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Where Does The Fat Go After Coolsculpting?

Where Does The Fat Go After Coolsculpting?

Getting a slimmer and sleeker body contour is every fitness enthusiast's dream. But even if you're unable to get a toned stomach after trying fitness diets and exercise, it's time to consider a reduction fat procedure: The coolsculpting.

While the treatment is very popular and effective, you may have certain questions regarding the procedure, such as: After coolsculpting, where does the fat go? Can we get the treatment at home? What are the risks associated with coolsculpting?

We are here to answer your queries about coolsculpting. Stay tuned for detailed information!

What are the risks associated with coolsculpting?

What is Coolsculpting?

Coolsculpting, also called Cryolipolysis, is an FDA-approved procedure for getting rid of stubborn fat in certain parts of your body. Initially, it was meant for flanks and abdominal fat; later, it was approved for the removal of thigh fat as well.

Cryolipolysis is an effective, non-invasive procedure with minimal side effects. According to a study published in the journal Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, it can reduce subcutaneous fat by up to 25% (1).

Here's how the coolsculpting works:

The device uses a cup-shaped applicator with cooling panels. This panel sucks in the fat and cools it down.

Each treatment takes about 45 minutes, and patients can return to normal activities immediately afterward. Some people might feel soreness or other mild effects, but these usually go away on their own. It takes a few months for the fat cells to disappear completely.

Multiple sessions might be needed, spaced about eight weeks apart, depending on the area treated.

How Does It Work on Fat Cells?

Did you know that our fat cells are more sensitive to cold temperatures than our skin cells (2)? According to the research made by Department of Occupational and Environmental Health in Changchun, China, the the body’s energy metabolic increases after low temperture explosure.

During coolsculpting, fat cells are exposed to freezing temperatures.

When cold is applied precisely, it kills fat cells. Afterward, the body's immune system gets rid of these dead fat cells over time, usually 3 to 4 months. This process causes inflammation and tissue thickening, reducing the fat volume in the treated area and revealing a more toned body.

CoolSculpting doesn't hurt other cells, and it's designed to keep the skin safe.

What is the Coolsculpting procedure?

Preparation before procedure:

Like any other in-patient procedure, you will be asked to change into a gown. Your doctor will do the necessary markings on the treatment area.

The applicator is placed on the treatment area:

The Coolsculpting device consists of a cup-shaped applicator with cooling panels. The applicator is placed on the targeted body area, such as the abdomen, flanks, or thighs.

coolsculpting treatment area

Suction and Cooling:

The applicator creates a vacuum seal, which gently sucks in the targeted area of fat. After suction, the cooling panels within the applicator start to lower the temperature of the fat cells.

Over the next 45 minutes, the fat cells are gradually cooled to a specific freezing temperature.

During the treatment, patients may experience cold, pulling, or mild discomfort as the area becomes numb.

Post-Treatment Massage:

After the cooling cycle, the applicator is removed, and the treated area may appear firm or frozen.

To enhance the results and promote the breakdown of fat cells, the area is gently massaged for a few minutes.

There is little to no downtime associated with cryolipolysis. Patients can typically resume their normal activities, including work, exercise, and socializing, immediately after treatment.

Where Does The Frozen Fat Go During Coolsculpting?

Our body has two circulatory systems: the blood and the lymphatic system. Blood flows in the body to circulate oxygen to each body tissue; on the other hand, the lymph removes toxic materials from the blood and disposes these waste products.

During the coolsculpting, the fat cells removed from the belly, flanks, or thighs slowly enter the lymphatic system and are removed from there. However, this process is relatively slow and takes about 4-8 weeks to start seeing results and up to 14-16 weeks to see the full effect.

How Does Fat Leave Your Body After CoolSculpting?

As explained above, fat cells removed during coolsculpting enter the lymphatic system. The lymph carries these fat cells to the liver, where further breakdown of fats occurs, and these are removed from the body via liver excretions.

Will the Fat Come Back?

No, the fat removed during coolsculpting will never come back. However, new fat cells can form if you gain weight later for any reason.

To maintain the results of coolsculpting, it's crucial to eat well and stay active. Results aren't instant, but with patience and a healthy lifestyle, you can enjoy the benefits of coolsculpting for a long time. It usually takes a few treatments to see the best results in larger areas.

After one treatment, it usually takes months to see results before deciding on the next step.

How do you stop fat from coming back after Coolsculpting?

Coolsculpting removes fat cells that already exist in the body. However, it cannot stop the body from making new fat cells.

Coolsculpting removes fat cells

Maintaining an ideal weight becomes more difficult as we age. Our genes and hormonal balance play a significant role in our weight gain, and pregnancy also causes weight gain.

