CoolSculpting is a body-contouring procedure that works by freezing away fat cells with the help of a vacuum-like device. The procedure is designed for people who want to get rid of stubborn fat in certain spots of the body. CoolSculpting is not a method of weight loss. It’s meant for people who are within 30 pounds of their recommended body weight.
Since CoolSculpting isn’t considered a medically necessary procedure, the person getting this treatment is responsible for all costs. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) estimates that the average fee per treatment for CoolSculpting was $1,481 in 2017. The CoolSculpting official website says the average cost is between $2,000 and $4,000 per session.
The cost is based on the area of body being treated. The smaller the treatment area, the lower the cost. Treating multiple areas can also increase cost. Other things that factor into the total cost of CoolSculpting treatment include where you live, your provider, and any follow-up appointments you might need.
In most cases, you only need one CoolSculpting treatment per area. However, some people might need a follow-up treatment if they want additional results after several months. Treatment takes a few hours or less, with no required downtime.
Talk to your prospective provider about specific costs prior to your procedure. You may also want to ask about the cost differences between specific areas of treatment, especially if you choose to have CoolSculpting performed on more than one area of your body.
Cost of CoolSculpting for arms
CoolSculpting is an option for removing stubborn fat in the upper arms. Smaller areas may cost around $650 per treatment. With the procedure, each arm is treated, so your total cost for the session may be about $1,300.
Each treatment for the arms can last about 35 minutes on average. Only one session is typically required to achieve the desired results.
Cost of CoolSculpting for stomach
The stomach is perhaps one of the most common CoolSculpting treatment areas. It can be difficult to get rid of excess fat cells in this area due to age, as well as life events like pregnancy.
The estimated cost of CoolSculpting for the stomach area is $1,500 a session. Some providers recommend two treatments for the stomach area.
Each treatment takes between 35 and 60 minutes. Results are permanent, but some people choose to have additional sessions to remove even more fat cells.
Cost of CoolSculpting for thighs
The cost of CoolSculpting areas of the thigh varies. For example, one dermatologist in New York charges $1,500 per outer thigh and $750 per inner thigh. Treating these areas on both legs can cost $4,000 or more.
Each treatment can take as little as 35 minutes. Like CoolSculpting for the arms, you can get permanent results in one session for your thigh treatment.powered by Rubicon Project
It takes four to six months to see full results, according to the ASPS. During this time, your body will work to remove the rest of the targeted fat cells.
CoolSculpting can cause temporary side effects, such as pain and numbness. These typically last only a few weeks.
You won’t be required to take time off work. However, you may decide to take your treatment day off to avoid the possible stress of getting back to work after the procedure.
In all, you should only be at your provider’s office for a couple of hours per treatment. More time may be necessary if you’re treating multiple body parts.
How long does it last?
CoolSculpting results are meant to be permanent. The only exception is the stomach area, which could require two or more sessions to obtain optimum results. Talk to your provider about how many sessions they think you’ll ultimately need.
Unlike traditional weight loss methods, the fat cells are completely removed, not shrunk down. According to the ASPS, the fat cells targeted during CoolSculpting treatments are eventually reduced by an average of 20 percent. Some people can see reductions of up to 40 percent, which is also more likely in smaller treatment areas like the arms.
If you want to target the same area in the future, talk to your provider. The costs will likely be the same as your first treatment, as the whole process needs to be done again.
Also, if you gain weight in the future, there’s a chance that new fat cells can return in the previously treated area.
Is it covered by insurance?
CoolSculpting is an aesthetic (cosmetic) treatment. Aesthetic treatments like CoolSculpting aren’t covered by insurance. You can ask your provider about any discounts and payment plans they may offer to help offset the costs of your treatment.
Are there ways to reduce cost?
Working with your provider is the most promising way to reduce your CoolSculpting costs. Some offices offer promotional coupons for new clients.
You can also ask your provider about any financing plans they offer. While this could cost you a bit more in the long run if they charge interest, making payments can reduce your upfront costs. Some providers offer payment plans that are interest-free.
- CoolSculpting is a patented nonsurgical cooling technique used to reduce fat in targeted areas.
- It’s based on the science of cryolipolysis. Cryolipolysis uses cold temperatures to freeze and destroy fat cells.
- The procedure was created to address specific areas of stubborn fat not responsive to diet and exercise, such as the upper arms.
- CoolSculpting was cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2012.
- The procedure is noninvasive and doesn’t require anesthesia.
- More than 6,000,000 procedures have been done around the world to date.
- You may experience temporary side effects, which should go away within a few days following treatment. Side effects may include swelling, bruising, and sensitivity.
- CoolSculpting may not be right for you if you have a history of Raynaud’s disease or severe sensitivity to cold temperatures.
- The procedure takes about 35 minutes for each arm.
