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CoolSculpting: How Long Do They Leave Plates on Skin?

CoolSculpting is a popular body contouring and fat reduction treatment that gives patients the body shape they want even without plastic surgery. Although the procedure is relatively simple, it’s still important for people to know every important detail about the treatment so they can be prepared for its risks and possible outcomes.

So how long should the CoolSculpting applicator stay in the treatment area to eliminate unwanted fat cells? The time needed for each CoolSculpting session varies depending on the specific treatment area, but most of them only take about an hour to complete. CoolSculpting is safe enough that leaving the cooling plate for too long won’t cause serious side effects, but it won’t have additional benefits either.

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CoolSculpting 101: How Long Are the Devices Left on the Skin?

With over 8 million treatments performed worldwide, CoolSculpting is a great alternative to cosmetic surgery when it comes to removing fat bulges that can’t be eliminated with a healthy diet and regular exercise. CoolSculpting results are permanent, as long as patients maintain a healthy lifestyle and don’t experience sudden weight changes.

Since CoolSculpting doesn’t require surgery, providers only use controlled cooling plates to freeze and destroy the subcutaneous fat in the upper arm, thigh, stomach, double chin, and other body parts. Each treatment session usually takes around 35 to 60 minutes to work and patients can return home on the same day.

a) How Does CoolSculpting Work for Unwanted Fat

A CoolSculpting procedure is based on a fat-freezing mechanism known as cryolipolysis. This refers to the use of cellular response to cold that breaks down the fatty tissue in the problem areas. What’s great about this minimally invasive body sculpting treatment is that it gets rid of the stubborn fat in the area without affecting the surrounding tissue, muscle, or nerve.

CoolSculpting patients usually require multiple treatment sessions to achieve the best results. During each session, a CoolSculpting applicator is put on the skin’s surface to suction the pinchable fat in the inner thighs, abdomen, arms, or other treatment areas. These applicators have cooling plates that slowly decrease the temperature to destroy the fat cells.

After the procedure, the dead fat cells are sent to the body’s lymphatic system where they’re filtered out as waste over the next few weeks. CoolSculpting results are permanent since the removed fat cells won’t return there. However, new fat cells may still form in the treated areas, so patients should maintain a healthy lifestyle and stable weight.

b) How Long Do CoolSculpting Sessions Take for Each Body Part?

CoolSculpting is a revolutionary cosmetic treatment that eliminates excess fat in almost every body part. Each CoolSculpting session takes around 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the treatment area.

Most patients need multiple treatment sessions to achieve the best results for their bodies. But note that it’s also possible to “overtreat” an area, resulting in a dent that looks disproportionate to its surrounding areas. To find out how many treatment sessions are needed to reach your body goals, make sure to consult an experienced CoolSculpting provider.

Treatment AreaCoolSculpting DurationRecommended Number of Treatment Sessions
Flanks or love handlesAbout 35 minutesUp to 3 sessions
Stomach or abdomenBetween 35 to 60 minutesUp to 2 sessions
Inner thighAbout 35 minutes1 session
Outer thighAbout 35 minutes1 session
Submental area (double chin)About 45 minutesUp to 2 sessions

c) What Happens if the CoolSculpting Device is Left for Too Long?

CoolSculpting Elite and regular CoolSculpting applicators are designed to avoid damaging the treatment areas in case the cooling plates are left for too long, but there is no information about what might happen if this is the case. Additional CoolSculpting duration also won’t have additional benefits for the body, so it’s best to just follow the recommended treatment time.

An experienced plastic surgeon or provider stays with the patient throughout the process to ensure that they’re comfortable at all times. They also assess how many treatment sessions are needed to achieve the best results without overtreating the patient and causing a dent to appear on their skin.

Possible Side Effects of CoolSculpting

Like other cosmetic procedures, CoolSculpting also comes with certain risks and side effects that patients should be aware of. Most of the common side effects are mild so they go away on their own, but patients should still contact a healthcare professional if they worsen or persist.

Before trying CoolSculpting treatments, patients must make sure that they’re a good candidate for this type of fat reduction procedure first. Patients who are pregnant and those who are sensitive to cold temperatures should skip this treatment to avoid serious complications and side effects.

It’s also important to remember that CoolSculpting shouldn’t be treated as a weight loss treatment – patients only seem like they lost a lot of weight because of their improved figure.

Common and Short-Term

What many patients love about CoolSculpting is that it offers minimal discomfort and recovery time. But some side effects may still occur, such as:

1) Pulling Sensations

Tugging or pulling sensations are commonly felt by patients during the CoolSculpting treatment. They happen in the treatment area where the skin is placed between the cooling plates as the fat cells are frozen. According to most patients, these pulling sensations are tolerable enough to endure for a few minutes before the skin feels numb.

