What is the downtime after CoolSculpting or liposuction ? When can you go back to exercising?

Doctor Answers 11

Down Time after Cool Sculpting

It all depends on what you are doing. Cool sculpting has no medical limitations following treatments but if you have just 2 on the handles as opposed to 10 treatments including the tummy I might say something a little different. With the being said, cool sculpting is no down time. Liposuction can have a few weeks of down time but again, depends on where and how much you do! Best of Luck. 

Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Downtime and Exercising

Treatment with CoolSculpting has no downtime.  CoolSculpting is non-invasive and non-surgical.  There is little to no discomfort or bruising after treatment.  CoolSculpting offers many advantage over liposuction.  You can return to exercising same day as your CoolSculpting treatment.  Unlike liposuction, CoolSculpting requires no needles, no anesthetic, no bandages, no compression garment, and no restriction of activity.  Most patients return to their regular daily activities, including exercise, same day with little to no discomfort.  With CoolSculpting, you do not experience pain and discomfort that is inherent with surgical liposuction.

Tina B. West, MD
Washington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Coolsculpting vs liposuction

Thank you for your question. Liposuction and coolsculpting are both ways to address stubborn areas of fat. The great thing about coolsculpting is that there is no down time. You can go to the gym, go to movie, or travel right after a coolsculpting session. There is no downtime and no lifting restrictions. Even though liposuction has small incisions you still have to have anesthesia and you are not going to feel like doing anything the day after surgery. Typically after surgery you have lifting and activity restrictions. I hope that helps. Good luck.

Arun Rao, MD
Tucson Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 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.

My best,

Sheila Nazarian, MD, MMM

Beverly Hills, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Sheila S. Nazarian, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Timing of exertional activities following CoolSculpting and Liposuction Contouring

Dear wdonna:

While CoolSculpting and Liposuction provide fat reduction, they do so differently and with significantly different magnitudes of enhancement.

CoolSculpting is for more localized and smaller "butterstick" size reduction of fat using a cooling non-surgical technique. Up to 20% of the skin bulge fat which fits into the applicator will reduce in 6 to 12 weeks. You may be sore and rarely bruised but most patients return to full exertional activities within a day.

Liposuction is a fat reducing and larger contouring surgical procedure. I have estimated up to a 90% reduction of the sub-skin fat with a smoother, more contoured final appearance. There are small incisions which may or may not be sutured and the use of a compression garment for 4 to 6 weeks. The patient can expect significant discomfort or pain for days to a week or so and some drainage depending on the volume of fat removed. Most patients do not return to full exertion until the incisions have healed taking 3 to 6 weeks. 

The primary difference is that CoolSculpting is exceptional for its limited, non-surgical application. Liposuction in artistic and talented hands provides graceful to etched appearing contours surgically. 

Please consult with a experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who provides both to evaluate your desires and needs. All the best!

Dean P. Kane, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

No Downtime After Coolsculpting

Coolsculpting is a non-surgical treatment and requires no recovery time. You may resume your normal activities immediately after receiving Coolsculpting. Some patients might experience some swelling, tenderness and burning sensations. This may make exercising very uncomfortable. Please consult your physician.

Hardik Soni, MD
Summit Emergency Medicine Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Downtime after Coolsculpting is none

You can go right back to exercise immediately after getting Coolsculpting. There is no downtime what so ever. With liposuction, it is variable, depending on the extent of the surgery and the technique used. It could be up to 2 weeks.

Steven F. Weiner, MD
Panama City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

No Downtime!

One of the best things about cool sculpting is that it is truly a zero downtime procedure.  You can go from your treatment directly to the gym without failure of hurting yourself or your result.  Cool sculpting is the best nonsurgical option for fat removal, but make sure you are going to a plastic surgeon and not a spa.  I frequently find that patients can be treated more effectively and for less cost with liposuction, so make sure you're going to someone who can offer you that option, because you may save time and money.

Best of luck to you!

Nicholas Husni, MD, PhD, FACS
Cleveland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

CoolSculpting with minimal down time

Thanks for the great question. One of the great things about CoolScuplting is that there is literally no down time. Although you may be kind of sore with sensitive skin for the first few days after treatment, there really aren't any limitations on your activities. With liposuction, you will be much more sore after the procedure and should take it easy for the first 1-2 weeks after surgery. Best of luck!

~Dr. Sieber

Coolsculpting vs Liposuction

Coolsculpting and liposuction are both great options for fat removal. Coolsculpting is ideal for someone who works out regularly and eats healthy but just has some stubborn areas of fat on their body. The procedure is non-invasive, which means there are no needles and it can be done it just a few hours at an office setting. Liposuction is much more invasive and usually requires the patient to be under general anesthesia. The results are much more dramatic and will be seen much faster than the results from coolsculpting. In terms of downtime after Coolsculpting, you can expect a few days of soreness and some minor bruising and swelling. You can start working out again the next day if you’d like. Regarding your liposuction recovery, you will most likely be looking at 1-2 weeks of downtime and you want to wait at least a few weeks to a month before you start working out again. 

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.