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Is CoolSculpting® Safe?

West County Plastic Surgeons of Washington University recommends CoolSculpting® nonsurgical fat reduction for St. Louis patients who are close to their ideal weight, but who want to slim down by addressing stubborn pockets of fat without surgery. Patients who are new to this approach may have concerns about the safety of the procedure and possible risks or side effects associated with it. The short answer is, yes, clinical studies have proven CoolSculpting® to be generally safe, effective, and low risk. Nevertheless, to ensure that the process runs as smoothly as possible, it’s best to make yourself fully aware of what’s involved. If you decide on CoolSculpting® for fat reduction, your provider can discuss this—and answer other questions you may have—prior to the day of the session.

CoolSculpting® is a type of body-contouring or body-sculpting treatment, meaning it is part of a group of procedures and treatments that alter the shape and proportions of the body by reducing fat, tightening skin, or toning muscle. CoolSculpting® is specifically designed to address fat. It is nonsurgical, meaning there are no scalpels or incisions involved.

This treatment is often described as a “fat freezing” method, as it works by directly targeting and cooling unwanted fat cells to a temperature they are unable to survive. The resulting crystallized, dead cells are eventually processed and disposed of by the body, while surrounding skin and tissues are left unharmed. CoolSculpting® can work on any grabbable rolls or bulges throughout the body, such as a double chin, bra fat, beer gut, love handles, bat wings on the upper arms, or banana roll.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved of CoolSculpting® in late 2010 for removing fat from the flanks. Since then, it has been cleared for additional areas. In the last decade, men and women around the country have undergone millions of treatments. Some patients do experience minor post-procedure side effects like redness, swelling, and bruising. Very rarely, a complication called paradoxical adipose hyperplasia can occur. This is a hardened mass of fat that can be removed via liposuction after a few months—on the rare chance that it develops.

If CoolSculpting® is something you’re interested in, let St. Louis’ West County Plastic Surgeons of Washington University know. We can help you set up a customized plan that meets your needs. Call 314.996.8800, or fill out a contact form for more details.