure.  It lessens over time and is usually limited to 2-3 weeks.


There is virtually no recovery time required for Zeltiq because the discomfort is so minimal.  You can go back to work the same day.  I generally recommend that patients not exercise the day of the procedure.  After that, they can participate in whatever activity that they can tolerate.  Usually this means full activity within 2-3 days.

Narin (Joe) Apisarnthanarax, MD
Houston Dermatologist
4.5 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Back to work / play after Zeltiq CoolSculpting

Most patients feel fine enough to exercise the day after Zeltiq. There may be some soreness but not having had surgery there are less restrictions than if you had Liposuction.  Bruising is expected because of the suction so cosmetically keep that in mind if you plan to be in a bathing suit the first two to three weeks after the procedure (not all patients get bruising, and it may last for much less time but you want to be prepared for such a discoloration). Very few patients have so much discomfort or localized soreness that they limit their activities for a few weeks. Ibuprofen seems to help in these cases (but not to take before or during because it promotes bruising).

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 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.