35 Yr Old Female, 130 Lbs, 5'2" - Extreme Pain DURING Procedure - San Francisco, CA

I had the CoolSculpt today on my lower abdomen. ...

I had the CoolSculpt today on my lower abdomen. The physician used the large applicator, and I was prepared for an uncomfortable strong suction and freezing. Before today, I thought I had a high pain tolerance. She warned me that I would be uncomfortable until minute 7. Unfortunately, I was in extreme pain until minute 10. I have broken my collarbone (bone broke skin) and I have shattered my wrist. I've also had retinal detachment. I have had three surgeries to repair these problems. I've also had a laser burn my retina back onto my eyeball, and had surgery for that as well. I would say this procedure was as painful as the laser re-stitching the retina back onto my eyeball. (And No, you don't get an anaesthetic. You just sit there while a machine holds your eye open and a nurse holds your head in front of the laser.) Anyway, I was not expecting this procedure to be so painful.

During the initial freeze, my blood pressure dropped to 102/60. No joke. I felt like I was going to pass out. My heart beats were very irregular and slow. I asked the assistant (NP? PA?) to take my pulse and she took my blood pressure instead. Either way, I felt like I was going into shock.

The other extremely painful part was when they removed the device and the skin started to unfreeze. I was writhing in pain. It was absolute torture. The doctor stayed with me during the massage part. I could care less about the massage. The freezer burn feeling was excruciating. This procedure made getting a Brazilian wax feel like a walk in the park. There really is nothing like the pain I felt today during this voluntary procedure. I feel like an idiot for signing up for this!

I realize the pain is only just beginning. It seems a number of folks have post-procedure pain from day 3 or 4 through day 10. Of course, the doctor told me "I've never had any patient experience so much pain during the procedure, and I've been doing CoolSculpt for over a year." I made her write me a prescription for Vicodin, but now I realize I should have had it written for a different type of pain killer. I hate narcotics as they make me nauseous beyond belief. When I broke my collarbone, I refused any narcotics even after the surgery. But if the pain is as bad as it was during the procedure, I will resort to any med that will help.

I am wearing compression and I have a lot of compression gear so hopefully that will help in the days and weeks to come. I can't believe I am so vain that I subjected my beloved body to this!

6 Days Post Procedure - Trying to manage the pain

I am day 6 post coolsculpt. I had the treatment on day 0 Thursday. The first few days after the procedure were "OK" in that I was just a little tender. I didn't have any bruising. I have been wearing compression, as tight as possible, nonstop since the treatment to minimize swelling, and my swelling is minimal. However, on the evening of day 4, I started to get sharp, stabbing pains in the lower abdomen. These pains come and go. At times, they are excruciating. They wake me at night and they irritate me during the day. I am very uncomfortable and I cannot wait for these pains to subside. They are very common to the pain described by other reveiwers. Sometimes it feels like a mild cramping. Sometimes it feels like broken glass. Othertimes it feels like someone is dragging a razor blade along the inside of my skin I have a bottle of Vicodin ready for when the pain is unbearable. So far, all I've taken is Advil, Tylenol and a holistic nerve tonic, but honestly nothing makes a dent in this pain or discomfort. I feel lucky I can do my job, as demanding as it is. It is not a physical job, but I do have a lot of travel and flights.

A Plastic Surgeon Comes Clean on Coolsculpting

Wish I had read this before my treatment:

Published on May 13, 2014 by Farhad Rafizadeh


Do you do Coolsculpting ?
The short answer is, not yet and may be never.
This is offered as a non invasive fat reduction procedure, but the only non invasive part is that there is no skin incision. The skin and fat are sucked in a container. It is then cooled to freeze the fatty layer. This also freezes the nerves and causes terrible pain and electric shocks as the nerves attempt to recover.
Please let me explain why I am not ready to offer this procedure to my patients at this time. I primarily think about my patients well being and overall satisfaction. I could not be happy if I have one patient suffering from intractable pain after a procedure that is supposed to be non invasive. Most of these patients have to have these procedures repeated in small areas of their body and suffer every time. The procedure is done by a nurse or an aesthetician so it is very profitable to the practice. But when you add all the costs, the pain and each recovery time, of this supposedly non invasive procedure, liposuction is less expensive with less recovery time, less pain and suffering and overall better results.

There are several criteria that a procedure has to satisfy before I adopt it for my patients. I will try to enumerate them for you. I do not jump on a band wagon and offer the latest technology and procedure unless these criteria are met. I do this to protect my patients, have good long term results, reduce complications and side effects, and have happy patients at the end. Coolsculpting is a cool name. It could also be called frost biting which wouldn’t be so cool. It all depends where you set your standards. The criteria are as follows:

1) The new procedure has to produce the same results as the established procedure.
2) There should be less side effects and faster recovery.
3) The ratio of cost per results has to be favorable.
4) The long term results have to be known and superior.
5) I should be willing to offer this procedure to my closest friends and family or be willing to have it done on myself.

Coolsculpting satisfies non of these criteria. Starting from the bottom, I am not willing to undergo the procedure myself or offer it to my family or close friends. Cool Sculpting doesn’t satisfy the 4th criterium as it is still new and there are already patients suffering from long term pain after this procedure. I have never had a patient complaining of neuropathic pain needing Neurontine after a liposuction. You can go to the following link to see some of the discussions amongst patients who have had this procedure.


The amount of fat reduction that it can produce could be achieved with a small liposuction under local anesthesia in one session with more predictable results and less pain after the procedure. Cool Sculpting does not offer the same degree of precision than liposuction because it is a shot gun approach in an attempts to freeze a block of tissue. Despite its name, this procedure is less of a sculpting tool than liposuction. Freezing the fat causes fat necrosis which can be painful and has unknown consequences. If you like what you read please share.


8 Days Post Procedure - Ice Required 24/7

The pain has changed. It is no longer the Zappy nerve firings from days 4-7, it is now an obnoxious, unbearable, roaring ache. Thankfully the ice pack immediately (within 2 mintues) relieves any pain. I am no longer taking any OTC analgesics as the best solution is to tuck an ice pack between the compression garment and my lower abdomen. I don't use Ice per se, but the blue ice compresses from Walgreens that I purchased for my previous surgeries. It feels so soothing.

I should note I initially found a cold washcloth also works well. I suppose the nerve endings just need to feel something cold. Maybe the cold stimulus quiets the nerves by distracting them in some way.

12 days post-procedure - still on Ice 24/7

Once my ice pack warms up, the stabbing sensation returns and the only relief is a fresh cold pack. I cannot do my job at 100% when I require fresh ice every 90 minutes. Sleeping is the same. I awake to horrible pain every 90 minutes. Waiting for this pain to subside as it seems to on day 12-14.

Finally Pain Free

Hard to believe it took me 17 days after the procedure to finally be rid of the pain. I am now on day 20 and just itchy and swollen. Can't wait for everything to be normal again.
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

1 out of 5 stars Overall rating
4 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
4 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
3 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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