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CoolSculpting Side Effects and How to Treat Them

Weight loss isn’t an easy journey for most people – even after months of diet and exercise, many people still find stubborn fat in some parts of their bodies. Although a CoolSculpting treatment is safer than surgical body contouring treatments when eliminating unwanted fat cells, many people are still wary of the CoolSculpting risks they might experience.

So what are the typical side effects of CoolSculpting and how are they treated? A CoolSculpting procedure may cause common but mild complications like temporary pain and skin irritation at the treatment site. Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia is also a rare CoolSculpting risk, but it’s not life-threatening so many patients can still treat them with liposuction.

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Possible Risks and Side Effects of CoolSculpting Treatments

With over 350,000 treatments performed every year, CoolSculpting is a popular body sculpting treatment that’s used as a minimally invasive alternative to liposuction. It uses fat-freezing  technology to help patients get rid of unwanted subcutaneous fat in a process known as cryolipolysis.

What many CoolSculpting patients love about getting this cosmetic procedure is that it gets rid of bra fat and other visible fat bulges even in hard-to-reach areas. The intense cold from the CoolSculpting applicator freezes and kills the treated fat cells. The body eventually breaks down the dead fat cells and eliminates them through the liver. And for better fat removal results, consult with your provider about CoolSculpting Elite.

The dead fat cells won’t return to the treated area, but patients need to maintain a healthy lifestyle and stable weight to maintain their fat reduction results. Serious side effects and complications are highly unlikely as long as the provider follows the CoolSculpting safety guidelines.

But to better prepare CoolSculpting patients for their treatment, the provider should tell them about the following risks and side effects:

1) Pain in the Treatment Area

Pain in the treatment area is normal during the treatment session as the skin is pulled into the applicator. Most patients reported that the pain is tolerable and that the treatment area eventually becomes numb as the CoolSculpting starts to cool the skin and pinchable fat.

However, some patients may also endure this common side effect even after their CoolSculpting session. The pain they experience usually feels like stinging or aching sensations at the treatment site. It’s the result of the intense cold temperatures they experienced during the treatment.

The good news is that post-treatment pain usually only lasts for a few days even without taking pain relief medications. But if the pain bothers you or prevents you from moving comfortably, make sure to talk to the CoolSculpting provider immediately.

2) Temporary Skin Irritation

Temporary skin irritation is a common adverse reaction after a CoolSculpting treatment that usually resolves on its own. Like pain in the treatment site, the skin irritation that CoolSculpting patients may experience is also caused by the extreme cold temperatures from the applicator used in the treatment.

Temporary skin irritation may come in different forms, such as skin discoloration, swelling, skin sensitivity, and bruising. It usually goes away on its own after a few days, but make sure to seek medical help immediately if it persists or worsens. Avoid applying any treatment product on the treatment site unless the doctor said so to avoid complications.

3) Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia

Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH) is a rare but severe complication that about 0.0051% of patients experience after their CoolSculpting treatment. Instead of stubborn fat cells freezing and disintegrating, the fat may expand and harden in the treatment area. The enlarged area is often compared to a stick of butter since it resembles the shape of the CoolSculpting applicator.

Experts are still unsure why PAH happens to some patients, but it’s been found that more men experience this CoolSculpting side effect than women. Although PAH is more of a cosmetic concern than a physically dangerous complication, the hardened lump of fat in the treated area won’t go away on its own.

Since its appearance is a huge concern for most PAH patients, they look for different ways to safely get rid of the enlarged fat cells. However, only corrective liposuction and other surgical procedures are the recommended way to eliminate them. Additionally, patients have to wait for a few months before undergoing liposuction to minimize the risk of PAH recurring.

How Long Do CoolSculpting Side Effects Last?

The duration of CoolSculpting complication depends on the specific side effect that the patient experiences. Common side effects like pain, skin irritation, bruising, swelling, redness, and skin sensitivity may last anywhere from a couple of hours up to a few days. These symptoms don’t usually need medication or intervention, but patients may ask their provider for instruction or a prescription for their discomfort.

