Compared to other fat loss treatments, CoolSculpting’s non-surgical cryolipolysis technology freezes fat cells and gets rid of them, without any recovery time. Because of this, it’s claimed to be the "world's #1 body contouring procedure" in use today!
But can CoolSculpting’s cooling treatment really eliminate fat and give you the results you’re after?
To help answer this, here we’ll cover exactly what CoolSculpting is, how it works, what you can expect during and after treatment, and a whole lot more!
First, let’s first begin with the back story.
CoolSculpting: From Popsicles To Fat Freezing
When it comes to science and medicine, it’s often the case that ordinary, everyday observations can lead to some of the biggest breakthroughs.
For example: did you know that CoolSculpting—a non-surgical, controlled-cooling treatment that freezes and eliminates unwanted fat—was developed because of popsicles?
Harvard doctors Dieter Manstein and R. Rox Anderson noticed that children who ate popsicles were more likely to get dimples. Why? Because the fat cells in their cheeks had been eliminated due to the repeated exposure to cold.
From there, the two doctors developed the cryolipolysis technology found in CoolSculpting (more in a moment), which is claimed to permanently eliminate fat cells around your thighs, love handles, and belly by freezing them. But unlike other procedures, CoolSculpting requires almost no down time and is completely non-invasive.
But CoolSculpting may not work for everyone, and like any other cosmetic procedure, you could end up disappointed if you don’t keep your expectations realistic. To help you decide if CoolSculpting is right for you, and to help you avoid potential frustration, we’ve found some answers to your most common questions and concerns.
Fat Loss vs. Weight Loss
Before going any further, it’s important to understand the difference between fat loss and weight loss. These terms are often used interchangeably, and it might make sense that if you lose fat, you’ll lose weight. But they’re not the same.
When you lose weight through dieting, you’re only reducing the size of your fat cells. They’re still there, so it’s possible for them to get bigger again, which can result in weight gain and an unsightly appearance.
CoolSculpting, on the other hand, selectively crystallizes, or freezes, fat cells directly below the surface of your skin. Then, over the course of weeks or months, your body naturally drains these fat cells from your body.
What does this mean? Since these fat cells are no longer present, they can’t swell at some point down the road, leading to weight gain and a flabbier physique.
While CoolSculpting might provide targeted fat loss around your thighs, love handles, and belly, it won’t provide much in the way of weight loss. When it comes to before and after pictures, the treatment’s website even notes, “Patients are within +/- 5 lbs of their original weight in their after photo unless otherwise noted.”
How does CoolSculpting accomplish this fat reduction?
CoolSculpting’s Cryolipolysis Technology
When undergoing a CoolSculpting procedure, your physician will begin by marking areas where treatment will occur. Then, they’ll place a thin, damp layer over your skin.
Once in place, they will turn on CoolSculpting’s handheld device. This features two metal plates (similar to a large flat iron for hair) that provide cooling to nearly 4 degrees Celsius, as well as suction to ensure it latches on properly.
After a pre-set cool down period, the CoolSculpting process begins and generally lasts about an hour. During this time, the treatment will crystallize the subcutaneous fat directly under your skin, without damaging the skin itself. Consequently, this causes an inflammatory response, which results in localized fat cell death.
Want to see for yourself exactly how the CoolSculpting procedure works? This is a great place to start.
During the process, you shouldn’t experience much (if any) discomfort, other than a coolness and perhaps a light pinching. You can read, watch videos, work on your laptop, or even take a nap.
Once the CoolSculpting treatment is complete, the doctor will remove the device. Underneath, you’ll likely notice some redness and swelling, which will gradually decrease over the next several minutes. However, you may continue experiencing numbness, bruising, tingling, swelling, and even some pain for several hours afterward.
In most instances though, you can go about your normal everyday activities as soon as you leave the office.
Your first CoolSculpting treatment is typically the most effective one, although your doctor may recommend follow up treatments. According to the available evidence, you’ll like start seeing results within a few days (once the inflammation has had time to subside), with full results in 6-12 weeks.
Since CoolSculpting and cryolipolysis are relatively new technologies though, long-term effectiveness and side effects are largely unknown.
Pretty cool, right? But even though cryolipolysis has a fair amount of evidence backing it up, does this mean it’s right for you?
The Ideal CoolSculpting Candidate
For the most part, do you eat right and exercise regularly (we all have our slip-ups now and again!)? Are you within 30 pounds of your ideal weight?
If so, but you just haven’t been able to lose stubborn fat around your belly, love handles, or thighs, then you might be a good candidate for CoolSculpting.
Basically, CoolSculpting is considered a non-surgical alternative to liposuction, and is aimed at removing diet and exercise-resistant fat that’s causing “noticeable bulges in certain areas.” It is not, however, considered a viable option for obese patients or those who are looking to lose weight.
Also, you shouldn’t undergo a CoolSculpting procedure if you suffer from cryoglobulinemia or paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria.
As always, be sure to consult with your doctor before deciding on any kind of cosmetic treatment. For more, CoolSculpting’s Am I a Candidate questionnaire can help you decide.
