Products get free shipping over $75, or $6 flat rate across Canada!
We're open! Learn more
CoolSculpting procedure female patient fat removal on stomach

What to expect before, during and after a CoolSculpting® treatment

Jump to:

CoolSculpting® can be a bit of a mystery when looking at its billboards and ads. You’ll hear phrases like, “freeze your fat away!”, puns about being “cool,” or the term, “cryolipolysis.” You’ll also hear that it is an “alternative to liposuction,” and that it is “non-invasive.”

But, knowing the pain and patience that many beauty procedures require, you may be skeptical. You may cautiously ask whether it really works, how it feels and what its potential side effects are. These are great questions, and we’re here to answer them for you!

In this article, we’ll explain what to expect before, during and after a CoolSculpting® treatment.

You will also want to check out our other pages about CoolSculpting® and fat removal:

A little note before we get started:

We are a Vancouver-area clinic (in Surrey) offering CoolSculpting® fat removal treatments to patients from around the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and even from Washington, USA.

In our 10 years performing this cosmetic procedure, we’ve seen its results on several patients. Different people respond differently to this treatment, at all of its stages. So while we can give you the general gist of what to expect, know that there will always be ‘outlier’ cases that differ.

Back to top

What happens before a CoolSculpting® treatment?

CoolSculpting consultation male fat removal assessment

The first step to any CoolSculpting® fat removal treatment is a thorough consultation. CoolSculpting® is a science, and an art. The technician who will be working on your body contours will need to learn about your history with weight gain or loss, your health and your body goals.

They will also take measurements and photos of your body in its current state.

Most importantly, they will assess your fat, to ensure it is eligible for CoolSculpting® (fat must be ‘soft’ and ‘pinchable’ to work with this technology). If your fat is ‘hard,’ at our clinic, we can offer other options for fat removal.

During this consultation, the CoolSculpting® procedure will be explained in full. Any questions you have will also be answered. People can be nervous about CoolSculpting®, even though they know it is not surgical, and no ‘blood’ or ‘cutting’ is involved. This is normal, so don’t be shy! We’d rather you feel prepared, than nervous!

Afterwards, a technician will present you with options for a treatment plan, as well as pricing. If you opt for a package at our clinic, you can save on your treatment costs. If you need a payment plan, we can also help you with financing applications using third-party providers.

If you are ready to move forward, it will be time to book your first treatment session!

Back to top

What happens during a CoolSculpting® session?

Providing patient with blanket and pillow during CoolSculpting procedure

During your CoolSculpting® appointment, you will be advised to change clothes into something that can get a little wet and sticky from the gel that is used during the procedure. This gel will wash out with water, don’t worry. However, you may want something loose and dry to leave the office with.

Pen markings will be made on the treatment area, which will be determined for your body shape. More specifically, these markings are made on the edge of where your fat bulges outward when squeezed. They will act as a guide to where the applicator will be placed.

You will be asked to lay down on a treatment bed. You’ll be given pillows and blankets to get comfortable.

A cold, wet, disposable cloth covered in ‘gel’ will be applied to the treatment area. Then, the suction applicator will be placed over it. It will ‘squeeze’ your fat, pulling it towards the handpiece with a vacuum-like force.

For a great primer on the experience of CoolSculpting®, we recommend watching this YouTube video by Mixed Makeup.

Back to top

How long does CoolSculpting® take?

CoolSculpting procedure applicator being placed on lower stomach for fat removal

CoolSculpting® sessions can take 1 to 2 hours for each “cycle.” A “cycle” refers to a single applicator being used on a treatment area, and running its full treatment length. Oftentimes, a cycle lasts for 35 minutes. At most, it can take 1 hour. It always depends on the area being treated.

However, in addition to the cycle time, there will be before and after steps to prepare and wrap up your treatment session.

Some people choose to book multiple cycles in a single session. This can be done when treating multiple areas of the body. For example, the left and right ‘love handles,’ the left and right upper arms and the chin would count as five cycles.

The more cycles that are completed in a single session, the longer the appointment will be. Some patients can be in session for 4 hours, or more. Others can be out in 1 to 2 hours.

Back to top

What does CoolSculpting® feel like?

CoolSculpting applicator being used on abdomen during fat removal procedure

Most people say that CoolSculpting® is not painful. However, it does slightly pinch while the handpiece ‘sucks’ your fat outward.

And, it definitely feels cold! No lies there! It feels like an ice pack that you can’t remove from your body for about 10 minutes, according to this YouTuber. So, that part can feel a little… well, uncomfortable (but not painful).

After about 10 minutes, the area goes numb, and you shouldn’t feel anything for the rest of the cycle.

At this point, most people read, use an iPad or take a nap. If a friend is with you, you can also have a chit chat!

When the cycle is done, the applicator is slowly swiveled off your body as it releases its ‘sucking’ power. The area will look red, of course. It will also look like the shape of the applicator mould. Some people find this gross or weird, but it’s totally expected.

Patients testify that the worst part of CoolSculpting® is the massage that the technician does to the treatment area after the applicator is removed. Since your fat is ‘defrosting’ while also being spread and pushed back into shape, it feels awkward. It also gives a stinging sensation due to the temperature change.

This part goes by quickly though, within 10 minutes.

The massage is an important part of the CoolSculpting® process. It actually creates more cell death by forcing blood back into the area. In short: it increases the effectiveness of your treatment.

Remember also that, while the machine is doing its work, a lot of pressure is being applied to the treatment area, in order to target and freeze fat effectively. Some people may get dizzy or nauseated. This is totally normal, and doesn’t last long.

Back to top

What happens after a CoolSculpting® treatment?

CoolSculpting testimonial no pain no downtime overlay image

Immediately after a CoolSculpting® treatment, you may feel swollen, tingly, numb or itchy in the treatment area. However, this is a non-surgical, no downtime treatment. Most people return to work and daily life activities right away.

