Does CoolSculpting Work: Treatment Areas, Reviews, Before and Afters, Cost

Does CoolSculpting Work
Does CoolSculpting Work

Quick Facts


Treatment areas

  • CoolSculpting has been FDA approved for use on the upper arms, thighs, back, abdomen, flanks and submental area.

Number of treatments needed

  • Patients generally require between 1-3 CoolSculpting treatments.


  • An average of 20-25% reduction in fat can be expected following one treatment.


  • Depending on the body part targeted, CoolSculpting can cost between $650-$1500 per treatment.

Medical Review

What Is CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting is a non-invasive body-contouring procedure designed for people at, or close to, their ideal weight. During a CoolSculpting treatment, subcutaneous fat is cooled to a temperature low enough to cause fat cell death (apoptosis). Subcutaneous fat refers to the layer of fat underneath the epidermis and dermis.

Fat cells can be damaged by temperatures between 3.8C and 5C. Over two to three months, the body gradually flushes out the dead fat cells as waste. The treatment reduces the number of fat cells and reduces the thickness of the fat layer.

Zwivel’s complete guide to CoolSculpting provides further information about how CoolSculpting works, and outlines candidates who may benefit from the treatment

How Is Coolsculpting Performed?

During the CoolSculpting procedure, applicator plates are placed on the skin. Gel pads on the applicator plates protect the skin from injury. Moderate vacuum suction draws the tissue into the applicator.

The plates strictly cool the fat cells but leave surrounding skin, tissue and organs unharmed. Treatments take between 35 and 60 minutes, depending on the part of the body being treated.

Body Contouring: What Coolsculpting Can Achieve

Fat reduction

CoolSculpting is an effective treatment for individuals aiming to reduce and contour stubborn areas of fat that are resistant to dietary changes and exercise. It is ideal for individuals within 5-10 pounds of their target body weight but is not a substitute for weight loss.

Skin tightening

CoolSculpting stimulates the formation of new collagen, resulting in skin tightening. One study of CoolSculpting beneath the chin found a skin reduction of 2.7% in the treatment area.

Another study noted an improvement in skin texture and laxity following CoolSculpting on the outer thighs, abdomen, arms and back. 25-30% of patients perceived a noticeable improvement in loose skin following treatment.


Reports from patients and practitioners have indicated that CoolSculpting of the outer thighs may result in a mild to moderate improvement in cellulite. However, there is no clinical evidence to confirm these observations yet. .

Read patient reviews of cosmetic treatments such as Cellfina that help to reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Treatment Areas

CoolSculpting has been FDA approved for fat reduction on the upper arms, chin, abdomen, flanks, thighs and back. CoolSculpting applicator panels are available in a range of shapes and sizes to specifically contour and reduce fat.

Larger applicators enable higher-volume fat reduction for places such as the abdomen or thighs, while smaller, flatter applicators are used to target areas such as the chin with more precision.


CoolSculpting is commonly used to reduce the appearance of abdominal fat (a muffin top).


In one study performed in 2016, patients experienced a mean reduction of 3.53cm in the circumference of their abdomen following treatment. A decrease of 0.2cm of the fat layer thickness was observed after 45 days.

Those conducting the study also noted that the firmness of patients’ skin improved.

Before and Afters



Patients who have undergone CoolSculpting treatments on their flanks, or love handles, experienced an average fat layer reduction of 22.4% across the treated area. These results became apparent at four months post-treatment.

In another study of CoolSculpting of the flanks, treatment photos were reviewed by independent physicians. 94.4% correctly identified the pre and post treatment images. Patients were judged to have an average 43% improvement in the reduction of fat from the flanks.

Before and afters


CoolSculpting can be successfully performed on the upper arms to reduce localized fat deposits. The CoolFit flat vacuum cup applicator easily reaches and treats longer fat bulges, such as those found along the arms.


In one 2015 study, 83% of patients experienced a reduction in arm fat following a single CoolSculpting treatment. The mean reduction in fat layer thickness was 20%, and 91% of participants in the study were satisfied with the outcome.

Before and Afters

Inner Thighs

CoolSculpting can also reduce fat from the inner thighs. The CoolFit applicator is specially designed to deliver safe and effective cryolipolysis of inner thigh fat.


