I had my love handles done two weeks ago. I am a male in my early 40s and weigh about 185 lbs. Couldn't get rid of the love handles no matter how much I exercised so I decided to seek some help through technology. My story has a lot of similarity to others:
* It is an uncomfortable feeling when the machine sucks in the fat and the initial cooling process (i.e. first 10 minutes) is not the most comfortable thing either. But neither the suction nor the cooling process "hurt". It is a bit hard to breath normally since half of your mid-section is sucked into a machine.
* My provider has 8 of these Coolsculping machines, so I had both love handles done at the same time. The idea of saving an hour sounded great. However, I would not do both at the same time again. The technician had a very difficult time attaching the second suction head to me due to my awkward body angle after the first suction head was placed. As such, the technician did not place the second suction head in the exact spot drawn by the doctor. I was not thrilled with the placement when I looked at my skin the next morning as it appeared that a troublesome pocket of fat was not targeted. So if I could do it over, I would do one side at a time to ensure perfect placement of the suction head, even though it will double the treatment time.
* I did not experience the pain that others felt when the technician massaged my fat right after the procedure. Yeah, it was uncomfortable, but it wasn't as painful as other posters have indicated (for me, at least).
* I had mild bruising for about 3 days.
* My sides were sore for the first week after the procedure, Probably a 3 on a scale of 1-10 for the first few days, which went down to a 2 for the next few days. No meds required. After a few days, my sides just felt numb. Weird feeling, but not painful.
* I am only 2 weeks post-procedure, so no results yet. Nor did I expect any. I will gladly post results in a couple months. Depending on results, I may post pictures, but I can assure you that I won't be screaming "Look at me!" by posting a full body shot (including my face and my junk) like the other poster did last week. Ha.
A few interesting things that I haven't seen in other postings:
* There are 3 heads for the machine. The large head is primarily used for the abdomen. The two smaller heads suck up the same amount of fat, but are shaped differently based on the treatment area.
* Don't hold your breath for a Groupon discount. The Zeltiq people are super, super smart regarding the licensing for Coolsculpting. Providers pay a fee for the Coolsculpting machine AND they pay a royalty fee of $250 PER TREATMENT to Zeltiq. Zeltiq built these machines so that virtually any part can be swapped out over time as new features/enhancements are made. For this royalty fee, Zeltiq assumes responsibility for maintaining and updating each machine when new features come out. That means that all providers will have the latest-and-greatest Coolsculpting machine, which is good for patients. But it also means that $250 of each treatment is going back to Zeltiq, so the profit level for the provider isn't as high as you might think. As an aside, the 8 machines at my provider were booked for the entire day so Zeltiq was making $2000 per hour in royalty fees. Impressive.
* Some of the reviews here regarding nerve pain spooked me. I asked my doc about post-procedure pain and he answered pretty directly. He said that most doctors were initially using too much suction, partly because they didn't know any better and partly out of fear that a "pop-off" would result in a higher royalty payment to Zeltiq. He also said that he has never had someone with nerve pain that had treatment on flanks/love handles. Some candidates that have the treatment on the abdominal area may experience this nerve pain because of the much higher concentration of nerve endings in the the abdominal area versus the flank area.
* I visited two providers for a consultation. Pricing was identical. I picked the second provider because they have done more of these procedures than virtually any other provider. And he could do the procedure on the same day as my consultation, so I could save some time.
* I asked both providers to walk me through the complete treatment process. They both said the same thing: the doctor marks the area and a technician actually performs the procedure. As long as the technician places the suction head on the doctor markings, then the machine does the rest. I was kinda expecting the doctor to play more of a role. Considering that my technician missed the doctor's marking on one of my flanks, I actually wish he would have come in to examine the placements. Not sure if others have had more "hands on" doctors or not. I will update as my mounds of fat *hopefully* dissolve over the next couple months.