Sometimes, waiting until you're finished having kids is better before getting coolsculpting. But you and your doctor can decide what's best for you.

Does Coolsculpting Hurt?

Well, it depends.

Most people with coolsculpting say it's a bit uncomfortable because the applicator is cold, but they don't describe it as painful.

However, some people might find it painful, especially if they have a low tolerance for pain.

Here are some examples of how people describe the feeling:

One person said: "On a scale of one to ten, the pain was only two."

Another person said: "I hardly felt anything except for the cold sensation in the areas being treated. It was only a little painful for me."

Another user said: "They suction onto the area of fat, and then it's extremely uncomfortable for a few minutes, and then you go numb. It wasn't painful at all."

Where You Can Use a Coolsculpting Machine?

You can get coolsculpting treatment at a spa or a beauty salon. Please don't try coolsculpting at home!

There are various DIY coolsculpting methods, including using ice packs or gadgets that cause fat to freeze, which claim to work like the real thing.

However, real CoolSculpting is done by professionals in clinics using special machines approved by the FDA. These machines cool fat cells without harming the skin or surrounding tissue.

Trying it at home with ice packs or belts is not safe or effective. It can even cause frostbite or tissue damage. So, it is best to leave CoolSculpting to trained professionals in clinics with FDA-approved machines.

The treatment is quick, taking only about 30 minutes per area. The provider puts gel on your skin and moves a unique wand over it in slow circles. This wand freezes the fat, helping to reduce it.

CoolSculpting Aftercare

Here are some tips for taking care of yourself after a coolsculpting procedure: let's see what to do and what not to do:

Do Massage the Treated Area:

Messaging is an effective remedy to get rid of fat cells after the coolsculpting procedure.

Try massaging the targeted area two to three times a day.

Don't Use Anti-inflammatory Drugs:

You should avoid using anti-inflammatory drugs for at least six weeks after the coolsculpting procedure.

Coolsculpting uses your body's natural inflammatory response to eliminate dead fat cells.

Using anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen can disrupt this process. Even though you might feel some discomfort after CoolSculpting, avoid using drugs like ibuprofen for a few days.

Do Use Warm Compresses:

After the fat coolsculpting, you will feel swelling and pain in your treated body area.

Gentle and warm compresses reduce pain, muscle spasms, and swelling. They also improve blood flow to the treated areas, helping you recover faster.

Do Eat a Healthy Diet:

Coolsculpting is worth it only if you're willing to maintain your body weight after the procedure.

Eat a balanced diet, hydrate yourself, and have a physical exercise routine.

Don't Drink Alcohol:

Alcohol can increase bruising and affect your coolsculpting recovery. It's best to avoid alcohol for at least a week before your treatment as well.

Wear Comfy Clothes

Avoid wearing tight dresses after your coolsculpting procedure. Wearing loose and comfy clothes will help ease your swelling and soreness.

What are the possible side effects of coolsculpting?

Here are some possible short-term side effects of coolsculpting:

  • Pain during and after the procedure.
  • Redness, swelling, and bruising in the treated area.
  • Possible need for multiple sessions for desired results.

These short-term side effects are usually minor, but there's debate over potential long-term issues and how the company deals with them.

Long-term problems include uneven fat removal, which might need more treatment or liposuction.

A rare issue called paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH) can occur months later, causing painless fat masses. It's thought to happen when the procedure doesn't cool fat cells enough, causing them to grow instead of shrinking.

Treatment for PAH involves surgery or injections, but success isn't guaranteed. Reports of PAH have increased recently, leading to concerns about how often it happens (3). It's unclear how common PAH is, but it's mentioned as a risk before the procedure.

How Long Could I See The Result?

The changes from CoolSculpting don't happen right away. It takes about one to three months for your body to eliminate the frozen fat cells. You might notice some improvement in the treated area after about three weeks.

How Long Does Coolsculpting Last?

Coolsculpting permanently removes fat cells from your body. However, it cannot stop the growth of new fat cells.

So, to maintain your slimmer results, you need to maintain your ideal weight through lifestyle modifications.


  1. Krueger, N., Mai, S. V., Luebberding, S., & Sadick, N. S. (2014). Cryolipolysis for non-invasive body contouring: clinical efficacy and patient satisfaction. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 7, 201–205.
  2. Huo, C., Song, Z., Yin, J., Zhu, Y., Miao, X., Qian, H., Wang, J., Ye, L., & Zhou, L. (2022). Effect of Acute Cold Exposure on Energy Metabolism and Activity of Brown Adipose Tissue in Humans: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in physiology, 13, 917084.
  3. Deligonul, F. Z., Yousefian, F., & Gold, M. H. (2023). Literature review of adverse events associated with cryolipolysis. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 22(S3), 31–36.
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