Is Coolsculpting Working, According to Science?

young woman getting cryolipolyse treatment in cosmetic cabinet

Of all the cosmetic procedures out there, liposuction is a popular go-to for fat reduction. However, in recent years, a new procedure has grown more popular for fat loss called cryolipolysis or coolsculpting. 

Coolsculpting allows plastic surgeons or cosmetic professionals to remove fat that is resistant to diet and exercise. Moreover, it is noninvasive and comes with few side effects. That being said, today we will dive into the details of coolsculpting. 

We will take a look at how it works, its effectiveness, and the science behind the procedure. So, if you are looking to get this procedure done, keep on reading. 

What is Coolsculpting? 

Coolsculpting, also known as cryolipolysis, is a cosmetic procedure aimed at fat reduction. Essentially, the process of coolsculpting involves using cold and freezing temperatures to break down fat cells. 

It is a very focused practice in that coolsculpting only targets fat cells because cold temperatures interact differently with other cells. That being said, this process should not damage your skin or any tissue under the skin. 

The actual procedure itself is non-invasive. There are no needles or cutting of the skin involved. In coolsculpting, practitioners will use a vacuum or suction device on the skin above fatty tissue. The applicator will then cool and freeze those fat cells. In turn, the area turns numb with a faint cooling sensation. 

The most common parts of the body people treat with coolscultping include:

  • Thighs
  • Belly
  • Sides or love handles
  • Lower back

Coolsculpting is also an ideal treatment for cellulite on arms, butts and legs. Other people have used this procedure to get rid of fat underneath their chin. 

The frozen dead fat cells are taken out of the body via the liver. The process tends to take place over time and over a series of treatments. However, general studies have shown that visible fat loss occurs around 3 months. 

How Long Do the Results Last?

The results of coolscultping last for an indefinite amount of time. This is on account of the fact that freezing the fat cells actually kills them. 

This means they don’t come back. However, gaining weight or fat tissue can happen again for a number of reasons. As such, you can gain back fat in areas that you have treated with coolscultping. 

However, getting multiple coolscultping treatments is not a complete hassle if the need arises. With proper planning and an experienced doctor, you can maximize the results of coolscultping. Unlike traditional liposuction, coolsculpting is noninvasive, nonsurgical and has no recovery time. 

Who Is Coolsculpting for? 

As great as its advantages are, coolscultping is not an ideal procedure for everyone. The procedure is designed for small scale fat reduction. Specifically, it is designed to target fat that was resistant to normal weight loss methods, like diet and exercise. 

As such, it is not an ideal procedure for individuals with:

  • Obesity
  • Cold agglutinin disease
  • PCH or paroxysmal cold and hemoglobuinuria
  • Cryoglobulinemia

Like all other cosmetic procedures, you want to talk to professionals about the process before signing onto the procedure. 

Does It Really Work?

In general, studies have shown that coolsculpting and cryolipolysis are highly effective methods of fat reduction. Moreover, like we mentioned before, this procedure has fewer side effects. 

While it is effective, coolsculpting should not be used as a singular cure to weight loss. Weight loss also relies on lifestyle choices, and it is safe to say that coolsculpting does as well. An individual who is using the coolsculpting process but has a poor diet and does little exercises is sure to see far less fat reduction.

In general, coolscultping has become a very popular cosmetic procedure in the United States. In 2010, it received approval from the U.S. FDA. As a result, the percentage of people using the coolsculpting process increased by 823%. 

Thus, it is fair to say that coolsculpting has a good record so far. However, if you are still unconvinced, let’s take a look at the science. 

What Does the Science Say? 

Majority of studies about coolsculpting validate that it is an effective and safe treatment for reducing concentrated amounts of fat. In a 2015 Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery review, researchers studied 19 cases of cryolipolysis. 

Using a caliper, the studies revealed that people who underwent coolsculpting saw a fat loss of 14.67$ to 28.5%. The study also looked at fat loss through an ultrasound and saw a 10.3% to 25.5% fat reduction. 

Additionally, researchers found that there were no major risks related to coolsculpting. If anything, they found a reduction in lipid levels and liver function. 

A 2015 study from the Aesthetic Surgery Journal saw that in 16 studies of coolsculpting there was an average fat loss of 19.55%. However, this particular study did not take into consideration the effect of other lifestyle choices. 

Another study looked into the impact of massaging on fat reduction. More specifically, it is thought that massaging after the treatment could greatly improve fat loss. One study saw a great improvement in fat reduction following a massage. However, after four months of treatment, the impact of messages was negligible. 

All that being said, there is a great amount of science supporting the success rate of coolsculpting. However, despite its many positives, there are a few things to be mindful of. There is a lower occurrence of side effects, but there are still side effects such as:

  • Bruising
  • Skin sensitivity
  • Swelling 
  • Redness
  • Localized pain


To sum it up, coolsculpting may be a cosmetic procedure, but like all cosmetic procedures, it cannot function as the sole solution to weight loss. It will not treat underlying health issues associated with fat gain. As such, you should also consider serious lifestyle changes alongside this procedure. 

Coolsculpting is an effective process for localized fat loss. That being said, always take into consideration your personal health. Talk about your weight loss options with your doctor before taking on coolsculpting. 

We hope this article was helpful to you. If you have any questions, please let us know!

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