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The Cost of a Better Body: The Not-So-Hot Side Effects of CoolSculpting®

Oct 19, 2021 | Body

Approved in 2010 by the FDA, CoolSculpting® is the brand name for the non-invasive fat-freezing method that aims to dramatically reduce/eliminate unwanted, stubborn fat from different “trouble zones” of the body.  The fast-acting, body-sculpting process performed by an aesthetic device, known as a CoolSculpting® machine, uses a process known as “cryolipolysis.” Cryolipolysis cools adipose tissue to a chilled temperature that destroys it while leaving the skin and surrounding tissues untouched.  Performed in-office sans needles, knives, nips, or tucks, the body-bettering CoolSculpting® device is designed to hold targeted areas of the body between two paddles that cool quickly and are left in place from 35 minutes to just over an hour, during which 20-25% of the underlying fat cells are targeted.  Depending on the amount of fat to be removed, it may take up to three or four sessions to achieve desirable results, though most patients report a visible reduction in fat in target areas after just a few short weeks of their first CoolSculpting® treatment.  


  • Under chin/jawline
  • Thighs
  • Hips
  • Tummy
  • Back/sides/flanks
  • Under butt area
  • Along bra line 
  • Upper arms


Though it has been one of the hottest, most sought-after, discreet methods for achieving a beach-ready body from soccer moms to social media stars that require zero downtime, no scars, no surgery, no anesthesia, and no commitment, CoolSculpting® has had its share of negative press, primarily unwanted, potentially scary side effects, such as:

  • Pain, swelling at the targeted site
  • Intense, almost unbearable coldness during treatment
  • Tugging, pulling of the skin
  • Soreness afterward, similar to the lactic acid buildup following an intense workout 
  • Nerve pain


However, it’s the side effect where an INCREASE of fat cells in the targeted treatment area(s), known as Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia (PAH), that is the most unsettling.  Though rare and for no known reason, PAH strikes with an incidence of approximately .0051% and mostly in men, rather than women.  It’s not physically detrimental as it is emotionally anguishing and frustrating, since the only way to reverse PAH is through proper treatment.  Typically, a patient will need to wait between 6 and 9 months for the fat in the affected area to finally soften enough to be removed safely and effectively through traditional liposuction surgery, defeating the entire purpose of a “non-invasive” approach in the first place.  PAH can occur 8-24 weeks post CoolSculpting® procedure, leaving the area hardened, lumpy, and visibly enlarged.  (SOURCE:


Though most patients rely on CoolSculpting® to get them bikini-beautiful when sand, surf, and sun season rolls around, there are alternative fat-melting methods available, including:

  • Old-fashioned diet and exercise 
  • Traditional liposuction surgery Traditional tummy tuck surgery 
  • Laser Lipo (minimally invasive fat reduction treatment currently catching steam in the body beautification biz)
  • SculptSure™ (an emerging, game-changing aesthetic device that rivals CoolSculpting® in that it uses the heat of powerful laser technology to effectively melt body fat from targeted areas, allowing the body to quickly remove it.  A single treatment of 25 minutes destroys up to 24% of fat cells and is all it takes to get desired results!)

Have you tried CoolSculpting®, Laser Lip, or SculptSure™?  We’d love to hear about your respective experiences in the comment section below.  



Beverly Hills Office

240 South La Cienega Boulevard
Suite 200
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Phone: 310-882-5454