Does CoolSculpting Really Work?

As dedicated as you are to your diet and workout regimen, you may still have areas of stubborn fat that never seem to disappear. That’s natural. Everyone’s body is different and we each store fat in different areas. And if you really want to reduce the amount of visible fat in a certain region, a process known as CoolSculpting claims to have the answer. But does CoolSculpting really work?

CoolSculpting is a nonsurgical cooling technique that targets specific areas of the body that store fat. It is based in the science of cryolipolysis, a process that uses cold temperatures to freeze and destroy fat cells.

Unlike invasive surgeries like liposuction, practitioners of CoolSculpting say that it is a quick, easy procedure that allows patients to head “straight to the gym” after their appointment. But getting your fat frozen away might sound too good to be true. So, does CoolSculpting really work?


A 2009 study examined the efficacy of cryolipolysis and it discovered that the process actually reduces the treated layer of fat by as much as 25%. In the weeks after the procedure, the body excreted frozen, dead fat cells through the liver, leading to full fat loss results within three months. And six months after the initial treatments, the results were still present.

As a result, the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) granted approval to the CoolSculpting technique in 2010. Since then, the procedure has exploded in popularity across the country.

True to its promise, the CoolScuplting process is far less invasive or stressful than surgical alternatives. In fact, Dr. Jenni Holman and Physician’s Assistant Tori Burns, who run the Center for Aesthetic and Laser Medicine, compare the process to a relaxing spa treatment.

“People sometimes nap, you [can] bring your iPad, we’ve even had people call in food here and that’s totally okay, too,” explains Burns. “You just kind of relax… And when you’re done, you get a gentle massage, and then you’re on your way.”

What Can CoolSculpting Target?

Patients frequently use the process to rid fat from the following areas:

  • Thighs;
  • Lower back;
  • Belly;
  • Sides (love-handles);
  • Legs;
  • Arms;
  • Buttocks;
  • Under the chin.

Are There Side-effects?

As with any procedure, there are some potential side effects of CoolSculpting. Possible effects may include:

  • A tugging feeling at the treatment site when the doctor places the fat roll between the panels.
  • Sensations of pain, stinging or aching at the treatment site two weeks after treatment. (These tend to disappear on their own without additional treatment.)
  • Some short-term redness, swelling, bruising, and skin sensitivity at the treatment site.

Additionally, in fewer than 1% of all cases, CoolScuplting has resulted in the development of more fat cells in the targeted area.

Does It Work On Everyone?

No. CoolScupplting is not a treatment for obesity. Rather, it is appropriate for removing extra fat that is otherwise resistant to regular diet and exercise. Overall, CoolSculpting is best for adult men and women who already integrate healthy habits into their lifestyles.

Is It the Real Deal?

Most signs point to yes. While there is no substitute for everyday exercise and healthy eating, CoolSculpting is a proven treatment for removing excess fat, without going under a knife.

Sources: Healthline, U.S. Dermatology Partners, NIH