CoolSculpting® 101: Answers to Your Top Questions

Woman buttoning jeans

We offer CoolSculpting® at our Portland practice for patients who want to shrink stubborn pockets of fat, but aren’t keen on the idea of going under the knife. But what is CoolSculpting and how does it really work? In this post we will provide a crash course in CoolSculpting and answer some of the most common questions regarding the popular nonsurgical treatment.

What is CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting is a noninvasive body contouring treatment that can reduce localized fat deposits that are resistant to diet and exercise. It works by targeting fat cells with intense cold energy. Fat cells freeze at a higher temperature than other tissues, so they are damaged by the cooling, while other areas are left unharmed. After the procedure, the fat cells break down and are naturally eliminated from the body. This gradually slims down the treated areas.

Why can’t I just put an icepack on my trouble spots?

Unfortunately, this at-home version of CoolSculpting will not work. The reason this procedure is so effective is because it uses precise and controlled temperatures over a sustained duration that target fat cells specifically. Attempting to freeze your own fat is likely to be ineffective, and may damage skin and surrounding tissues.

Who is the ideal candidate?

Good candidates for CoolSculpting are at a stable, healthy weight. They have persistent fat pockets despite living a healthy lifestyle. It is also important to good skin elasticity—not excess, sagging skin—in the treatment area. It is important to note that the treatment is not a replacement for diet and exercise; rather, it is a complement to an already healthy lifestyle. If you are not an ideal candidate for the treatment, we offer a variety of different body contouring alternatives.

What does it feel like?

Your provider starts out by applying a protective gel pad onto the treatment area. Then you will start to feel gentle suction as the area is drawn between the cooling panels. When the CoolSculpting tool is activated, you will feel a cold sensation. This should not be painful, but it may be slightly uncomfortable for the first few minutes. After a few minutes, you will feel numb in the treatment area and will remain that way throughout the procedure.

During the weeks following the procedure, most people feel nothing, but some experience mild achiness, numbness, or itchiness in the treatment area, but this is typically tolerable.

How long does it take?

The procedure can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on the treatment area(s). Most people read, browse the internet, or listen to music during their sessions. Some patients even take a nap.

Which areas can be treated with CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting is commonly used to treat:

  • Abdomen
  • Double chin
  • Back fat
  • Flanks
  • Thighs

What are the anticipated results?

As the fat cells are eliminated, you will begin to notice a change in your body. Your unwanted bulges will become smaller in roughly 2 to 3 months. Once fat cells are eliminated, they do not return, so the results can be long-lasting. Some patients choose to have repeat treatments to optimize results. Some patients also combine CoolSculpting with other non-surgical treatments, such as BOTOX® Cosmetic or injectable fillers, for more comprehensive aesthetic results.

We encourage you to check out our CoolSculpting photo gallery to see real patient results.

If you think you may be a good candidate for CoolSculpting or you have questions about this or other treatments, request a consultation online or give us a call at (503) 292-9200.

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