Is Cryolipolysis / Coolsculpting (Fat Freezing) Effective?

We live in an era in which almost anything is possible in the field of cosmetic surgery.

When Cryolipolysis / CoolSculpting came on the market in 2010, it sounded almost too good to be true.

Freezing and breaking down excess fat cells without surgery and all you have to do is sacrifice an hour of your free time!

Ideal for anyone who wants to lose some excess body fat, but is afraid of liposuction. Isn’t that right?

Is Cryolipolysis really as effective as it is said to be? And is this technique of fat freezing safe? You’ll find out in this article.

What is Cryolipolysis?

Cryolipolysis, also known as cool sculpting, is a treatment method that helps to get rid of excess fat cells under the skin.

This technique for freezing fat is relatively new and differs from cavitation, a treatment method in which fatty acids are removed from the body using low-frequency sound waves.

The technique of fat freezing is based on the fact that fat cells are more sensitive to cold temperature damage than other cells, such as skin cells.

The cold temperature freezes and destroys the fat cells. The injury, caused by the cold temperature, causes an inflammatory reaction through the body. This results in the death of the fat cells.

Macrophages, a type of white blood cells, are sent to the injury area to remove dead fat cells and waste products from the body.

This treatment method was discovered by chance and recently developed by two scientists at Harvard University in the United States. Their technique was based on children eating popsicles. No, this isn’t a joke!

They noticed that children who regularly ate ice lollies more often had small dimples in their cheeks. This was because frequent exposure to cold had removed the fat cells in their cheeks.

This controlled cooling and freezing of fat cells became the basis for a new slimming method.

At the end of 2010, this treatment method of controlled cooling and freezing of fat cells was approved in the European Union. Millions of treatments have now been carried out in more than 80 countries.

Enough background on cool sculpting. Now let’s see exactly how that fat freezing with cryolipolysis works.

How does Cryolipolysis work?

Unlike liposuction, cryolipolysis is a non-invasive treatment method for weight loss. This means that no surgical instruments penetrate the body and that there is no need to cut into the skin.

So you don’t need an anaesthetic and there will be no visible scars as a result of the operation.

It is claimed that a person can lose about 25% unwanted body fat after one treatment session.

The procedure first marks the area concerned and then applies special gel to protect the skin.

Then special equipment is installed to cool the part of your body to a temperature of -4° C.

The procedure freezes and kills fat cells in the part of the body being treated.

This treatment usually lasts one hour, during which the subcutaneous fat cells freeze without affecting the surrounding skin cells.

Where liposuction in the abdominal area can cause pain, this is not the case with cool sculpting. Instead, you can feel the cold equipment sliding over the treatment area. This can be uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t hurt.

As a result, the fat cells are destroyed and broken down. Within a few weeks the dead fat cells should leave the body naturally.

After the area has been treated, the equipment is removed. The area can be massaged for 2 to 3 minutes to help break down the fat cells.

Basically, you don’t have to prepare for the treatment. Eating and drinking before treatment is not a problem. However, it is recommended to wear loose-fitting clothing to facilitate the procedure.

Most people begin to notice the effects of the treatment within a few weeks. But in some cases it can take longer than 1 month before the results are visible. To speed up the weight loss process, it is recommended to drink a lot of water and continue exercising.

It is recommended to wait at least 6-8 weeks after the first treatment session for the next session. This is because it takes some time for damaged fat cells to be removed from the body.

How many cryolipolysis treatments you have to undergo depends on the amount of fat you carry with you and what you hope to achieve.

The benefits of cryolipolysis

Do you want to know the benefits of cryolipolysis?

I’ve listed the main benefits of cryolipolysis treatment for you:

  • Freeze and remove fat without surgery.
  • Treatment method with relatively little risk. There’s no risk of infection. The treatment can be performed outpatient.
  • Different body parts can be treated in the same session.
  • Most people can resume their daily activities after the session.
  • Fat cells that are frozen and destroyed are permanently removed from the body.
  • No need for anesthesia before you undergo the procedure.

The disadvantages of cryolipolysis

Like any slimming treatment, this treatment method of fat freezing also has a number of disadvantages.

A brief list:

  • It is not recommended for obese or extremely overweight people.
  • Results are not immediately visible (it takes a few weeks before you see results).
  • Often multiple treatment sessions needed for results.
  • This new technique of fat freezing is not cheap.
  • Bruising and numbness may occur in the treated area.
  • Weight gain is possible after undergoing cryolipolysis (paradoxical adipose hyperplasia).
  • There is a risk that the surface of the skin will not be smooth after healing (small fat bulges in the abdominal cavity).
  • The eating pattern will also have to be adjusted to maintain the result in the long term.
  • If more than one treatment session is needed, you will have to wait at least 8 weeks until a new treatment can be performed.

Side effects such as red skin, swelling, bruising and numbness in the treated target area may persist for a few days to a few weeks.

Usually these side effects disappear by themselves. If you notice that these symptoms persist much longer or get worse, it is wise to contact a doctor.

Keep in mind that cryolipolysis is a relatively new technique. 

This means that the risks, side effects and complications of this procedure are still unknown in the long term.

Cryolipolysis has also only proven effective on a limited number of body parts:

  • Dijen
  • Abdominal area
  • Under the armpits
  • Under the chin (neck)
  • Billen

Experiences with cryolipolysis

What are the experiences of people who have undergone cool sculpting treatment? I figured it out for you.

