How Are the Dead Fat Cells Excreted by the Body After Cool Sculpting? Also Do They Cause Fat Emboli?

Doctor Answers 3

Fat Cells Removed by CoolSculpting

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Once the fat cells are destroyed (dead), the body recognizes that they are no longer needed and a gradual process occurs where the fat cells and fat material is cleared away. The fat cells are degraded by enzymes. The actual fat is transported through the lymphatics, and converted to energy just like the fat that you eat. It is no different than the fat that you consume in a meal. This is a natural process, and your body is already fully equipped to handle the destroyed fat cells and remove them as well as manage the fat that is released. This process is gradual and takes a few weeks to months, so a slow gradual improvement is noted. You may see this as soon as a month but it will continue to improve for up to about 3 months.


{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Injured fat cells undergo apoptosis - that is programmed cell death.  Basically, the injured fat cell sends a signal to the immune system.  During the 2-month post- treatment period after your cool sculpting, these injured fat cells undergo a controlled and programmed form of cell death, helped along by immune system cells.  The material from these cells is taken up and metabolized by the immune system cells.


Regarding fat emboli - this is a rare event reported with traditional large-cannula liposuction.  I am not aware of any such cases from cool sculpting.



Jay Zimmerman, MD
Walnut Creek Dermatologic Surgeon

CoolSculpting for fat loss and the removal of fat cells

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Once the fat cells die from Zeltiq's coolsculpting, the macrophages of the immune system consume them and distribute them. As there is no injury to the vascular system with CoolSculpting there isn't a mechanism of which I'm aware that a fat embolus would occur and I am not aware of such a report, unlike when abdominoplasty has been done at the same time as  liposuction.

The information provided in Dr. Shelton's answer is for educational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical advice.  The information provided should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultations with a qualified health professional who may be familiar with your individual medical needs

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 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.