About CoolSculpting

By HighYa Staff

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.

History of CoolSculpting

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

During Treatment

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.

After Treatment

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).

Individual reviews on Coldsculpting.net and RealChickReviews also seemed positive, while Momdot.com’s author experienced only minimal results.

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’s Price

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.

» See Also: Considering Coolsculpting? Learn Its Effectiveness, Side Effects & Costs

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52 Consumer Reviews for CoolSculpting

Average Consumer Rating: 1.5
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 5 4 star: 0 3 star: 0 2 star: 5 1 star:  42
Bottom Line: 10% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 52
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  • 7 out 7 people found this review helpful

    What a waste

    • Fort Worth, TX,
    • Mar 6, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I went to the doctor to discuss options for my double chin. The doctor pushed CoolScupting because it was the "least expensive" option. I wish I had spent the money on the more expensive procedure. First off, the videos of people smiling during this procedure are BS. It is extremely painful. Since it was on my face it may have been worse. Think of having brain freeze for a solid hour. Then when the remove the apparatus, they have to massage the area which is excruciating. I wanted to punch the poor girl in the face and I am not a violent person. It has been almost 9 months and there is absolutely no difference. If you have a couple of grand and a high tolerance for pain, go for it. Otherwise, save up for surgery.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 8 out 8 people found this review helpful

    Did not work

    • Waukesha, WI,
    • Feb 20, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I had CoolSculpting done in Sussex, WI approximately two years ago. It was for my lower belly area. Saved a long time for the cost. Had two treatments of three each time across my belly (left side, front, and right side). I was in a lot of pain after the first treatment. They recommended a pain cream which didn't do anything. Came back for my second treatment of three again on my lower belly, and had horrible pain during the procedures. I didn't know if I'd make it through each hour. Two to three weeks afterwards, horrible pain. I had to contact their doctor for pain meds. And I usually have a high pain intolerance. My tummy area looks worse than before. They "all of a sudden" said I'd need four to six more treatments! I couldn't afford that and they were never upfront with me. I would never have agreed to do this if I'd have known. They told me I was in the 5% that this does not work on. Seriously! I would never recommend this to anyone. I wish I could turn back the clock and not have done this and saved myself over $4000!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 8 out 10 people found this review helpful

    Sorry, not for me.

    • Alabama,
    • Feb 16, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Not sure if it has changed but I had this very procedure done two years ago. I weigh 120 but had a couple of problem areas in my inner thighs and waist. It seemed to work almost immediately until about a week later when everything went back to looking exactly like it did before. I personally think it is a scam, sorry!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 9 out 9 people found this review helpful

    Did not work for me

    • Charleston, WV,
    • Feb 10, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    It appears from the reviews that CoolSculpting works for some, but it did not work for me. I did it two times on my lower abdomen and two times on my upper abdomen. I saw no difference and if anything my abdomen is bigger. The place I went was very professional and the technician was very nice and accommodating but the procedure just did not work. I weigh more than I want to weigh but on the charts I am not overweight. I just have a stomach after having four children. I am sorry to say I spend a lot of money with nothing to show for it. I hope it does work for others.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 9 out 9 people found this review helpful

    Waste of a lot of money!

    • New South Wales, Australia,
    • Feb 6, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    My boss who is a doctor and I had CoolSculpting last year and we were advised two treatments on the area. After the first treatment I was advised not to do it again - so I did another area. My boss had two treatments on one area. Neither of us saw any results and it was over $2000! Biggest waste of money - still upset by it. I put on 3 kgs which have now gone but told that was the reason I couldn't see results but still can't. Was promised something that wasn't delivered. They tried to show me before/after photos unless you had the right angle and magnifying glass you could see no difference! Don't do it!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 8 out 12 people found this review helpful

    Does not work

    • Cartersville, GA,
    • Jan 26, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I had loose skin from a pregnancy of twins. It sucks in your loose skin but does not make the skin go away. I wanted a less invasive way to get rid of like my skin, but the only way to do that is a tummy tuck. CoolSculpting is a joke and cost me money I could have used toward surgery.

