How Safe Is CoolSculpting®?

How Safe Is CoolSculpting®?

Body contouring, in simple terms, is a procedure to alter the shape of the body by getting rid of excess fat cells. There are multiple ways through which this can be achieved.

Some procedures are invasive, i.e. needing surgery for the removal of fat. The most common invasive technique is liposuction. Other procedures are non-invasive, i.e. not requiring surgery. A non-invasive procedure may use lasers, ultrasound, radio frequency, heat to burn fat or extreme cold to freeze fat.

CoolSculpting® is a non-invasive procedure that freezes fat1,2. It is based on a procedure called Cryolipolysis1. During this procedure, the targeted pockets of fat are subjected to intensely cold temperatures to freeze fat cells which leads to the death of fat cells. The body then removes these dead fat cells naturally3,4.

However, we know that extreme temperatures, be it cold or hot, can cause damage to the body. Hence it raises the question, is CoolSculpting® safe? Are there any side effects that could cause lasting harm to someone undergoing the procedure? This post aims to help ease a few of those fears.

QN. Does the intense cold damage the skin and result in freeze burns?

ANS. Freeze burns occur when the skin is exposed to extreme cold. When undergoing a CoolSculpting® procedure from a trained and certified professional the possibility of a freeze burn is remote and negligible4,5,8. Several fail-safes have been built in to the procedure for this reason.

  1. A special, patented gel pad is placed on the skin before the procedure starts. This gel pad is designed to keep the skin and the surrounding tissue safe. The applicator does not get in direct contact with the skin at any point of time5.
  2. The applicators used with a CoolSculpting® machine use vacuum to suck in the pinchable tissue in the treatment area and apply targeted and controlled cooling to the fat cells.5
  3. Freeze Detect® and CoolConnect® technology continuously monitor and keep track of the temperature of the skin during the procedure. If at any point during the procedure the sensors detect a drop in optimum skin temperature, the CoolSculpting® machine immediately shuts down the procedure8.

QN. What are the side effects and how long do they last?

ANS. Most of the side effects are resolved in a few days or weeks. These may include some redness and firmness, mild bruising around the edges of the treatment area, a tingling sensation, some cramping or numbness.

For a full list of general side effects and certain rare side effects, click here.

QN. Does the extreme cold affect other cells and tissues under the skin?

ANS. Cryolipolysis means the death of fat cells.3 The temperature that the tissue is subjected to have an effect only on the fat cells in the target area. When applied right and by a trained professional, the cooling does not harm or have any effect on the surrounding tissue3.

QN. How painful is the procedure?

ANS. When the applicator is used there may be a tugging or pulling effect7 as the applicator sucks in the tissue. Once the procedure starts, there might be a tingling sensation as the temperature drops. However, this feeling soon subsides as the treatment area becomes numb. After that most people spend their time reading a book, watching TV or engaged on their mobiles like it’s a day at the spa.

If there are any more concerns that you may have about your safety or if you have more queries about CoolSculpting®, some of our other blogs may help or you could reach out to one of our partner clinics any time.


1. Kilmer SL. Lasers Surg Med 2017; 49:63-8; 
2. Kilmer SL, et al. Lasers Surg Med 2016; 48:3-13;
3. Zelickson B, et al. Dermatol Surg 2009; 35:1462-70; 
4. Klein KB, et al. Lasers Surg Med 2009;
5. Allergan. Data on File. INT/0983/2017. CoolSculpting® treatment cycles. November 2017; 
6. Allergan. Data on File. INT/0071/2018. CoolSculpting® publications. February 2018: 
7. Allergan. CoolSculpting® system user manual. BRZ-101-TUM-EN4-H.2016
8. ASDS. Consumer survey on cosmetic dermatologic procedures 2016. 
Note: CoolSculpting® is a product of Allergan.

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