While the world is busy singing the praises of CoolSculpting, the go-to noninvasive fat elimination technique, you may be wondering if there is more to this story. Yes, CoolSculpting takes as little as 35 minutes in the cosmetic surgeon’s office. Yes, there are no incisions or sutures. Yes, CoolSculpting requires little to no downtime so patients can return to work and normal responsibilities the same day. Yes, one treatment offers a 20-25% reduction in fat. So, what about the recovery, and most importantly, what kind of side-effects can be expected after a CoolSculpting session?
The Side-Effects from CoolSculpting
Like you already know, CoolSculpting uses cold temperatures to ‘freeze’ away fat cells without surgery. No incisions mean a much lower risk for side-effects and serious post-procedure complications. However, there may be mild, temporary side-effects that anyone having the noninvasive technique needs to be aware of.
Starting with the CoolSculpting treatment itself, the target area may be gently pulled or suctioned before the cool down begins. After the session, as the area then comes back to a normal body temperature, the location may feel uncomfortable. Your provider will give it a soft massage, as the numbness wears off from the chilling temperature.
Immediately after CoolSculpting, the treatment area may be:
- Lightly bruised
- Mildly painful
All of these side-effects, including light bruising, redness, mild pain, and a tingling or stinging sensation are normal. Over the next 30 minutes to two hours, these issues will slowly disappear. For some patients, however, the tenderness, bruising, and continued numbness or tingling can linger for up to a week. This is again common, as the body’s inflammatory processes is working overtime to eliminate the damaged fat cells. Cramps, stinging, and itching along the treatment site are the result of nerves waking up after being ‘frozen’, leaving patients with a pins-and-needles sensation.
In extremely rare cases, a few patients may experience a hyperpigmentation or skin discoloration along the treatment site. This, too, is temporary and will slowly improve on its own. There have been a few reported cases of a CoolSculpting treatment worsening a preexisting hernia, so while this is unusual, it is important tell your doctor about any health issues you have before beginning CoolSculpting.
What CoolSculpting Does Not Do
One common patient concern is that the freezing temperatures used during a CoolSculpting treatment will result in frostbite. This is not the case and should not be a worry. CoolSculpting does bring the tissues temperature down to a very low temperature, but the applicator/machine is fitted with cutting-edge sensors and temperature controls to keep patients completely safe. CoolSculpting does not result in any serious or long-lasting complications.
Tips for a Comfortable CoolSculpting Recovery
Although the side-effects from CoolSculpting are generally mild and resolve in a day or two, there are a few things you can do to help during your recovery.
- Comfortable Clothing – As the treatment area may be sensitive for a few days, wear loose-fitting clothing that does pinch or pull on your skin.
- Shapewear – While the opposite of loose clothing, the support from compression garments or shapewear can make some patients more comfortable. These garments can also minimize swelling by increasing blood flow to the area.
- Ice Pack or Heat – An intermittent ice pack can relieve mild swelling and reduce pain. Additionally, some patients are comforted by the warmth of a heated towel on the treatment area.
- Water – Drinking lots of water is an essential aide to the body’s lymphatic system, which will be working to flush away the damaged fat cells after a treatment.
- Antihistamines – Allergy medications, such as Benadryl or Allegra, can help to resolve itching.
- Tylenol – Tylenol can help with post-treatment pain and is safe, as it is not an anti-inflammatory medication. Avoid anti-inflammatory pain medications, such as Advil and Motrin. Talk to your provider about the right over-the-counter medications for your needs.
- Sleep – Rest is the best present you can give your body during the recovery period. Be sure to get enough sleep at night, as this will help your body heal faster and be better equipped to deal with any other side-effects from treatment.
If you have more questions about the potential side-effects during your CoolSculpting recovery period, just ask. Call Mirror Mirror Beauty Boutique 832.975.0604 to have all of your CoolSculpting questions answered. We can even assist you in arranging for a free, confidential CoolSculpting consultation.