Beauty-Can You Really Freeze Away Fat?


In a tight, body-skimming dress from Vuitton, a friend we hadn’t seen in awhile appeared at a dinner— and it wasn’t just the outfit. From head to toe, she looked amazing. Her eyes and hair were sparkling, her legs seemed to go on forever, her arms graciously wrapped around her really sweet summer purse. We all shouted that she looked incredible, and she smiled. “There was a lot of work going on,” she said. There’s nothing more charming than someone who tells it like it is, rather than claiming to have woken up one day newly sleek and healthy-looking.

The work, she explained, involved all manner of exercise classes—Pilates, Tracy Anderson—and a serious change in diet. “No sugar, low carbs, no cocktails!” she wailed. “A lot of vegetables and a lot of water.”

“And,” she continued, “some CoolSculpting where nothing else worked.” We pressed for specifics. “Okay,” she said. “My stomach, under my chin, and my thigh area.”

Did it hurt? Was there downtime? Not much, and for her, no. She was able to go back to her routine later that day. (For most patients, there is little to no downtime.) Did she notice a difference? An unqualified yes.


“It works!” says Dr. Amy Wechsler, a New York dermatologist whose office has done thousands of CoolSculpting treatments. “You don’t see the results right away—they usually take about three months to show up—but when you do, it can be pretty exciting.” To get those results, most people need to treat the area in question at least twice and, Wechsler says, have the area massaged (not quite as pleasant as it sounds) immediately after treatment.

Wechsler says she gets the best results under the chin and on the abdomen, flanks, bra rolls, and upper arms. “But it’s also great for thighs,” she says.

Dr. Robert Anolik, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the NYU School of Medicine, also loves the technology and sees the best results for his patients on the stomach, love handles, inner thighs, and bra fat areas. “These all tend to work well, I believe because we can trap a substantial quantity of fat into the applicator,” he says.

“Exercise and diet, of course, can make a difference—though they’re not necessary for the technology to work,” says Anolik. “And I find CoolSculpting is incidentally a great motivator for exercise in some of my patients.”

Most people get the best results when they have two treatments, spaced about one to two months apart. “Once your treated fat cells are exposed to CoolSculpting, the treated fat cells solidify, freeze, and then die during the treatment. It takes your body about three months to fully dispose of the treated fat cells, but once they are gone, they are gone for good,” says Wechsler.

Much of what we perceive to be plastic surgery or dermatology gone wrong involves adding something to the face or body (overfilled lips or problematic butt augmentations, for example). But taking something away, whether it’s fat in a stubborn spot or the contour of a feature that’s always bugged us, tends to be a less-obvious tweak. “It’s a safe and effective procedure,” says Anolik. “The treatment has been done more than 8 million times worldwide.” Still, Wechsler notes, get the procedure from someone you trust: “If not done by an experienced practitioner, CoolSculpting can be done improperly,” she says. “We see—and fix—other practitioners’ asymmetries in our office.”

Side effects, both Anolik and Wechsler say, are temporary. “Side effects are redness at the treatment site for a couple of hours, a little swelling for a day or two, and potential numbness or tingling for up to two weeks,” says Wechsler. And depending on whom you go to, you can have multiple areas treated at the same time.

Individual results and experiences may vary.

                      Information from CoolSculpting


The CoolSculpting® procedure is FDA-cleared for the treatment of visible fat bulges in the submental (under the chin) and submandibular (under the jawline) areas, thigh, abdomen, and flank, along with bra fat, back fat, underneath the buttocks (also known as banana roll), and upper arm. It is also FDA-cleaned with submental area treatments to affect the appearance of lax tissue. CoolSculpting is not a weight-loss procedure.


The CoolSculpting procedure is not for everyone.  If you have cryoglobulinemia, cold agglutinin deficiency, or paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria, you should not have the CoolSculpting technique.

Tell your doctor if you have any medical conditions including recent surgery, preexisting hernia, and any known sensitivities or allergies.

You may feel at the treatment site sensations of pulling, tugging, mild pinching, intense cold, tingling, stinging and cramping. As the region is numb, these sensations subside. Typical side effects after the operation include transient redness, swelling, blanching, bruising, firmness, tingling, stinging, tenderness, cramping, scratching, or skin irritation and feeling of fullness in the back of the throat after submandibular or submandibular region treatment.

There may also be rare side effects. CoolSculpting can cause noticeable enlargement in the treated area that can grow two to five months after treatment and needs surgical correction intervention. To learn more about CoolSculpting, visit or ask your doctor if it is right for you.



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