- Expect minimal recovery time. You can resume normal day-to-day activities almost immediately after the procedure.
- It’s available through a plastic surgeon, physician, or healthcare provider who is trained in CoolSculpting.
- Cost ranges an average of about $650 for each arm.
- Average results are a 20 to 80 percent reduction of fatTrusted Source following a single cryolipolysis procedure in treated areas.
- About 82 percent of peopleTrusted Source who underwent the treatment would recommend it to a friend.
What is CoolSculpting?
CoolSculpting for the upper arms is a noninvasive fat reduction procedure that involves no anesthesia, needles, or incisions. It’s based on the principle of cooling subcutaneous fat to the point that the fat cells are destroyed by the cooling process and absorbed by the body. Subcutaneous fat is the layer of fat just under the skin.
It’s recommended as a treatment for those who have already reached their ideal weight, not as a weight loss measure.
How much does CoolSculpting cost?
Cost is determined by the size of treatment area, desired outcome, the size of the applicator, as well as where you live. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the lower end of CoolSculpting costs an average of about $650 per treatment area. You’ll likely be charged per arm. Follow-up appointments shouldn’t be necessary.
How does CoolSculpting work?
CoolSculpting is based on the science of cryolipolysis, which uses the cellular response to cold to break down fatty tissue. By extracting energy from fat layers, the process causes the fat cells to die gradually while leaving surrounding nerves, muscle, and other tissues unaffected. After treatment, the digested fat cells are sent to the lymphatic system to be filtered out as waste over a period of several months.
Procedure for CoolSculpting of the arms
A trained healthcare provider or doctor performs the procedure using a handheld applicator. The device looks similar to the nozzles of a vacuum cleaner.
During the treatment, the doctor applies a gel pad and applicator to the arms, one by one. The applicator delivers controlled cooling to the targeted fat. The device is moved over your skin while administering suction and cooling technology to the target area.
Some offices have several machines that allow them to treat multiple target areas in one visit.
You may experience feelings of pulling and pinching during the process, but overall the procedure involves minimal pain. The provider typically massages the treated areas immediately after treatment to break up any frozen deep tissue. This helps your body begin to absorb the destroyed fat cells. Some have said that this massage is uncomfortable.
Each treatment can take about 35 minutes per arm. People frequently listen to music or read during the procedure.
Are there any risks or side effects?
CoolSculpting has been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The procedure itself is noninvasive with a quick recovery time.
However, as the freezing process unfolds, you might experience some pain and discomfort after treatment. Numbness, aches, and swelling may occur in the upper arms. You might also experience more discomfort during the procedure if you have a sensitivity to cold temperatures.
Other common side effects during the procedure include:
- sensations of intense cold
These should all subside once the treatment area is numb.
After treatment, you may experience temporary side effects that usually go away within the next few days:
- skin sensitivity
Finding an experienced provider is crucial to preventing damage to the ulnar nerve. This important nerve extends through the entire arm from your neck to your fingers. While nerve damage is rare with CoolSculpting, such instances can cause long-term numbness.
There’s also a rare chance of developing enlarged fat cells months after the procedure. This is referred to as paradoxical adipose hyperplasia.
As with any other medical procedure, you should consult your primary care physician to see if CoolSculpting is right for you. You should also be counseled about the risks and benefits of the procedure if you have Raynaud’s disease or severe sensitivity to cold temperatures.
What to expect after CoolSculpting of the arms
There is little to no recovery time after a CoolSculpting procedure. Most people can resume routine activity immediately after. In some cases, minor redness or soreness may occur in the arm areas treated, but that will typically subside within a few weeks.
Results in the treated areas may be noticeable within three weeks of the procedure. Typical results are reached after two or three months, and the fat-flushing process continues for up to six months after the initial treatment. According to CoolSculpting market research, 79 percent of people reported a positive difference in the way their clothes fit after CoolSculpting.
CoolSculpting doesn’t treat obesity and shouldn’t replace a healthy lifestyle. Continuing to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly is crucial to maintaining results.
Before and after pictures
Preparing for CoolSculpting
CoolSculpting doesn’t require much preparation. But you should make sure your body is healthy and close to your ideal weight. People who are very overweight or obese aren’t ideal candidates. An ideal candidate is healthy, fit, and looking for a tool to eliminate body bulges.
Although bruising from the suction of the applicator is common after CoolSculpting, it’s a good idea to avoid anti-inflammatories such as aspirin before the procedure. This will help reduce any bruising that may occur.
Is Coolsculpting Painful? Side Effects and Aftercare Tips
- Side effects
How Coolsculpting works
Coolsculpting is an FDA-cleared procedure that involves cryolipolysis, or “freezing” fat cells that don’t respond to traditional exercise and diet habits. It’s also sometimes used in the treatment of lipomasTrusted Source. Technically, the procedure is noninvasive, meaning that no surgery is involved.