On the other hand, serious complications like paradoxical adipose hyperplasia can take months to resolve. The enlarged fat cells may only develop around 2 to 3 months after the initial improvement of the treatment area. Even after the hardened lump of fat in the treatment area shows, patients still need to wait for a few months until they can undergo liposuction to remove it.

Treating CoolSculpting Side Effects

Common side effects of CoolSculpting like pain, skin sensitivity, bruising, and swelling don’t require additional treatments since they go away on their own after a few days. Many providers also advise their patients to avoid pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen since they can increase the risk of side effects.

But for the few patients who experience paradoxical adipose hyperplasia after their CoolSculpting treatment, here are the best procedures to try:

1) Laser Liposuction

Laser liposuction is a minimally invasive fat loss and body sculpting treatment that uses paddle-like applicators to heat the fat cells underneath the skin. This procedure damages the membranes of the fat cells, killing them and allowing the body to flush them out.

What makes laser lipo a good treatment for paradoxical adipose hyperplasia is that it doesn’t carry the same risk of recurrence as corrective CoolSculpting treatment. The laser technology used in this treatment also allows the doctor to reach the stubborn fat cells in both the superficial and deeper layers of the skin. It also works for enlarged fat cells in the hard-to-reach areas of the body.

But the biggest downside to using laser liposuction for PAH is that it takes a bit of time for the final results to show. If the patient prefers to remove the hardened fat immediately, then this treatment method might not be for them

2) Traditional Liposuction

Liposuction is an invasive dermatological surgery that uses suction technology to remove fat from different areas of the body, such as the hips, thighs, abdomen, and more. During the procedure, the plastic surgeon creates an incision in the treatment area where a hollow tube (or cannula) is inserted. The doctor dislodges the fat cells first so it’s easier for the cannula to siphon the fat.

The best thing about traditional liposuction is that it provides permanent fat-reduction results to patients. There’s also a lower risk of PAH recurring, so it’s the most prescribed corrective procedure for the CoolSculpting complication.

But since liposuction is still a type of plastic surgery, it still comes with more risks than minimally invasive options. Patients also have to endure a long recovery time of a few weeks before they can move around comfortably.

Minimizing the Risks of CoolSculpting Treatments

Although most common side effects of CoolSculpting resolve on their own after a few days, patients still find them inconvenient as they finish everyday tasks. Luckily, there are a few ways they can ensure a safe CoolSculpting treatment and minimize the risks that come with it.

  • Find a reputable provider to perform the treatment. An experienced CoolSculpting provider knows what they’re doing so there’s less room for error. Aside from minimizing the risk of complications, they also ensure that you get the best results.
  • Make sure you’re a good candidate for it. CoolSculpting is generally safe for most patients, but those who are diagnosed with certain conditions like cryoglobulinemia should skip the treatment to avoid severe complications.
  • Take note of the provider’s pre-treatment advice. There isn’t much preparation needed for CoolSculpting treatments, but providers still tell their patients to avoid certain things like blood-thinning medications and alcoholic drinks to ensure a safe CoolSculpting treatment.
  • Follow the prescribed aftercare tips. The main purpose of CoolSculpting aftercare is to ensure that the treatment area is taken care of after the procedure. Following these tips helps patients achieve the best results and avoid complications.

Experience the Best CoolSculpting Results at NJ Center for CoolSculpting

CoolSculpting is a popular body sculpting treatment for a good reason – the controlled cooling technology effectively eliminates stubborn fat in hard-to-reach areas without the need for plastic surgery. But like other cosmetic treatments, it also comes with certain side effects that patients need to be wary of.

NJ Center for CoolSculpting is the trusted center that provides the best fat reduction results for patients in New Jersey and other nearby areas. Thanks to our years of experience in the industry, we already mastered the best way to deliver exceptional results without having to worry about serious complications.

Call us today to book an appointment or know more about our CoolSculpting services.

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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