We would advise that for about two days afterwards, you don’t do heavy exercise, nor sit in a hot tub, or do anything to get ‘hot,’ basically. You should also drink plenty of water and get rest. Avoid Advil, alcohol, or other blood-thinning agents, since they can make bruising worse (if there is any). Loose clothing may help, just to keep the treatment area ‘relaxed’ a bit.

You will be shown how to massage your treatment area to get better results, and to reduce any tingling or pain sensations (see more below).

Back to top

When will I see results from CoolSculpting®?

CoolSculpting results of lower abdomen fat removal before and after

The next part of the CoolSculpting® process is probably the hardest. It’s the waiting. Frozen, dead, fat cells need to be removed from your body through the liver and lymphatic system. This takes time. How long? Usually between 6 weeks to a few months.

Eventually those dead fat cells will be excreted in your urine (but it’s not like you’ll see globs of fat in your toilet bowl!).

As your body slowly gets rid of the fat cells that were affected by your CoolSculpting® treatment, you’ll begin seeing fat reduction.

So, this is not something you do the weekend before a wedding or big event. It’s also not something you do in summer, to get a summer body. It needs to be planned well in advance for those things.

The best time for most people to get CoolSculpting® done is usually in winter. Though, there is no ‘rule’ about it; you can schedule appointments any time of year.

Back to top

What if I don’t see any change from my CoolSculpting® treatments?

how coolsculpting works diagram - way to freeze fat cells for non-surgical liposuction

During the waiting period, it can feel like nothing is happening. It can be that gradual. However, before-and-after photos of your treatment should indicate how well the technology worked on you. People can be surprised when they see the differences in these photos, even if the ‘science’ is happening on their own body.

Some people claim CoolSculpting® didn’t do much to change their body fat. In these cases, many factors can be at play.

For example, it may be that their fat was actually more sagging skin (such as from after surgery). They may not have changed their lifestyle habits that created weight gain in the first place. Or, their body type simply didn’t respond to cryolipolysis. Even more likely, they may need a second or third treatment, to start seeing significant change.

Everyone is different. But CoolSculpting® is well-documented to work on most people. There’s no doubt about that.

Also, remember that CoolSculpting® is not meant to provide dramatic changes, nor is it a weight loss strategy. It is a body sculpting solution. When we’re talking about “results,” we mean losing about 1 to 2 inches on a focused treatment area (though, some can lose more or less).

Back to top

Will there be side effects from CoolSculpting®?

Most people don’t experience long-term side effects from CoolSculpting®. The most common occurrences are explained in our article titled, “Is CoolSculpting® right for you? Here are 7 things to consider

As noted above, the first one to two weeks after a treatment session, patients feel swelling, numbing, tingling or itching. This is expected, and is a normal reaction to have from the extreme temperature changes. Your body will also be working to get rid of dead cells, which can create an inflammatory response.

More severe side effects are quite rare, or they have to do with pre-existing conditions, such as cryoglobulinaemia, cold agglutinin disease, or paroxysmal cold haemoglobinuria. If you don’t know what those are, then it’s unlikely you have them!

But, if you have any pre-existing conditions or allergies that you know of, you should bring them up with your provider, before undergoing CoolSculpting® (or any fat removal). Mention all medications, pace makers, implants and anything to do with health.

Back to top

What about injections to melt fat after CoolSculpting®?

Some clinics offer a so-called, ‘booster shot’ to melt extra fat after a CoolSculpting® treatment. However, there are no clinical studies to prove that this works. Not all clinics offer it, and if they do, it may affect the price of your treatment, anyway. We would say it is not necessary, but not harmful if done responsibly, either.

However – and this is important – only medical professionals should be injecting needles into your body! Please be aware that it’s not safe to have ‘fly by night’ practitioners giving you these types of shots, even if they claim they contain vitamins or ‘healthy’ ingredients.

Back to top

CoolSculpting® is an easy body sculpting method with a clear safety profile, and very little pain!

Woman in black tight dress after CoolSculpting concept

We hope our advice above has helped you in your decision about whether or not to opt for CoolSculpting®. Since it’s relatively new to the medical aesthetic industry, not many people know about it, or how it works. However, there is usually less to worry about with this procedure, than with traditional surgery.

CoolSculpting® is not nearly as painful as surgery, nor is it as painful as other technological tools used in aesthetics. It’s also been studied for safety and efficacy. It’s an easy way to sculpt contours of your body where ‘stubborn fat’ is bothering you.

If you have more questions, we encourage you to book a consultation at our Surrey clinic (near Vancouver, B.C.). We’d be happy to learn more about your case, and make recommendations that we think will work on you.

CoolSculpting® is not the only fat removal technology we have on hand. This gives us greater flexibility in meeting the individual needs of our patients. Contact us today!

Back to top

Note: CoolSculpting® results can not be guaranteed. Results can vary from person to person. Pricing is subject to change at any time.

Back to top

what to expect before during and after CoolSculpting treatments - article pinterest image

Get customized Vancouver laser, skin and body services!

From Botox®, fillers, skin rejuvenation, body sculpting, sweat treatments and more, we have the medical aesthetic services you're looking for!

Choose a reputable, doctor-led med-spa in Surrey (near Vancouver, B.C.).

Access over 50 customizable treatments, using over 20, up-to-date cosmetic technologies.

You won't be disappointed! Our clients drive to us from all over the Lower Mainland, including from North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Richmond, Delta (Tsawwassen and Ladner) Burnaby, White Rock, Langley, Aldergrove, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Abbotsford, Chilliwack and even as far as Bellingham, USA.

Our doctor's training, association memberships and media appearances have included:

Our awards have included: