Liposuction has long been the most well-known fat reduction procedure, but today’s rapid technological advances are making other, newer options popular. One of these new fat reduction procedures is CoolSculpting, a nonsurgical procedure that uses cold temperatures to remove fat cells from the body.
CoolSculpting is an effective and noninvasive weight loss procedure, so it’s an ideal treatment for many patients. If you’re interested in CoolSculpting, you should know how it works, what the potential side effects are, and how much it costs.
Why More People Are Choosing CoolSculpting
Most people feel insecure about at least one area of their body, but they don’t want to undergo a painful and risky procedure to fix it. Sometimes, diet and exercise can’t get rid of stubborn pockets of fat – and you can’t spot-reduce fat with diet and exercise, and you can’t control how your body carries weight.
CoolSculpting was approved by the FDA in 2012, and it is now the most popular noninvasive fat reduction treatment according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons¹. CoolSculpting provides a new weight loss option for many people. You can choose which areas of your body you want to target, and you can get rid of fat that won’t go away naturally. The treatment only takes about an hour, and it doesn’t require any downtime for recovery.
How CoolSculpting Works
Many people have pockets of fat on their body they’d like to eliminate in a targeted way. Like liposuction, CoolSculpting directly targets these stubborn areas. However, CoolSculpting is a completely noninvasive procedure. It gets rid of fat cells by gently freezing them in a process called cryolipolysis.
During the treatment, the clinician uses an applicator on the skin above the fatty tissue to cool the fat cells. The cold temperatures will kill off fat cells but not other body cells, so the procedure is completely safe. Over the next few weeks or months, the body will naturally eliminate the dead fat cells. It can take up to six months for the full results to be noticeable.
CoolSculpting has a high success rate and usually decreases fat in the targeted areas by 20 to 25 percent, the CoolSculpting² website reports. The procedure only takes about an hour, and there’s no recovery time. You may feel intense cold temperatures around the treatment area for the first 10 minutes of the procedure, but the area will go numb quickly. Because CoolSculpting is noninvasive and doesn’t require anesthesia, you can go back to your daily activities as soon as you leave the doctor’s office.
It’s important to remember that CoolSculpting is not a weight loss procedure. You probably won’t lose more than a couple pounds of fat after the treatment. CoolSculpting is intended for people who are at or near their goal weight but struggle to get rid of the last pockets of fat.
Although most people are satisfied with their results, it’s possible to gain weight back after the procedure. To maintain your results, you have to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. If you overeat, the remaining fat cells in the targeted areas and the fat cells throughout the rest of your body will grow, which will reverse your progress.
CoolSculpting Side Effects
Although CoolSculpting is a safe and well-researched procedure, all cosmetic treatments have a risk of side effects. Some of the most common side effects include the following:
- Bruising, swelling, or tenderness
- Numbness or tingling
- Muscle cramping
- Pinching or tugging sensations
Most patients only experience side effects for the first few days after their procedure. A 2015 research study published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery³ found there is no evidence of serious side effects like bleeding, scarring, or liver damage.
A very small percentage of patients experience a condition called paradoxical adipose hyperplasia, Healthline⁴ reports, which occurs when the fat cells get larger rather than smaller. Doctors aren’t sure why this happens, but it doesn’t cause any physical danger. The side effect is only a cosmetic problem, and i’s quite rare.
Compared to liposuction, the risks of CoolSculpting are minor. The following are potential side effects of liposuction:
- Severe bruising and inflammation
- Blood clots
- Skin infections
- Pulmonary embolism
- Kidney or heart problems
CoolSculpting doesn’t require incisions and isn’t performed under anesthesia, so most of the side effects are minor and temporary. You don’t have to worry about an adverse reaction to anesthesia or a long and uncomfortable recovery.
CoolSculpting is a cosmetic procedure, so it isn’t usually covered by insurance. The price of your treatment will vary depending on your location, the skill and experience of your clinician, and the areas you want to target. Most CoolSculpting treatments cost between $2,000 and $4,000 according to the official CoolSculpting⁵ website. Bankrate⁶ also notes that statistics from 2016 report the average cost for treatment on multiple areas was $2,250.
It costs more to treat larger or multiple areas than to treat one small area. A session with a mini applicator usually costs $750 to $900 while a session with a large applicator averages at $1,200 to $1,500. If you need multiple sessions, the cost will be higher.
CoolSculpting can be expensive, but it’s cheaper than liposuction or other invasive cosmetic treatments. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons⁷, liposuction averages $3,374 per treatment. This price doesn’t include anesthesia, operating room costs, or other fees, though. The total cost of liposuction can be several thousand dollars more, and it’s rarely covered by insurance.
If you’re curious about how much your CoolSculpting procedure would cost, you can schedule a consultation with a clinician. During your consultation, you’ll discuss your treatment goals and your expectations for the procedure, and your clinician will give you a price quote. CoolSculpting is one of the easiest and least expensive treatments for fat reduction, so it’s a great way to boost your confidence and reach your cosmetic goals.