A study of 42 patients who underwent one CoolSculpting treatment on their inner thighs noted that 84% of patients noticed a visible reduction in fat, 93% reported they were satisfied with the results of the procedure, and 91% were likely to undergo a second treatment.

» Read a patient’s review on the efficacy of CoolSculpting on the inner thighs.

Outer Thighs

The outer thighs, also known as the saddle bags, can be successfully treated with CoolSculpting. A conformable CoolSculpting applicator (CoolCurve) can be moulded to fit the thigh and secured in place with straps.


A study of CoolSculpting on the lateral thighs of 40 patients found the treatment to be safe and effective.

Ultrasound image analysis confirmed that patients reduced their outer thigh bulge by 2.6mm on average. 86% of patients confirmed that they were satisfied with the treatment and noticed a visible reduction in fat while 97% expressed they were likely to undergo a second treatment.

Before and Afters

Submental Area (Chin)

CoolSculpting can non-invasively reduce the appearance of a double chin. The CoolMini applicator is designed to treat the submental area.


86% of patients in a study of submental CoolSculpting felt the procedure improved the contour of their chin and neck while 93% reported they were satisfied with their results. 3D imaging from the study revealed that a significant reduction of the fat layer was achieved.

In addition, the study noted that patients who underwent CoolSculpting of their chins also experienced skin tightening.

Before and Afters



CoolSculpting can reduce upper back fat found near the armpits. Women commonly experience fat deposits here, in the form of “bra bulge” found around the bra line. Anecdotal reports from patients report visible reductions in upper back fat.

Before and afters

Off-Label Uses of CoolSculpting

When a medical device is used in a way that has not been formally approved by the FDA, it is referred to as off-label use.

CoolSculpting is sometimes used off-label for mild to moderate cases of gynecomastia. The treatment is most effective for men who have stubborn pockets of fat in their breast tissue. It is not a suitable procedure for men whose gynecomastia is characterized by excess glandular tissue.

How Many Coolsculpting Treatments Are Needed?

Most patients experience a 20-25% reduction in fat after just one treatment. Sometimes two to three treatments may be necessary to achieve optimal results.

Factors that influence the number of treatments include:

  • The results desired
    While one CoolSculpting treatment can reduce the fat in the targeted area by 20-25%, many CoolSculpting providers recommend that patients wait to see the results of their first treatment to determine whether they desire a second treatment.
  • The areas of the body being treated
    Areas with larger amounts of fat are generally more responsive to CoolSculpting. When the fat is loose, it can be easily pinched into the CoolSculpting device. This generally signals that good results can be achieved with one or two sessions.

An experienced CoolSculpting provider will visually assess your fat to determine which areas will respond best and the number of treatments that will be required. Patients are usually reassessed after one month to check their progress.

How Much Does Coolsculpting Cost?

The cost of CoolSculpting depends primarily on the size of the area being treated. The smaller the area, the lower the cost. Cost will also be affected by:

  • The reputation and experience of your provider
  • The size of the Coolsculpting applicator (larger applicators such as the CoolCurve used for the outer thighs cost more to operate than the CoolFit applicator used for the arms)
  • The geographical location where you receive your treatment
  • The number of treatments you undergo

The table below shows the average cost per treatment.

Body PartCost
Arms$650 per arm
Inner thighs$750 per thigh
Outer thighs$1500 per thigh
Submental area$1400
Flanks$1200 for each side
Back$1200 for each side


Coolsculpting is one of many non-invasive fat reduction techniques. The treatment uses controlled chilling to destroy fat cells. CoolSculpting represents an effective, non-invasive method of reducing fat and contouring the arms, abdomen, thighs, flanks, chin and back.

Patients can expect a 20-25% reduction in fat following a single treatment. Some patients may benefit from additional treatments.

While CoolSculpting is designed to help reduce stubborn deposits of fat, it does not represent a substitute for weight loss. Nor does it offer a substitute for surgical body contouring procedures, such as liposuction, which can remove larger quantities of fat.

» Learn more about the differences between CoolSculpting and liposuction.

Find a CoolSculpting Provider

If you think that you would benefit from CoolSculpting treatments, a consultation with an experienced Coolsculpting provider can help you determine which parts of your body may be suitable for treatment.

Experienced providers can also assess whether you may be a better candidate for an alternative procedure.

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