AFTER COOLSCULPTING – WHAT YOU SHOULD DO AFTER COOLSCULPTING TREATMENT TO MAXIMIZE COMFORT AND RESULTS. HERE’S A QUICK GUIDE TO WHETHER YOUR PROCEDURE WILL HURT, WHAT TO EXPECT, AND HOW TO DEAL WITH AFTERCARE.
Is CoolSculpting Painful?
Before we go into aftercare and what to expect, let’s address one of your biggest fears. In plain English, CoolSculpting is the process of freezing fat cells. Freezing the fat cells forces them to break down, at which point your body eliminates them as waste. This is done by using a vacuum applicator to bring the skin into contact with the cooling panels.
Basically, you’re forcing fat cells into cell death.
So…Does It Hurt?
This brings us back to our original question: Is CoolSculpting Painful? No!
Remember that cold panels are being applied to your skin. Think of it like putting an ice cube against bare skin, or numbing an area with a cold compress. It’s not necessarily pleasant at first, but that’s mostly because your skin needs to adjust to the temperature difference.
According to the manufacturer, you may feel a slight sensation of tingling or stinging at the beginning of the procedure, but this subsides once the area becomes numb.
Now, keep in mind that everyone has a different pain tolerance. Most people aren’t at all bothered, but some people don’t tolerate pain very well and will have more discomfort than others. Again, this subsides once your skin becomes numb to the sensation, usually in 5 to 10 minutes at most.
In fact, patients are always told to bring along something to do–treatments take about an hour, and once you get used to the cold, you’ll need something to while away the time.
What to Expect After CoolSculpting
After CoolSculpting, your body works to eliminate the dead fat cells naturally, the same way it eliminates any other dead cell.
To be clear, CoolSculpting is not a weight loss procedure. It’s not a cosmetic cellulite treatment. It’s a treatment designed to remove stubborn fat areas that won’t go away with diet and exercise.
The vast majority of patients have minimal discomfort following the procedure.
That said, your body is healing, so you will feel some minor discomfort associated with it. Some people’s bodies are louder about it than others. Some patients have reported:
- Tenderness to the touch
- A deep itch sensation
- Minor numbness
These are all standard for the procedure–your skin is waking back up after an hour spent under constant cold. Think of how your hands feel after coming in from the cold and you have the right idea.
Again, keep in mind that everyone has different pain tolerances. What one person considers uncomfortable might not even register to someone else. It depends on the person.
There are some rare side effects or cases where patients had extended pain, but again, these are rare exceptions and are more indicative of one person’s body reacting negatively. If you experience intense side effects or side effects that don’t go away after two weeks, talk to your doctor right away.
With all of that said, keep in mind that good aftercare can help reduce any lingering side effects you may experience.
Since CoolSculpting is a nonsurgical procedure, you don’t have to worry about caring for surgical incisions or antibiotics or anything of the kind. But there are certain things you can do to help reduce any discomfort you may feel.
Wear Loose, Comfortable Clothes
First, it’s a good idea to wear loose, comfortable clothes, especially in the first few days after treatment.
Many patients experience minor swelling after the procedure. This is normal, though your swelling may be worse if your body bloats or swells easily.
Regardless, you will not want to go home and squeeze into skinny jeans. Besides, your skin is still waking back up from an hour of icing and will not be too pleased by this turn of events.
So do yourself a favor and wear loose, soft clothing.
Women will feel comfortable in loose dresses, loose skirts, or your loosest, softest pants. Men, now is the time to break out baggy sweatpants and loose t-shirts. Anything that’s big enough to swim in and soft enough to sleep in will do the trick nicely.
Keep Moving After CoolSculpting
It might seem counterintuitive, but if you’re feeling any discomfort after your procedure, one of the best things you can do is to move around.
This helps get your blood circulating so that your body can handle the healing process more efficiently. Remember, your blood carries oxygen and nutrients around the body. The more your blood circulates, the happier your cells will be.
We’re not saying you should go run a marathon. But gentle exercise, like walking and yoga, will help get your blood moving.
If you’re not feeling any discomfort, you’re fine to return to your normal exercise routine post-treatment.
Massages and Warm Compresses
If the affected area is bothering you, you may find that a more direct approach is the way to go.
A warm compress can help get heat circulating in the affected area, and a massage can help encourage your skin and muscles to wake back up. You don’t need a deep tissue massage here–massaging should help.
Women, if you keep a hot water bottle around for period cramps, it can be a great help. Men, if you don’t have one around or your partner doesn’t have one you can borrow, run to the store before your procedure and pick one up.
CoolSculpting Pain Afterwards
As we’ve said, most patients don’t experience any pain after CoolSculpting. The biggest discomfort will occur in the first 5 to 10 minutes of the procedure as your body gets used to the cold pads.
You may experience some minor discomfort in the treated area–think redness, swelling, and possibly soreness. This is normal.
Think about what happens when you go outside without gloves in the cold. When you come back inside, your hands get red and painful until they get back to equilibrium.
The same basic thing is happening here. Once the cold goes away, your body gets to work on restoring heat in the affected areas so that your core temperature isn’t affected. That’s where the soreness, redness, and swelling comes from.
It may take a while for the swelling to go down, but don’t be discouraged. That’s just your body doing its job to heal you.
A note on soreness: this varies from person to person. Some people have a high pain threshold and rebound pretty quickly. At worst, it will feel like having a bruise–you won’t want to press on it, but it’s perfectly fine if you leave it alone.
Some people will have lingering numbness after the treatment. Again, this is normal and will go away once your body gets to work on temperature management.
Also, keep in mind different people have different temperature tolerances, and pain affects men and women differently. It really depends on the person, but as a rule, you won’t be in any real pain.
CoolSculpting Aftercare Instructions
As we said earlier, CoolSculpting is a nonsurgical procedure. And that means that your aftercare is blessedly minimal.
Most patients can return to their normal routines with minimal discomfort. Prescription painkillers aren’t necessary, and discomfort can normally be relieved with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen. Generic or brand name (i.e. Advil or Motrin) will get you the same results.
Plus, NSAIDs have the benefit of reducing both pain and inflammation.
One of the biggest aftercare instructions is to keep checking in with your medical provider. It will take several weeks to see results in the treated areas, so take frequent photos of your target areas so that you have a visual record of your progress.
Remember: be patient. You may start seeing results as soon as three weeks, but you’ll see the most dramatic results after two months. Check in with us, track your progress, and remain patient while your body disposes of dead cells.
Before, During, and After CoolSculpting
CoolSculpting, like any procedure, requires a bit of research and a frank discussion with a knowledgeable doctor.
That’s where we can help.
We know how to guide you through the entire process–before, during, and after CoolSculpting treatment so you can see results and feel amazing.
If you’d like to speak with us about our available services and your treatment options, use our contact page to get in touch.