Have my arms been victimized by poor placement of Coolsculpting applicators? (photos)

As you'll notice from before photos, arms were smooth, symmetrical & fairly toned but had about 25% extra fat, so CS seemed ideal for the little bulge on UPPER backs of my arms. Now 4 months post-CS there's a huge dent in what was my already-visible triceps & I'm now left with unsightly bulges in the very places I was trying to address! Have I been mutilated by a sadistic practitioner or was it an honest mistake? Is there a solution to be had or am I going to be stuck with lumpy arms forever?

Doctor Answers 10

CoolSculpting Victim?

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Thank you for your photos.  I am sorry to hear that you have had a bad experience with CoolSculpting.  It appears from your photos that the placement of the applicators may have been slightly off when your treatment was done.  I cannot say for sure whether this was intentional or not, but I like to think that no one would intentionally leave a patient with a poor result.  Fortunately, you may be able to smooth out the contour irregularity with the CoolMini applicator.  I would recommend going back to your original provider and consider getting a second opinion elsewhere.  Best of luck to you!

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Poor placement of coolsculpting

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Let me start by saying that I am sorry for your experience. By the picture it looks like they did not apply the applicator correctly. You might be able to improve the area by using coolmini. Please make sure you see someone who is skilled and board certified dermatologist. I wish you best of luck. Best, Dr.Green

Have my arms been victimized by poor placement of Coolsculpting applicators?

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Thank you for your question. So sorry to hear about your experience. It seems like the applicator many not have been placed in the correct area. I would recommend speaking to your treating physician or seeing a board certified plastic surgeon for a consultation. This way, you can explain your concerns, explore different options, and determine a treatment plan works for you. Regards,

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 518 reviews

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Unfortunately, incorrect placement of the applicator may lead to irregularities in some cases.

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Unfortunately, incorrect placement of the applicator may lead to irregularities in some cases. Luckily, it does not appear as though your arms are unfixable. For the small bulging area left over, a small applicator like CoolMini may be able to help. CoolSculpting for the arms is an off-label treatment, and it is highly important to only see a skilled, board-certified dermatologist who has experience with off-label uses for treatment of this area. If you are not comfortable going back to your original doctor, find a new dermatologist for a second opinion and in-person consultation to see what options you have to fix your arms.

Sabrina Fabi, MD
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 91 reviews


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That definitely looks like something that could be treated with cool mini.  The placement of the applicators is really important and certainly determines the result. 

Our technicians have attended CoolSculpting University- and that is something you can look for when reviewing possible providers.  

Melanie L. Petro, MD
Birmingham Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Have my arms been victimized by poor placement of Coolsculpting applicators?

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It's difficult to be certain but it appears that the applicators may have missed an area of the arms. I would return to the office where the treatments were performed. They might be able to treat the bulging areas with a small applicator if missed fat is the cause of what we see in the photos. Good luck.

Richard Chaffoo, MD, FACS, FICS
Triple Board Certified Plastic Surgeon 

Coolsculpting and Results versus Hi Definiton Liposuction

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Coolsculpting can cause irregularities if multiple applicators or treatments are not performed.  I suggest seeing an expert, you likely need hi definition liposuction with fat grafting for improvement.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 207 reviews

Poor results arm Coolsculpting

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I can see the divot in the upper arm. I think it is correctable using the new CoolMini, Thermi, or laser lipo. Don't give up hope, it should look better. I'm sure this wasn't intentionally done. The handpieces are not always perfect for everyone and it was either the wrong placement, wrong handpiece, or just need for further treatment that caused this.

Steven F. Weiner, MD
Panama City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

CoolSculpting The Arms

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Hi Dally. Sorry to hear about your CoolSculpting experience. The best thing to do is to compare standard before and after pictures side by side to determine what the issue could be. Incorrect applicator placement can have a lot to do with it. If the bulging area is fat then treatment with the CoolMini applicator or ThermiTight can be done to further improve the appearance. If you don't feel comfortable with your current provider then you should seek a second opinion. Hope this helps.

Michael A. Zadeh, MD, FACS
Sherman Oaks General Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Placement of coolsculpting and patient selection is very important

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I am sorry that you are experiencing this problem.  Ill placement or incorrect choice of applicators can lead to irregularities.  Thankfully, there are lots of options to improve your appearance from the current state.  Small liposuction or even Kybella injections at the superior aspect of the arm will reduce the transition and can smooth out the noted irregularity. 

Kyle Coleman, MD
New Orleans Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 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.