You’re feelin’ “good as hell” like Lizzo but also kinda peeved that all the dance workouts still haven’t blasted away the jiggly bits on your inner thighs.
First things first: You’re beautiful just the way you are. Second: It’s normal for some body parts to hang onto surface fat a little tighter, especially as you age.
And finally, if you’re here for the deets on getting CoolSculpted by a pro, we’ve got you.
CoolSculpting, aka cryolipolysis, ices away fat cells by freezing them to death. No scalpel required! During the procedure, a doc uses a special suction-like tool to quickly tug and freeze areas of fatty skin.
The cold kills up to 25 percent of fat cells, which gradually break down and disappear over several weeks. One early study even reported a 20 to 80 percent reduction in superficial fat (the jiggly layer just under the skin).
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says CoolSculpting is safe. It’s way less invasive than liposuction, and there’s no downtime. What’s not to love?
Even noninvasive procedures come with risks. Here are the most common issues with CoolSculpting:
1. This might sting a bit
It shouldn’t come as a shock, but deep-freezing your body parts can hurt. Super cold temps can cause stinging or aching on your belly, back, or “love handles” — in other words, all the most common spots targeted by CoolSculpting.
Some people feel mild pain immediately, but one study suggests delayed discomfort, about 2 weeks post-sculpt-sesh, is most common. In another study of 554 cryolipolysis appointments, patients reported that post-procedure discomfort faded away after 3 to 11 days.
2. Is that frost-nip or did you just get CoolSculpted?
CoolSculpting works by deep-freezing your cells, basically like frostbite. Unlike frostbite, CoolSculpting is safe. But sometimes people experience skin-tingling side effects similar to frostnip (frostbite’s little cousin), including:
- swelling or bruising
The good news? Symptoms usually go away within 2 weeks of treatment.
3. Pinching pains
The CoolSculpting experience involves your doc pinching rolls of fat between two cooling panels. For some folks, this causes a weird, uncomfortable tugging sensation.
The pinch/tug/pull dance goes on as long as the CoolSculpting session does — usually 1 to 2 hours. It’ll probably be annoying AF in sensitive areas (flanks, anybody?), but the feeling should stop immediately after the procedure.
4. Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH)… whaaaat?
PAH gets voted off the island as “most uncool CoolSculpting side effect.” Thankfully, it’s super rare.
Here’s the breakdown:
Paradoxical = surprising or unexpected
Adipose = fat
Hyperplasia = overgrowth
With PAH, your fat cells grow bigger instead of shrinking. This rare side effect is most common in men. Experts aren’t sure why it happens or which body parts are most at risk for PAH.
More research is needed, but one small study of seven patients with PAH reported that getting liposuction 6 to 9 months after CoolSculpting seemed to correct the issue.
CoolSculpting is safe and successful for most people hoping to reduce body fat, but there are exceptions to every rule. Extreme cold temps can cause complications for folks with underlying medical issues.
Opt out of CoolSculpting if you have one of these conditions:
- Cold agglutinin disease, a rare autoimmune disease
- Paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria, a very rare autoimmune disorder
- Cryoglobulinemia, which causes your blood to clump in cold temperatures
If you’re considering CoolSculpting, remember that it’s always a good idea to check with your healthcare provider before scheduling a cosmetic procedure. You can chat about potential side effects or complications.
Another heads-up: CoolSculpting isn’t an effective treatment for those with obesity or higher amounts of visceral fat, the type that accumulates deeper in your body and sits on top of your abdominal organs.
CoolSculpting works best for small pockets of excess fat that won’t GTFO even with exercise and diet changes.
For most patients, 2-3 CoolSculpting sessions will be needed to see a result. That’s because it can only freeze a few millimeters of fat through the skin at a time. Because of this, when you add up the total cost of 2-3 possible sessions of CoolSculpting, the cost becomes comparable to traditional liposuction.
The cost per session of CoolSulpting on average is $1400, and 3 sessions will run over $5,000
CoolSculpting can help you lose stubborn fat without going under the knife. The recovery time is much faster than that of liposuction, another fat-loss treatment, and most side effects disappear after a couple of weeks.
Full results can take a few months since your body takes time to eliminate frozen fat cells.
It’s important to check with your healthcare provider before scheduling CoolSculpting. It can cause severe complications for people with certain medical conditions. Safety first!