CoolSculpting Side Effects

CoolSculpting is a noninvasive body contouring procedure that permanently eliminates fat cells through freezing. Also known as cryolipolysis, the procedure has been shown effective at targeting localized areas of stubborn fat in clinical studies and research. As this cosmetic procedure falls outside of health insurance coverage; however, some providers offer financing solutions for patients looking into CoolSculpting treatment options.

At each session, the individual’s body is placed between two cooling panels and an applicator suctionsing skin and fat into suction cannulae resembling massage techniques, creating an experience similar to massage. Treatment usually lasts 35-60 minutes without needing time off from work or other activities; some may experience temporary soreness in treated areas which often subsides quickly afterward; full results can usually appear three months post treatment but sometimes take as long as four months for full results to appear.

CoolSculpting by Zeltiq was recently approved for safety and effectiveness by the Food and Drug Administration; however, The New York Times discovered complications are occurring with its use. Furthermore, Zeltiq may have known of these problems for quite some time and misled consumers as to its existence.

“Puffiness,” or the change in skin texture and appearance, is one of the more frequent complaints among patients using CoolSculpting. Patients may notice changes on their abdomen, buttocks, arms or thighs that can be painful or quite dramatic; Allergan Aesthetics (now owned by AbbVie), reports this side effect in only 0.033% of treatments; they estimate it can be easily managed using laser technology, injection of deoxycholic acid or liposuction treatments.

The New York Times spoke with dermatologists and plastic surgeons who had experience treating patients who experienced puffiness following CoolSculpting treatments, suggesting it may be much more widespread than indicated by company figures. Furthermore, these doctors reported hearing from multiple other patients experiencing this side effect and noted it could be hard to address since pinpointing where lumps of fat tissue originated can often prove challenging.

Though some patients can correct these issues with medical procedures, exercise and weight control remain the best ways to effectively eliminate fat pockets. Therefore, CoolSculpting works best when used by those close to their ideal body weight who wish to remove a localized area of unwanted fat that they’d like removed. Though results from CoolSculpting are considered permanent, new fat cells may grow back after losing those killed off through CoolSculpting; thus reversal could occur should someone gain weight again; diet and exercise will help prolong results from CoolSculpting.