CoolSculpting Side Effects

CoolSculpting Side Effects

CoolSculpting side effects are generally very rare and minor.

However it’s important to note , like all aesthetic procedures, CoolSculpting can have side effects and rare risks of complication.

Find out more about CoolSculpting side effects after the procedure, and frequently asked questions about CoolSculpting side effects.


1) Immediately After the CoolSculpting Procedure

After the procedure, you may experience the following temporary symptoms:

  • Redness
  • Firmness
  • Swelling & bloating
  • Numbness
  • Localized bruising
  • Tingling
  • Stinging
  • Mild to moderate pain

These symptoms are normal and will self-resolve. They are caused by prolonged suction and exposure to cold. CoolSculpting utilizes cold therapy, also known as cryolipolysis to freeze fat cells.

These symptoms last from a few minutes to a few hours. They do not require any special treatment.
coolsculpting side effects swelling

2) 3-5 Days after the CoolSculpting Procedure

CoolSculpting side effects can start 3-5 days after the procedure and can last up to a week. Symptoms are generally mild and don’t require medication or time off work or activities.

Symptoms can include:

  • Mild pain
  • Mild bruising
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Cramping
  • Itching
  • Tingling
  • Temporary numbness

Numbness and pain after CoolSculpting are the most common side effects. These are sometimes referred to as ‘fat freezing side effects’ and are generally mild and short lived.
coolsculpting side effects bruising
10-15% of patients experience moderate to severe pain after CoolSculpting.
See our Pain after CoolSculpting page for more details on severe pain after CoolSculpting and how to reduce pain.

3) 2-6 Weeks after the CoolSculpting Procedure

Some CoolSculpting side effects can last for 2- 6 weeks after the procedure. These side effects are normal and related to the cold temperatures associated with freezing fat cells:

  • Numbness
  • Tenderness
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Diarrhea or loose stools – dead fat cells are slowly eliminated by your body

These symptoms are temporary and will subside. It’s important to be patient and let your body heal. Consult your medical professional if these symptoms persist or worsen over time. Individual results may vary.



1. Will I get Frostbite?

In more than 2 million CoolSculpting treatments worldwide, only 1 case of frostbite has been reported. This was most likely down to practitioner error and the frostbite resolved itself without damage or pigmentation to the skin.

CoolSculpting enables precise and controlled cooling, therefore frostbite and skin damage are extremely unlikely. CoolSculpting applicators contain more than three thousand sensors per side, controlling the temperature to freeze and kill fat cells, while leaving surrounding tissue unaffected.

In contrast, unauthorized and cheap ‘At Home Kits’ and ‘DIY Kits’ can cause frostbite. These kits don’t regulate temperature, instead they use ice to deliver cooling – which can cause injury to the skin. (Individual results may vary)

2. Will I get Dimples or Bumps?

Unlike surgical procedures such as liposuction, where too much fat can be removed at one time, CoolSculpting provides a steady and even reduction in the body’s fat layer, hence bumps and dimples should not occur.

However, CoolSculpting is a technique driven treatment. You should chose provider whose results you can trust. If the CoolSculpting applicator is applied incorrectly, in rare cases a divot could occur. (Individual results may vary)

3. Will my Cholesterol Increase?

CoolSculpting eliminates fat from the body through the lymphatic system. Extensive studies have been conducted to analyze blood samples post-treatment, these have not shown changes in cholesterol levels or blood lipid levels.

It is believed the breakdown of fat cells after CoolSculpting is too slow and gradual to affect blood chemistries or liver function. (Individual results may vary)

4. Will I have Skin Laxity?

CoolSculpting does not make skin more lax. This is because CoolSculpting results develop slowly, enabling the skin to contract over time.

Although CoolSculpting isn’t a skin tightening procedure, we have seen good results of skin tightening for patients at our practice with mild skin laxity. This skin laxity has generally either been from previous pregnancies or weight loss.

Patients with more severe skin laxity, such as deflated skin, or ‘tissue paper’ skin are not candidates for CoolSculpting – this type of skin laxity does not contract with CoolSculpting. (Individual results may vary)

5. Will My Results Be Uneven?

CoolSculpting applicators remove heat from the skin at a constant rate, so results should not be uneven. Again, CoolSculpting is a technique driven treatment – you should chose provider whose results you can trust.

In the months following a CoolSculpting treatment, unevenness is normal. A common CoolSculpting side effects is swelling. When the body swells, each side of the body can heal at a different rate. Patients should give their body time to fully heal until final results are evident. (Individual results may vary)

6. Will I get Nerve Damage?

Studies have shown that CoolSculpting is not known to cause long-term nerve damage. Numbness after CoolSculpting is a normal side effect. Numbness can last up to 6 weeks and isn’t associated with nerve damage. (Individual results may vary)

7. Are there Rare Side Effects?

The official CoolSculpting website states that rare side effects can occur. Patients should also not have the CoolSculpting procedure if they suffer from cryoglobulinemia or paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria. (Individual results may vary)

8. Are there any Serious Side Effects?

Serious CoolSculpting side effects are extremely rare. There have been no CoolSculpting cases which have been life-threatening.

Patients complete a medical history form before treatment to ensure they are a candidate for CoolSculpting. We carefully screen patients to rule out underlying conditions or contraindications that could increase serious side effects. (Individual results may vary)

9. Which Areas have more chance of Side Effects?

Treatments using the largest applicator (CoolMax) are the most painful and often have the most prolonged side effects. The CoolMax applicator is used to treat the lower abdomen. Other treatment areas such as the thighs, back, and flanks have milder side effects. (Individual results may vary)

Conclusion: Safe for Most Healthy People

Although CoolSculpting can have side effects, there is much less chance of side effects compared to alternative procedures, such as liposuction and tummy tucks. There are no risks of infection after CoolSculpting, or other side effects associated with surgery, including anesthesia complications, surgical scars or wound care.

While there is a rare risk of complication, CoolSculpting is considered safe for most healthy people. In September of 2010, the FDA deemed CoolSculpting safe and effective for fat reduction. Previous to FDA approval, CoolSculpting had been used in Europe for 5 years. Millions of CoolSculpting treatments have been safely performed worldwide.

A lot of patients actually choose CoolSculpting because of the low chance of serious side effects occurring. Most patients say that the results of CoolSculpting outweigh the discomfort – and say the pain is worth it for the outcome. (Individual results may vary)

Note: Pay attention to your Body

As with any procedure performed, every patient reacts differently. Mild side effects are normal after CoolSculpting, for example, pain, numbness, swelling and itching.

However patients vary in side effects – while many patients experience no side effects, some patients experience the side effects listed above.

Please note, if you’re worried about any side effects, or if your symptoms worsen over time, you should call your provider.

CoolSculpting Contraindications

  • Women who are pregnant, breast feeding or trying to become pregnant
  • Cryoglobulinemia or paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria
  • Cold-sensitive disorders such as cold urticaria or Raynaud’s disease
  • Impaired peripheral circulation in the area to be treated
  • Neuropathic disorders such as post-herpetic neuralgia or diabetic neuropathy
  • Impaired skin sensation
  • Open or infected wounds
  • Bleeding disorders or concomitant use of blood thinners
  • Recent surgery or scar tissue in the area to be treated
  • A hernia or history of hernia in the area to be treated or adjacent to treatment site
  • Skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, or rashes
  • Any active implanted devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators


If you’re worried about any side effects after CoolSculpting, including numbness, moderate, severe discomfort and/or pain, or if symptoms worsen over time, you should call your provider. Information provided here should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultations with a qualified health professional who may be familiar with your individual medical needs.


Individual results may vary.