CoolSculpting on under arms - is the pain & recovery similar to belly CoolSculpting?

I'm on Day 7 of my CoolSculpting treatment on my belly. Used CoolMax applicators. The numbness, tenderness, pain pings, and itching is uncomfortable but have been manageable with waist cincher, spanx, and lidocaine patch at night. I'm thinking about doing my underarms as well in a few weeks. Can the pain be the pain the same or worse than the CoolMax? Had one person say there is a large nerve under the arm so can be extremely painful during and after treatment. I know, everyone is different!

Doctor Answers 10

You may experience less discomfort from CoolSculpting® on the arms.

For CoolSculpting®, different applicators are used depending upon the location of the treatment area. Your stomach may have involved large volume reduction, which might be the reason for your discomfort, although it sounds like you are managing your situation well. A different, smaller applicator is used to treat the underarms, and people report experiencing less discomfort with CoolSculpting® in this location than on the stomach. Be sure to work with a certified CoolSculpting® Technician for optimal results.



Folsom Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Coolsculpting and the Arms

Coolsculpting works extremely well on the arms and I often combine Coolsculpting with Thermage for the best cosmetic results.  It hurts less than the abdomen but you may have some temporary numbness for a few weeks.  It is vital that you go to an expert for this advanced technique. Best, Dr. Green

Michele S. Green, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

CoolSculpting Pain

Our patients find tricep area treatments less uncomfortable than abdominal treatments, especially with the new treatment heads. Best Wishes, Maurice Vick MD

Maurice M. Vick, Jr., MD
Baton Rouge Urologist


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
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Coolsculpting for the arms

Patients have a much easier time with Coolsculpting for the arms than a large applicator on the belly.  Though you may have a hickey-like bruise on the back of the arms (tricep area), any discomfort is usual quite minimal.   Patients are very pleased with not only the fat and size reduction of the arms but the skin tightening as well. I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised how easy the arms are in comparison to the abdomen.  Good luck! 

Grant Stevens, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 145 reviews

Coolsculpting discomfort in the arms

First, I am assuming you're talking about the tricep area? Remember this area is off label but many centers still perform it. Secondly, the new cool advantage applicator is far more comfortable for clients that the traditional applicators that we had previously used. You may want to assure you're in a center who has purchased those. If you are literally talking under the arm and lateral to the breast I would not treat this area honestly. Hope that helps. Best of Luck 

Robert Heck, MD, FACS
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

CoolSculpting of Arms Recovery & Discomfort

You are right that everyone is different when it comes to discomfort during and after CoolSculpting. This also varies from person to person based on area treated. In general, the large CoolMax applicators are the most uncomfortable both before and after treatment. The only main difference is that sometimes the numbness during the arm treatments can extend down to the hands. Most people tolerate the treatment quite well. Hope this helps.

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

Coolsculpting for arms is not that uncomfortable

This area should be easier than the Coolmax for the belly. It is a smaller surface area. Most of the pain after the procedure has been in the belly. Occasionally I heard of a problem in the arms related to numbness of the nerve.

Steven F. Weiner, MD
Panama City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Knowing what you're in for with Coolsculpting for arms

Many people use coolsculpting on arms with good results, but you may have some discomfort. Keep in mind comfort levels can vary, but you will have an opportunity to have levels adjusted before treatment. Fore best results for the arms, I suggest considering liposuction, which in combination with non-invasive devices will give you the most contour and skin tightening. See an expert. Best, Dr. Emer

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 190 reviews

CoolSculpting Arms

What patients say that is discomforting about the underarms is that their arms feel numb and it is a weird feeling. Once the applicator is placed on with the suction, that's the opportunity to voice if it's painful. The applicator can be adjusted then before the treatment starts. 

Robert G. Aycock, MD, FACS
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 14 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.