CoolSculpting has become one of the go-to treatments on the Gold Coast for those wanting to address their excess and stubborn fat cells quickly and effectively. For many, the fatty bulges on their love handles or tummy simply won’t shift even with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

As a non-surgical procedure, CoolSculpting seems like the miracle fat reduction treatment. Who would have thought you could remove unwanted areas of fat without the need of a scalpel and long, painful recovery times?

For many, the idea of fat freezing your fat away sounds too good to be true. Surely there is a catch or a downside to CoolSculpting? Does it actually work and are there any side effects are just some of the common questions we receive.

Here, we dive deep into the side effects of CoolSculpting to help you understand the risks associated with removing your wanted fat cells through cryolipolysis.

What is CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting was cleared by the FDA in 2012 and has since become a popular non-surgical fat removal procedure worldwide. By using a specialised applicator, fat cells located under the skin are exposed to freezing cold temperatures. This causes the fat cells in the treated area to die without harming surrounding tissue in a process known as cryolipolysis. Once the fat cells are destroyed, they are gradually processed and removed by the body naturally through the lymphatic system.

The CoolSculpting treatment has the ability to lower the amount of fat in the treated area by up to 20-40%. The results of the fat reduction treatment start to become noticeable after a few weeks, however, it takes up to 4-6 months for the full results to become evident.

CoolSculpting side effects: What is common?

CoolSculpting is a walk-in, walk-out body contouring treatment. If you are a suitable candidate, it may negate the need for fat reduction surgery and lengthy downtime. In fact, each fat freezing treatment only takes between 30-75 minutes and you’ll be able to return to your normal activities immediately.

To carry out the procedure, your cosmetic team uses a specialised CoolSculpting machine with an applicator device to expose the fat cells to controlled cooling. The applicator relies on a suction technology to isolate the treatment area to the freezing temperatures.

It’s common for people to experience some discomfort and sensation of pulling when this applicator is applied, particularly during the initial stages of the treatment. However, these feelings tend to subside relatively quickly.

As the skin and tissue are exposed to temperatures of approximately 4°C and the suctioning, there can be some negative side effects such as slight redness, tenderness and minor bruising. Some patients report numbness or tingling around the treatment areas.

Most patients report these side effects to disappear within a few days of the CoolSculpting procedure.

Other side effects you may experience in the first couple of weeks after your treatment include itchiness at the treatment site, a feeling of fullness, mild cramping and some diarrhea as the body is naturally removing the dead fat cells.

CoolSculpting side effects: Potential complications

Regardless of whether you are having a surgical or non-surgical cosmetic treatment, all procedures do come with potential complications. These should be discussed with your chosen practitioner before you undergo any fat reduction procedure.

There are some rare, but potential complications that can occur with CoolSculpting such as changes to the fat layers, scarring, prolonged pain and Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia (PAH).

Most of these complications tend to go away within a few days or weeks of the fat freezing treatment.

The chance of experiencing PAH is very rare with an incidence rate of less than 0.0051%. PAH is a reaction to the freezing where instead of destroying the unwanted fat cells, the controlled cooling simulates the cells to expand. As a result, the body struggles to breakdown the fatty tissue and an enlargement of the treatment area occurs.

PAH is often treated by another CoolSculpting procedure or Liposuction if the problem continues.

How to minimise the side effects of CoolSculpting

CoolSculpting is viewed as a safer and non-invasive fat reduction treatment than other traditional methods, such as Liposuction and Abdominoplasty. The common side effects of the treatment are typically short-lived with no long term issues and more serious complications are rare.

The best way to minimise the side effects of your CoolSculpting treatment, and another other cosmetic procedure for that matter, is to do your research and seek the services of a qualified and experienced cosmetic team or doctor.

Unfortunately, like many non-invasive treatments, there are a lot of unqualified people marketing the treatment and even at home applicators that claim to be a cheaper and easier way to freeze your fat cells. Inexperience and inferior products can put you at risk and affect your overall results.