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What is Cryolipolysis?

Cryolipolysis 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.

How long does Cryolipolysis take?

A Cryolipolysis treatment typically takes as little as 35-75 minutes, depending on the area treated, with treatment sessions lasting 1-3 hours on average. For most patients, two or more treatment sessions are recommended to help reach their body contouring goals.

How much does treatment cost?

Cost is determined by the size of treatment area, desired outcome, the size of the applicator, as well as your location. As of today, the average cost of a multi-area procedure is $2,000 . Smaller areas alone, such as the upper abdomen or the chin, require a smaller applicator and can cost less (roughly $900). Larger areas, like the lower abdominal area, require a larger applicator and can cost up to $1,500.

FDA cleared for 9 areas of the body

Cryolipolysis is cleared to eliminate stubborn fat under the jawline, under the chin, the upper arms, back fat, bra fat, the flank area (love handles), abdomen, thighs, and under the buttocks (banana roll).


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Procedure for Cryolipolysis

A doctor or trained healthcare provider will perform the procedure using a handheld device. The device has applicators that look similar to the nozzles of a vacuum cleaner.

During the treatment, the healthcare provider will apply a gel pad and applicator to the targeted area. The applicator delivers controlled cooling to the targeted fat. The provider will then move the device 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.

It’s common to experience some feelings of pulling and pinching during the process, but overall the procedure involves minimal pain. The provider typically will massage the treated areas immediately after treatment to breakup any frozen deep tissue. This will help your body begin to absorb the destroyed fat cells. Some people complain that this massage is slightly uncomfortable.

Each treatment can take anywhere between one and three hours. People frequently listen to music, read, or even work on the computer during the procedure.

Targeted areas for Cryolipolysis

CoolSculpting may be used to reduce fat in the following areas:

  • upper and lower abdomen
  • inner and outer thighs
  • flanks (or love handles)
  • arms
  • chin area (or double chin)
  • bra and back fat
  • underneath the buttocks (or banana roll)

Are there any risks or side effects?

The Cryolipolysis was cleared by the FDA in 2012, originally for cold-assisted lipolysis of abdomen and flanks. Since then, the FDA has cleared the procedure for multiple body areas. The efficacy and safety have been confirmed by the FDA based on clinical trials. No serious adverse events were reported during the clinical trials. A 2009 studyTrusted Source also supports that cryolipolysis doesn’t increase the levels of fat in the bloodstream and demonstrates no significant harm to the liver.

As a noninvasive procedure, CoolSculpting is relatively safe. Common side effects during the procedure include:

  • sensations of intense cold
  • tingling
  • stinging
  • pulling
  • aching
  • cramping

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. These side effects include:

  • redness
  • swelling
  • bruising
  • tenderness
  • aching
  • cramping
  • skin sensitivity

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 a Cryolipolysis treatment

There is little to no recovery time after a Cryolipolysis procedure. Most people are approved to resume normal day-to-day activity immediately after. In some cases, some minor redness or soreness may occur in the area treated, but all minor side effects 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. Certain people and areas of the body may require more than one treatment. According to CoolSculpting market research, 79 percent of people reported a positive difference in the way their clothes fit after CoolSculpting.

CoolSculpting addresses specific areas of the body, so further treatment is usually only necessary if you want to target a different area. Cryolipolysis 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.