What immediately strikes you is that opinions about the cryolipolysis fat removal procedure are rather divided.

Some people reported that the treatment had little effect. While others are excited about cryolipolysis again.

A small selection of the reactions I encountered on the internet:

It’s been 2 years since I’ve had this treatment. I weighed way too much at the time and had a lot of excess fat on my thighs and abdomen. After a few weeks I noticed that my abdominal fat was decreasing a lot…but unfortunately not for long. A few months later I finally thought it would be worth it. Unfortunately, not for long. For me, this treatment was a huge disappointment and a waste of my savings. – Laura

My wedding is planned in a few months and I wanted to lose some weight for the big day. I had my first cryolipolysis session two weeks ago. The procedure went quite smoothly and within an hour I was outside again. My belly felt a little numb at the time. The feeling gradually came back happy again. Unfortunately, I haven’t noticed any changes yet, but I don’t want to be impatient about it. – Erika

I’m quite small and have always been insecure about my thighs that I personally find too fat. When I heard about cool sculpting, I decided to try it myself. I had my first session last month. My experience was good. Depending, I was nervous but the employee put me at ease. I have to say the procedure isn’t painful at all. it feels a little uncomfortable when the equipment is put on my skin. Once at home I did feel some tingling in the area that was being treated. This pain was acceptable. Luckily, I didn’t need any painkillers. I can’t say much about the results at the moment. So far I see a small difference in the way my clothes fit. Pants that used to be too tight around my waist, I can wear now. So far so good. – Sarah

Cool sculpting didn’t do me much good. I’ve tried twice but now I look awful! More than six months ago I had my first cool sculpting treatment. I have a belly with an ugly, wrinkled skin with a weird bulge I never had before. I’ve developed the paradoxical vethyperplasia and I’m very sorry. I’m scared every time I see my belly. – Simone

Price and cost of cryolipolysis

Curious about the price and costs of a cryolipolysis or coolsculpting treatment?

The price may vary as it is offered by different cosmetic clinics in the Netherlands that charge different rates.

It also differs which area (zone) will be tackled. The smaller the treatment area, the lower the costs.

You will understand that treating a smaller area if your double chin is cheaper than treating persistent fat in the abdominal area.

A cryolipolysis session costs between € 700 and € 1400. It also plays a role in how many sessions you do and who carries them out. The number of treatments to be carried out is of course included in the total costs.

Some cosmetic clinics give extra discounts if a person needs multiple cryolipolysis treatments.

Is cryolipolysis dangerous?

Cryolipolysis or cool sculpting is considered a safe way to remove local body fat by freezing.

Cryolipolysis, however, can cause several side effects and is not recommended for everyone.

Cryolipolysis should not be performed on obese or severely overweight people. It should also not be performed on parts of the skin that have severe varicose veins or any kind of skin lesions.

Then you can think of bedsores, fluid lesions, blemishes and skin tears (traumatic lap wound).

People who are hypersensitive to cold (cold-intolerance) are also advised against treatment with cryiolipolysis or cool sculpting.

Below is the list of potential side effects of coolsculpting:

  • Slight swelling
  • Tingly feeling
  • Red skin
  • Itch
  • Muscle cramps
  • Skin Sensitivity
  • Blue spots
  • Dizziness

A common side effect of cool sculpting is a stinging sensation or pain at the treatment site. This feeling can occur after the treatment and can last up to 2 weeks. Presumably, the cold temperature to which the skin and body tissue is exposed is the cause.

A 2015 study evaluated the results of 125 patients who had collectively received more than five hundred cryolipolysis treatments. The results showed that this stinging sensation lasted for a maximum of 11 days after the treatment and passed on by itself.

In some cases, cryolipolysis can cause serious complications.

A very rare but serious side effect of cryolipolysis is paradoxical vethyperplasia or paradoxical adipose hyperplasia.

With this condition, the fat tissue in the treatment area increases instead of decreases. Doctors haven’t figured out why yet.

This condition is most common in men and does not go away on its own. This thickened adipose tissue will have to be removed with a liposuction treatment.


Coolsculpting is for most people a safe treatment for reducing excess fat cells.

It is scientifically proven that this method works. Fat cells that have been frozen and broken down never return.

There are no incisions because the cryolipolysis / coolsculpting treatment method is non-invasive. Therefore, no rest or recovery period is necessary.

However, it is necessary to wait 8 weeks before the next treatment can be carried out. The result of cryolipolysis can become visible after just a few weeks. It is not known what the long-term effects of cool sculpting are.

Potential side effects may occur and in rare cases this treatment method may lead to serious complications.

It is important to remember that cryolipolysis is not a treatment for obesity or obesity. People who are overweight cannot use this treatment method effectively. It is mainly intended for people with problem areas that are already quite slender.

Cool sculpting or cryolipolysis will not be able to correct an unhealthy eating pattern. There are no shortcuts for a slim body if you are not committed to living in a healthy way. For example, healthy weight loss with a healthy and effective low-carbohydrate diet.

So don’t count cool sculpting as a panacea, because it won’t solve all your health problems if you don’t decide to eat healthier and exercise more. If a healthy lifestyle is not started after treatment, the results will be short-lived.

Although this new freezing technique can certainly contribute to fat loss, the results should not be overestimated. More research is also needed to determine the long-term safety and effectiveness of cryolipolysis.

Fan of everything health and fitness related. My mission is to share my knowledge and experience with as many people as possible and help them to find their ideal path to perfect health.

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