Does CoolSculpting or SculpSure have a risk of Fat embolism for the patient?

Is this possible since melted fat or dead fat cells being eliminated by the body can get into the bloodstream of veins or arteries causing a fat embolism?

Doctor Answers 8

Coolsculpting and risk

There is no risk of fat emboli in Coolsculpting.  Coolsculpting is a non-invasive method to reduce fat and is totally non-surgical.  Best, Dr. Green

New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Fat Embolism in Surgical and Non Surgical Fat Reduction

There is very little risk of fat embolism even with traditional liposuction and the non invasive options have no risk of this.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 196 reviews

CoolSculpting Risk of Fat Embolism

There have been no reported cases of fat embolism with CoolSculpting. The fat is broken down into microscopic particles too small to cause fat emboli.

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

CoolSculpt and fat embolism

 Good question.  When the fat cells are "stunned" by the cooling process, their breakdown elements are absorbed and excreted by normal mechanisms.  Fat embolism is not a reported consequence of the CoolSculpt and there has been a great deal of study on the mechanism of this approach to unwanted fatty tissue deposits.

Steven M. Lynch, MD
Albany Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews


I have never heard of Coolsculpting causing a fat embolism. Given the mechanism by which Coolsculpting works, I would have a hard time believing that it would be possible. 

Sanjiv Kayastha, MD
Albany Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

CoolSculpting and Fat Embolism

Good morning and thank you for a very interesting question.

To date there are no reports of fat embolism due to CoolSculpting. This makes sense because the fat cells that are frozen are cleared after they undergo breakdown and programmed cell death. All of this happens without damaging the blood vessels so the fat cells do not have a way to get into the blood stream to cause an embolism.

There is not as much evidence for SculpSure at this time, however it too uses technology that damages the fat (via heat) without damaging the surrounding skin or vessels. Therefore you would expect a similar safety profile.

CoolSculpting is an excellent and safe way to reduce pockets of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise. There are some relative and absolute contraindications for the procedure. I suggest you meet with a certified plastic surgeon with experience in CoolScultping and other fat reduction techniques so you can be offered the best overall treatment plan for your specific needs.

Good luck on your search.

Dr Nodwell

Trefor Nodwell, MD
Ottawa Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 11 reviews


Hello, and thank you for your question. It is in excellent question however, I do not believe there had been any case reports of this following a cool sculpting treatment. Based on the technology I do not believe it would be possible. I would recommend that you seek out a qualified board certified plastic surgeon if you are having problems or considering this procedure. Best of luck.

John J. O`Brien, Jr., MD
Saint Petersburg Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Fat embolism not shown in Coolsculpting

An embolism of any kind means it is inside the blood vessel in a large piece and moves with the blood flow,  coolsculpting freezes the fat externally without violating the skin so no blood vessels are cut or punctured to allow fat globules to enter.  The frozen fat cells are broken down and resorbed to allow for elimination as debris.  I am not aware of any reports of fat embolism or am I sure that there is anyway for it to occur.  I hope this helps. You can certainly review the coolsculpt website to get more information on this fascinating procedure.

Melinda Haws, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 45 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.