This doesn’t mean that Coolsculpting is completely free of side effects. While it’s not meant to cause long-term pain and discomfort, these are some possibilities. Most discomfort is felt from the “cooling” effects of the actual procedure. As your body adjusts to the fat cell removal, discomfort can come and go. Read on to learn more about these side effects, which you can discuss with a practitioner before starting this procedure.
Does it hurt?
The pain felt from Coolsculpting is primarily experienced during the procedure itself. According to the official Coolsculpting website, the company acknowledges that it’s possible to feel pain from the numbness caused by the cooling sensations from the freezing applicator used during the procedure. You may also feel slight pinching and pulling sensations as the fat cells are frozen and pulled out. Such effects may last between 5 and 10 minutes of the 60-minute treatment Trusted Source time.
After the procedure, you might experience pain along with itching and swelling. The level of pain felt can also vary between treatment areas, with the abdomen being the most vulnerable.
Does Coolsculpting cause nerve damage?
Coolsculpting doesn’t cause nerve damage. However, numbness is common, according to the Center for Aesthetics. This can last for a few weeks. It can also come and go.
There have been anecdotal reports of severe pain and nerve pain for several days or weeks after the procedure. These reports were not observed in a formal clinical setting.
Common side effects after Coolsculpting include:
- fullness of the throat (if neck is being treated)
- muscle spasms
- numbnessTrusted Source
Most of these effects are felt at the site of the treatment area. According to Coolsculpting, these are temporary, and usually recede within a few weeks. Pain and discomfort after the procedure may fluctuate again three days later, where side effects may temporarily return.
Coolsculpting rarely causes serious side effects. However, these are possibilities you should discuss with your doctor ahead of time, so you can recognize the signs and respond quickly.
One possible serious but rare side effect is the formation of paradoxical adipose hyperplasia Trusted Source following Coolsculpting. This results in an expansion of the recently targeted fat cells. According to a study reported in JAMA DermatologyTrusted Source, there’s only a 0.0051 percent chance of this side effect. It also occurs months after the initial Coolsculpting treatment.
Tips to lower discomfort
Talk to your doctor about ways you can help lower your chances of experiencing pain and other side effects during and after this procedure. They may also perform a massage to the treatment areaTrusted Source to help increase the efficacy of the fat freezing process while limiting side effects.
Prescription pain medications aren’t typically provided for this procedure, since it’s nonsurgical. No anesthesia is used, either. However, your doctor may recommend that you take over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications if you have any pain or swelling following the procedure. You should not take any pain relievers before treatment, as this can increase side effects like bruising.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help reduce pain, but you shouldn’t take more than 3,000 milligrams (mg) per day, according to Harvard HealthTrusted Source. Too much acetaminophen can lead to liver damage, especially when taken with alcohol.
Another option is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen. This may be a generic product or a brand-name version such as Advil or Motrin IB. The Mayo Clinic recommends taking 400 mg every four hours, as needed. Ibuprofen has the added advantage of treating both pain and inflammation, but it may not be appropriate if you have bleeding disorders.
Always ask your doctor before taking any medications — including those sold over the counter. You can also use the following nonmedicated methods for pain relief following Coolsculpting:
- deep breathing exercises/meditation
- gentle exercise
- guided imagery
- warm compresses
- massage therapy
Preparing for Coolsculpting
The first step is to obtain a consultation with a prospective provider. To qualify for Coolsculpting, your provider will ask about your health history. It’s also recommended that you be within 30 pounds of your ideal weight, according to Coolsculpting. This will make the procedure more effective, and it may also lead to fewer side effects.
Before signing up for Coolsculpting, consider meeting with a few prospective providers. While dermatologists, dermatologic surgeons, and aestheticians can perform the procedure, not all of these types of doctors are certified in Coolsculpting.
Certain preparatory steps can help make the day of your treatment more comfortable. Make sure you:
- bring something to read or play with, such as your tablet
- eat a small snack to prevent nausea from treatment
- wear loose, comfortable clothing
Care following procedure
According to the Center for Aesthetics, it can take two to four months before you see the full results of your Coolsculpting treatment. You shouldn’t have long-term discomfort for this entire time, but you may have side effects for a few weeks after treatment.
To make yourself more comfortable, consider the following tips for aftercare:
- Wear comfortable clothing, such as yoga pants.
- Consider Spanx or other compression clothing.
- Keep moving to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Report any severe side effects to your doctor right away.
Coolsculpting has been deemed “a safe and effective nonsurgical body contouring method” by the Aesthetic Surgery Journal. While the pain felt during Coolsculpting is only meant to be temporary, it’s possible to feel such effects much longer and at a higher intensity. Your own tolerance to pain is another factor to consider.
Talk to your healthcare provider about Coolsculpting, and reach out to others who’ve had the procedure done.