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Is CoolSculpting Painful? What To Expect After The Fat Freezing Treatment

CoolSculpting is one of the most in-demand non-surgical fat reduction procedures in the aesthetic industry today. It’s becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to liposuction, helping patients achieve fat loss and body contouring without the risks and complications of going under the knife. Still, this fat-freezing treatment comes with possible side effects and one of them is experiencing pain after the procedure.

So how common is it to have pain after a CoolSculpting session? The majority of CoolSculpting patients may experience mild discomfort and pain immediately after the treatment. It’s a common reaction to the controlled cooling and the suction of the fatty tissues from the CoolSculpting applicator. It can also be accompanied by numbness, tingling, aching, bruising, tenderness, and itchiness. 

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What Does CoolSculpting Feel Like?

CoolSculpting is a fat removal treatment that uses cryolipolysis technology. The main idea behind this cosmetic procedure is that fat cells are more vulnerable when exposed to cold temperatures. Once the unwanted fat cells are frozen, they’re processed by the lymphatic system and eliminated from the body for good.

During the procedure, the provider uses a CoolSculpting machine that has a suction mechanism to pull the fatty layer into the cooling applicator. You can feel a slight pinching or tugging sensation as the device draws the area of stubborn fat into the cooling cup. You’ll then feel an intense cold as the device freezes the excess fat cells. As a result, you may experience temporary numbness throughout the CoolSculpting procedure.

Does CoolSculpting Hurt During The Procedure?

Since it’s a low-risk procedure, there’s no need for anesthesia and you’ll be awake throughout the entire session. For this reason, it’s normal to feel minimal pain during the fat freezing procedure, especially as the CoolSculpting machine suctions the layer of fatty tissue into the cooling applicator.

The pain may be more noticeable during the first few minutes of freezing the fat cells but it will generally subside once the skin becomes numb. It’s hard to tell exactly how painful CoolSculpting can be since every patient has different tolerance levels. But what you can expect is that the cooling sensation can feel slightly uncomfortable during the procedure.

Rest assured that the treatment won’t hurt or damage your skin and the surrounding tissue — the applicators that providers use, such as CoolSculpting Elite, are generally safe for removing fat deposits and noticeable bulges. Additionally, the cooling systems have built-in safety detectors that can monitor the skin temperature and would automatically turn off to avoid possible freeze burn during the procedure.

How Long Does Pain Last After CoolSculpting? 

The pain from CoolSculpting may last anywhere from 5 to 14 days. It may also be accompanied by other side effects such as bruising, itching, skin firmness, cramps, swelling, tingling, increased skin sensitivity, and numbness in the treatment area. These reactions can generally resolve within 1 to 2 weeks as your body recovers from the procedure.

Incidences of serious complications, like nerve damage or paradoxical adipose hyperplasia, are rare. Delayed onset pain may sometimes be a sign of nerve damage and require immediate medical attention. Generally, providers may recommend some medications to treat late-onset pain.

On the other hand, paradoxical adipose hyperplasia is an uncommon complication of CoolSculpting. It’s characterized by the appearance of enlarged and hardened fatty tissue on the treated area. This unusual mass of swelling or lump may sometimes feel painful to the touch. While it’s not physically harmful, the overgrowth of fatty tissue may be uncomfortable and require liposuction to be removed.

How Many People Experience Pain After CoolSculpting? 

Immediate pain and discomfort after the treatment may happen to the majority of CoolSculpting patients. The good thing is that they’re usually short-lived and can resolve on their own. They can also respond well to over-the-counter painkillers and other home remedies.

Meanwhile, delayed onset pain can affect about 10% to 15% of fat-freezing patients. Its symptoms may start showing within 5 days after the treatment and last up to 2 weeks. Doctors can recommend using a compression garment and taking medications to ease the discomfort from late-onset nerve pain.

How to Relieve Pain After CoolSculpting: Best Aftercare Tips

Initial results from CoolSculpting may be seen within 3 weeks after the procedure, but its full effects won’t be noticeable until 4 to 6 months once the treated fat cells are excreted from the body.

As you wait to see the improvements, there are aftercare measures that you can follow to help manage your pain and possibly speed up your CoolSculpting results. These tips include:

  • Rest your body after the treatment and wait for at least 24 to 48 hours before you start exercising again.
  • Take an over-the-counter painkiller to manage swelling, soreness, and pain from the treatment.
  • Drink plenty of water to help get rid of the dead fat cells and manage other vasovagal symptoms from the procedure.
  • Wear comfortable, loose clothes after the procedure.
  • Massage the treated area gently to assist in the breakdown of the fatty layer and improve your results.
  • Don’t drink alcohol and avoid smoking to prevent persistent swelling and bruising after the treatment.
  • Use a warm compress to reduce pain and other CoolSculpting side effects and improve blood flow to help you resume your normal day-to-day activities faster.
  • Follow a regular exercise routine and maintain a healthy diet to avoid gaining excess weight and body fat after CoolSculpting.

Get Rid of Your Excess Fat With Safe CoolSculpting Treatments at NJ Center for CoolSculpting

CoolSculpting is an excellent body contouring and fat reduction treatment that isn’t as painful and risky as plastic surgery. It’s purely an aesthetic procedure for fat loss, but its results may serve as a motivation for you to kickstart your weight loss journey. 

NJ Center for CoolSculpting is one of the premier med spas for safe and effective fat removal procedures. We have a team of world-class doctors and highly trained staff members who can create a customized treatment plan and give you a comfortable CoolSculpting experience. Call us today to book your consultation and learn more about our CoolSculpting treatment.

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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