Your CoolSculpting® Recovery Guide

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Congratulations! You have finally decided to experience the amazing benefits of CoolSculpting® for yourself. To make sure your recovery goes smoothly — and to maximize your results — your provider will give you aftercare instructions before treatment. These will contain everything you need to know to help you during your recovery process: from what to expect in terms of side effects to what to do to make your recovery easy and comfortable.

If you’re eager to learn as much as possible about what the recovery process looks like after CoolSculpting®, here is a short guide with useful tips to get you started.

A Bit About CoolSculpting®

CoolSculpting® is the world’s leading nonsurgical fat reduction treatment. It uses a patented cryolipolysis technique, which is a type of body contouring technology that removes body fat by freezing it. Studies show it can achieve a 25% reduction in fat in the treatment site after one session. And once this fat is gone, it’s gone for good!

This FDA-cleared treatment offers safe and effective fat reduction in as many as nine different areas of the body:

  1. Abdomen
  2. Flanks (love handles)
  3. Inner and outer thighs
  4. Beneath the burrocks (banana roll)
  5. Upper arms
  6. Bra fat
  7. Back fat
  8. Submental fat (double chin)
  9. Below the jawline

Most patients need two or more treatment sessions, each lasting one to three hours, to reach their body contouring goals. Advancements made in CoolSculpting® technology now allow providers to treat two areas at once (sometimes called “DualSculpting”), reducing the number of sessions required for convenience.

Your CoolSculpting® Recovery: What to Expect and Helpful Tips

CoolSculpting® is a nonsurgical procedure, so there is no need for downtime. Patients can return to work and their usual activities immediately after treatment. However, some level of discomfort is normal after this treatment. There are also things you should and shouldn’t do post-treatment to speed up the recovery process and minimize the risk of complications.

Immediately After Treatment

When your provider removes the applicator, the treatment area will appear red and stiff and feel numb. This is a normal reaction to the fat freezing treatment. The redness should subside within 15 minutes, while the stiffness and numbness usually fade away within a couple of hours. Some patients develop vasovagal symptoms and feel faint, dizzy, sweaty and nauseated during and immediately after the procedure. It is important to communicate with your provider if you experience any symptoms.

Tip: Redness and numbness are normal after treatment and there is no way to avoid these common side effects. However, to avoid feeling faint and nauseated, it’s recommended to have a meal and be well-hydrated before your treatment. Being well-informed about the CoolSculpting® process also helps you mentally prepare for what lies ahead.

Weeks 1 to 2 After Treatment

According to Abbvie, the manufacturer of CoolSculpting®, it’s normal to experience side effects for a few days to two weeks after treatment. These are typically limited to the treatment area and may include redness, firmness, swelling, paleness, bruising, tingling, stinging, soreness, cramping, aching, itching, skin sensitivity and numbness. While most of these side effects go away by week two, numbness can persist for up to 12 weeks in some patients.

The combination of vacuum suction and cooling of the targeted area to 30.2-39.2°F is why you may develop these side effects. It is unusual to have significant pain after fat freezing, and in the rare cases when it occurs, it can almost always be managed effectively with over-the-counter pain relievers.

Tip: Post-treatment discomfort can be managed with hot or cold compresses and Tylenol. Using NSAIDs to manage pain from CoolSculpting® may affect results, so patients are usually discouraged from taking these. If you had treatment on the abdomen, flanks or thighs, wearing compression garments like SPANX® helps reduce swelling and pain. It can also help your skin retract.

Weeks 2 to 4 After Treatment

By the second week, most of the swelling, bruising, soreness and other side effects should have subsided. This is when most patients start to notice their results. As the body gradually breaks down and removes the dead fat cells and the residual swelling subsides, your new, slimmer contours start to show. By this time, some patients also come back for their second round of treatment.

Tip: A healthy diet and active lifestyle can help speed up your recovery and maximize your results. Some patients may benefit from wearing compression garments during this time to encourage lymphatic drainage and healing.

Additional CoolSculpting® Recovery Tips

While the above tips are usually enough to help you seamlessly recover after CoolSculpting®, here are bonus tips that may help:

1. Massage the treatment site

Your provider will massage the treatment area for one to two minutes to encourage healing and lymphatic drainage. While this may seem inconsequential, research shows that these short massages lead to 44% more fat reduction in massaged areas than unmassaged areas. Massaging the treatment area in the first two weeks after treatment may further boost your results and speed up recovery.

2. Wear comfortable clothing

Aside from compression garments, your clothing should be loose-fitting, easy to put on and just overall comfortable. You will be sore and your treatment area will be swollen after treatment, so you don’t want to make yourself feel more uncomfortable with tight or ill-fitting garments.

3. Drink plenty of water

CoolSculpting® works by freezing fat cells, in this way destroying them and resulting in local inflammation at the treatment site. Staying well-hydrated helps reduce this inflammation and speed up waste removal through the kidneys. Drinking the proper amount of water per day can also help reduce your pain levels.

Learn More About CoolSculpting® in San Diego

At U Laser Med Spa, our CoolSculpting® Technician expert, Cheyenne, is here to answer all your questions about CoolSculpting®, including what this treatment involves, what you can expect and whether this treatment is right for you. If you are a resident of La Jolla, CA, or any of the surrounding communities and are interested in learning more about this fat-reduction treatment, feel free to call us at 858-558-3854 or visit our contact page to schedule a consultation.