2) Stinging or Aching in the Treated Area

Since CoolSculpting uses extremely cold temperatures to destroy the subcutaneous fat, it’s normal for some patients to feel a tingling or stinging feeling in the treatment area. This is the body’s normal response to cold and they usually subside after a few hours, days, or weeks.

3) Redness, Bruising, and Swelling

Swelling, bruising, and redness in the treated areas are also normal after a CoolSculpting session. They usually go away on their own after a few days, but some aftercare tips can help soothe the discomfort they bring. The provider may recommend taking pain relief medications, so make sure to only take them as directed.

Rare and Serious

Although serious side effects are extremely rare for CoolSculpting, they can still happen to a small portion of treated patients. Here are some of them:

1) Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia

CoolSculpting works by freezing the fat cells and letting the body flush them out naturally. But in some rare cases, the fat cells develop thicker and firmer walls resulting in the appearance of a stiff bulge in the treated areas. This condition is known as paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH) and it usually looks like a “stick of butter” because it mimics the shape of the CoolSculpting applicator.

PAH is an extremely rare side effect of CoolSculpting that has an incidence rate of 0.0051%. The good news is that it’s more of a cosmetic dermatology concern instead of a medical one, so it’s not life-threatening. However, many people find its appearance unpleasant so they get it treated immediately using surgical or laser-assisted liposuction.

2) Subcutaneous Induration

Subcutaneous induration is the appearance of generalized hardness or discrete nodules around the treated area. It usually develops because of poor lymphatic drainage after the treatment session. It’s also accompanied by pain and discomfort, so the provider may recommend taking pain medications to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. This side effect usually takes a couple of weeks to go away.

Are CoolSculpting Side Effects Reversible?

Fortunately, most side effects of CoolSculpting go away on their own without the need for medications or medical intervention. They take a few days or weeks to subside and it’s crucial to let the treated areas fully heal first before the next CoolSculpting session.

For the few patients that develop PAH after their CoolSculpting treatment, they can consult a plastic surgeon about surgical or laser-assisted liposuction to reverse its symptoms. But before treating PAH, patients have to wait about 6 to 9 months first to let the stiff fat deposits soften. Skipping this waiting period might only increase the chance of PAH recurring.

What to Expect and How to Prepare for Your First CoolSculpting Treatment

CoolSculpting treatments are safe and convenient, so even first-time patients don’t need extensive preparation for their appointment. But to minimize the risk of side effects and complications, it’s important to read about the treatment so you know what to expect. Doing this also allows you to find the best provider to perform the treatment for you.

On the day of the appointment, make sure to wear comfortable and loose clothing. Patients have different treatment times based on the size and number of treatment areas. During the procedure, patients may sleep, read, or just relax. After the procedure, the provider massages the treated areas to increase blood flow, break down the excess fat cells, and improve the fat reduction results.

Patients may also return home on the same day since the treatment doesn’t require a long downtime. They should also follow the provider’s aftercare tips to minimize the risk of serious complications and ensure the best results.

Eliminate Unwanted Fat Without Surgery at NJ Center for CoolSculpting

CoolSculpting is a safe, effective, and quick fat reduction procedure that uses cooling plates to destroy the fat cells in the treatment areas. The devices used for this treatment are designed to protect the skin and body from the adverse effects of extreme cold, so there won’t be much problem even if the applicator is left too long on the skin.

But at NJ Center for CoolSculpting, all of our staff are attentive to each patient’s needs, and we’ll make sure that the device only stays on your skin as required. We’re the trusted center for fat-freezing treatments, and you can rely on us to give you what you need for your specific concerns. Call us now to book an appointment.

Freeze Away Your Stubborn Fat Like Never Before

Up to 25% Fat Reduction With CoolSculpting: Treat Yourself Today!


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What Our Clients Say About Us

  • "The treatment itself was not uncomfortable. Afterwords, I felt great. I didn't really notice anything for about 30 days. After day 30 until about a month later, I started noticing that my favorite jeans were not as tight anymore. I wasn't having to suck in to get them buttoned. And by that two month period after my CoolSculpting

    Lesley Hamilton

    Age 41

  • "It's subtle at first, and then a month later you look and go, "Wow - It really did something!" It really moved the bar for me, and I'm feeling better about myself already. It feels so good to put on anything and know I look as good as I've ever looked. And I didn't say that or feel that when I was in my 20's, 30's, and 40's."

    Anne McMarthy

    Age 56

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