At least on paper, CoolSculpting seems like a logical choice if you want to get rid of fat in specific areas. In the real world though, what are customers saying about their experiences?
The CoolSculpting Patient Experience
If you search online for “CoolSculpting review,” you’ll receive thousands of results. To help you cut through the clutter, here’s what most of them appear to be saying.
Overall, CoolSculpting appears to have a positive online reputation. On RealSelf.com, 72% of users gave the treatment a thumbs up, citing positive results, little-to-no pain or discomfort, and the ability to quickly get back to normal life.
Those who didn’t recommend CoolSculpting claimed that it was expensive and didn’t provide adequate results, and nerve pain and other side effects (one person even claims to have suffered a pulmonary embolism).
Zeltiq Aesthetics, the company behind CoolSculpting, is based out of Pleasanton, CA. They had an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau at the time of our research, based on just 5 closed complaints (as of 8/25/15). Most of these referenced high prices and poor results.
Where does this leave you? Like any other cosmetic procedure, some patients will experience better results than others, and CoolSculpting is no different. Again, talk with your doctor about what you can realistically expect—just keep in mind that not even they can know exactly how your body will react to the treatment beforehand.
You can’t know how much value CoolSculpting will provide before you know what it costs, so let’s cover that next.
CoolSculpting is just technology; not the company who will be performing your procedure. And because every doctor’s office or cosmetic clinic can charge their own rate, what you’ll end up paying for your treatment can vary.
Given this, there weren’t any prices listed on the company’s website, although according to 81 physician responses on RealSelf, CoolSculpting procedures generally cost between $650 (standard applicator, smaller areas on petite women) and $1,800 (largest applicator, usually for the abdomen).
If your doctor recommends multiple treatments, they’ll often provide package discounts of up to 25%. Some practices even offer CoolSculpting Membership Programs for repeat customers!
We’ve covered a lot of territory in this review, so let’s wrap everything up in a nice, neat package. Should you give CoolSculpting a try?
Should You Use CoolSculpting’s “Big Freeze” for Fat Loss?
Considering the mounting evidence supporting cryolipolysis, as well as the mostly positive online patient reviews, CoolSculpting will likely provide some help in your battle of the bulge. It’s also about half as expensive as traditional liposuction, while remaining non-invasive.
This bulge, however, only references the fat around your belly, thighs, or love handle areas, but will not provide any kind of meaningful weight loss.
Ultimately, you’ll only know if CoolSculpting will work for you after undergoing a treatment, although your doctor can help you gain a much clearer picture of what to expect beforehand.
Then, once your CoolSculpting treatment is complete, be sure to come back to HighYa, leave a review, and tell the world about your experience!
3 out 3 people found this review helpful
One of the odd ones
I'm 47, and healthy. I weight train and trail run, and I eat a mostly vegan diet. I dropped 20 pounds in 1.5 years, but my tummy bulge wouldn't budge.
I researched CoolSculpting then decided to go for a consultation. The nurse spent time pinching my belly, and then I was told I was the perfect candidate. I signed up for a treatment.
The session was great. The nurse was knowledgeable, took great care, even though it hurt like hell, and kept saying how fantastic my abs were going to look. My bulge/fat entered the suction devices with no problem, which left me feeling excited that so much was going to be treated.
After eight weeks of soreness and swelling, ten weeks and more of numbness, and three months of waiting, I saw zero results. I went in for my check up, took the "after" photos, and even the nurse couldn't see any results. She explained that she would contact the management and have them give me a call.
Management called, alright. They explained that sometimes some people's fat is more stubborn than others and that a "smooth sculpting" session would do the trick. They offered me another treatment free of charge. This would involved plates as opposed to suctions, which would be less painful and no swelling. I had nothing to lose, so I agreed to make a second appointment.
When I arrived, I spoke with the nurse who told me that would have to use the suctions again on my flanks. That did not make me happy. The suctions hurts like hell, and the massage afterwards is worse. It was then I realized that I would just be wasting time and suffering major discomfort for something that probably wasn't going to work.
Then I spoke with a higher manager who offered me laser hair removal instead! No thanks. Now I'm waiting to see if I will be compensated for this $4,000 treatment, in which I plan to use on laser lipo.
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend
19 out 20 people found this review helpful
I have had three areas treated and have had no luck in seeing any kind of changes. My stomach area actually looks worse because the top suction cups made what they called "nodules" with my fat cells.
I went in for my before and after picture review, and it was very obvious that this treatment did not work on me. I spent $5,000 on these treatments and believe that something should be done besides me getting two calls from a nurse saying that Corporate said nothing is going to be done.
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend
22 out 23 people found this review helpful
$3600 later and hernia surgery, not only did CoolSculpting not work, but in order to do the procedure you had to sign a consent form saying a hernia could result, which actually happened. CoolSculpting did not make a difference in the belly fat at all and the experience was painful afterwards. I would NOT do this procedure nor recommend it to anyone.
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend