CoolSculpting® Treatment Sessions: What to Expect

CoolSculpting is a favorite with our San Diego and La Jolla-area patients, but there are still lots of people who haven’t yet given it a try. One big reason many people feel “on the fence” about trying CoolSculpting is that “freezing the fat” can sound intimidating, and they simply don’t know what to expect.

Here’s how a CoolSculpting visit goes at our practice, from start to finish.

  1. Consultation: If it’s your first time seeing us for CoolSculpting, we’ll need to begin with a quick consultation to make sure the procedure is right for you. This includes a physical examination of your desired treatment areas, as well as an overview of your medical history. If we determine that CoolSculpting is right for you, we can go ahead and perform the treatment during the same appointment, or you may certainly schedule your treatment session for a subsequent visit.
  2. Application of protective gel pad: The treatment session itself starts with the application of a gel pad, which acts as a buffer between your skin and the treatment applicator. It helps to regulate the temperature of the treatment and protect your skin. As the name suggests, the gel pad is cool and moist.
  3. Cryolipolysis®: Your provider places the applicator over the gel pad and begins the “fat freezing” portion of treatment that causes the cells to break down. The CoolSculpting applicator uses suction to keep your treatment area in place, so you’ll feel that sensation followed by a sensation of intense cold. (The only exception to this is the treatment of “non-pinchable” areas of fat, such as the outer thighs. These areas require the use of a different applicator that doesn’t use suction.)After a few minutes, the treatment area goes numb, and you can comfortably relax, read, or even take a nap while the treatment goes to work. Depending on the treatment area(s) you have decided on, this step may last up to a couple of hours. In this video from Fox 5, you can watch me perform a real CoolSculpting treatment on the air.
  4. The massage: After the procedure is complete, your treated area will be red and swollen. Some people compare it to a “stick of butter” just beneath the skin for the raised rectangular look that results. To help reduce this effect, your provider massages the treated area, redistributing the fat. From here, your body does the rest of the work naturally, removing fat cells slowly over time.
  5. Scheduling your next visit: Once your treatment is complete, you have the option to schedule your next one before you leave. While many people are satisfied with their results after 1 treatment, more significant areas of fat may require a series of treatments. We will give you our recommendations during your consultation.

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