    They looked and looked at before and after pics and had a very hard time finding any results. I had to send to someone else to try to find another difference. Save your money.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 14 out 15 people found this review helpful

    CoolSculpting does NOT work, even for the IDEAL candidate

    • Altamonte Springs, FL,
    • Jan 14, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was told I would be the IDEAL candidate for CoolSculpting. I had a normal BMI and I was within a few pounds of my goal weight. It was just the "stubborn fat" I wanted to get rid of. For the record, I do exercise (for a living, as in my JOB) and eat rather healthy. Needless to say, it does not work. I was told it could take a year to see results! It has been two and there have been none despite my efforts to continue exercising and eating better than ever! It's a scam and I do NOT recommend wasting your money!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 18 out 18 people found this review helpful

    Does not work!

    • New York,
    • Jan 9, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I can't believe this has actually been approved by FDA! It DOES NOT work! I've flushed $3995 down the drain. I was afraid of surgery and didn't do the tummy tuck and now I wish I had not wasted my money on CoolSculpting! ZERO STARS!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 28 out 28 people found this review helpful

    I should have done surgery

    • Tulsa, OK,
    • Dec 12, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I spent over ten thousand dollars on three sessions of CoolSculpting. I focused on my abdomen and under the chin. The results were minimal...if at all. I should have just taken the plunge and done surgery. The results would have been what I wanted at the same price, and in the end, the same amount of pain.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 11 out 22 people found this review helpful

    CoolSculping vs. liposuction

    • California,
    • Dec 10, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I am 140 pounds and I am 21 years old. Although I am not considered "fat," I have always struggled with body positivity, especially the stubborn fat on my stomach, no matter how hard I work out. I received liposuction back then in June of 2018, and now it is December of 2018 and my fat grew back. Honestly, I was quite disappointed with the outcome because I have been eating right and working out, yet I received the fat back and I could not figure out why. I went back to my doctors (where I received my lipo) and they said it was because I ate too much sugar, so I stopped eating sugar for a while...nope that was not it because I kept on getting fat!

    One day a CoolSculping ad came up, and at first, I thought it was a way to freeze fat, and eventually that fat will come back (un-freeze). I did some research on it and realized that the fat actually gets "washed out" of my body permanently. So I decided to give it a try. It worked magic. I saw a difference within the first week...

    Pros: My muscles are showing, and I can see, and feel, a difference!

    Cons: As I mentioned, your body gets "washed" the fat out. With that being said, your fat literally poops the fat, so consume a lot of water.

    It was finals week so I've been stress binge eating and not eating healthy at all, yet I can see a huge difference on my stomach. Also, drink a lot of water! Trust me, you'll need it!

    It's been two weeks and my stomach is still kind of numb (if you pinch it, it's actually kind of painful), but it's only the skin part, so it's toleratable.

    And as for my operation during the CoolSculping, others said it does not hurt at all, and I personally think that I have a very high pain tolerance, and the doctor did warn me that the first 10 minutes it might feel a little uncomfortable but after that, I shouldn't feel anything at all. Well, he was kind of right. After the first ten minutes, I did not feel anything at all. But the first ten minutes was painful. It felt like a leech was sucking on my skin.

    Ten minutes of pain = a flat stomach. Worth it.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 19 out 19 people found this review helpful

    Don't waste your money

    • Silver Spring, MD,
    • Dec 7, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I did CoolSculpting and had four sessions in one day. Two for my lower abs and two for the upper abs. I was in pain for weeks. I could barely stand up and walk. Anytime anyone touched my stomach I would be in so much pain. The compression garment they gave me was no help at all and kept riding up in the back because of the size of my butt.

    After three months I went back for my follow-up, they took pictures again and we reviewed them and noticed that nothing at all had changed. It looked like both sets of pictures were taken on the same day. I was disappointed, to say the least. Now I have a $2000 bill that I have to pay for a procedure that clearly doesn't work.

    Don't even waste your time with this procedure because you will be disappointed. The sales lady was so good, bragging about how it worked for her and she was back at work that afternoon. Those were all lies. Save your money and either do liposuction or something less invasive, but do not do CoolSculpting unless you love throwing away your money.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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