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Does CoolSculpting Hurt?

If you aren’t familiar with CoolSculpting, it’s is a quick, noninvasive way to freeze away stubborn, unwanted fat. During consultations, we’re often asked “Does CoolSculpting Hurt? We hope this brief description gives you more insight to the CoolSculpting process. For a more in-depth look at the treatment, visit our CoolSculpting page.

Do CoolSculpting treatments hurt?

Prior to receiving a CoolSculpting treatment, you should seek a consultation. It’s during this stage you can discuss your treatment plan, any contraindications, and look at CoolSculpting before and after photos. Don’t be afraid to ask your provider if they have had the treatment and how it felt to the.

The first step to freezing away stubborn fat is prep. This includes cleaning, marking and applying a protective gel patch to the area. This should just take a few minutes and has no discomfort associated.

Next, the applicator will be positioned over the treatment area and you will feel a gentle suction. The first 10 minutes of treatment trigger cryoliposis, the process of cooling targeted fat cells to freeze and ultimately eliminate them. This will feel increasingly cold and have a mild to moderate sting. On a discomfort scale of 1-10, it is usually described as a 3-5. After 5-10 minutes the area will go completely numb, making the rest of the treatment more relaxing. Here in the office, we offer drinks and snacks, warm blankets, WiFi and a TV with Netflix to make the process more comfortable!

Recovery After CoolSculpting

When the CoolSculpting treatment is over and the applicator is removed your skin will be slightly pink and numb. The last step is massaging the area to help expedite the elimination of the frozen fat cells. The massage is often done by hand, but we use an acoustic therapy device called the Z-Wave. It’s more comfortable for patients and we have found it to be more effective than the traditional hand massage. This is typically reported to be the most uncomfortable part of treatment, only because you are slowly gaining feeling back to the area. Even so, the discomfort is less than a 5 on the 1-10 scale. Overall the process is described as “weird” or “awkward” more so than “painful.”

The treatment area may be numb, tender, or “prickly” for two to four weeks following CoolSculpting. In some cases, patients have experienced mild swelling and bruising in the area. All of this is completely normal! If you bruise easily we recommend taking arnica a few days before and after treatment to help soften bruising. Wearing a compression garment for a few days post-treatment is recommended along with performing a hand massage to the treated area three times a day for a few minutes for up to five days.

Advances in CoolSculpting Technology

CoolSculpting has come a long way since the treatment was FDA cleared in 2010. Rewind 8 years ago and the technology was not as sophisticated as it is today. With new CoolAdvantage technology came better results and more tolerable treatments. Early adopters of CoolSculpting often felt lightheaded or nauseous immediately following treatment and reported more pain during the treatment. If you are considering it, and worry that CoolSculpting hurts, be sure to ask the office if they are using the latest CoolAdvantage technology!