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Cryolipolysis  body contouring treatments use cryolipolysis, or fat freezing, to target stubborn areas of fat without surgery. The device freezes and kills fat cells without harming neighboring skin, nerves, vessels, or muscles. Each treatment usually takes less than an hour, and there’s no downtime.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it for treating the abdomen, flanks (aka love handles), inner and outer thighs, bra bulge, back fat, under the butt (also called banana rolls), and upper arms. Cryolipolysis  is also cleared by the FDA to treat submental fat (commonly known as a double chin) with a specially curved .  We also commonly use Cryolipolysis off label (beyond its FDA approval) to tone knees, hips, and other fat bulges that fit into the applicator.



  • It’s an easier body contouring procedure than surgical liposuction, with no anesthesia, incisions, or downtime.
  • Getting Cryolipolysis  can be a strong motivator to kick-start a healthy lifestyle. 
  • Once your skin adjusts to the cold, treatment should be relatively comfortable.


  • Most people need two or three treatments, spaced up to 20 weeks apart, and it can take months to see optimal results.
  • Three treatment sessions on large areas can be pricier than liposuction, with less dramatic fat reduction.
  • RealSelf members who rated the procedure “Not Worth It” didn’t see much of a difference or had side effects like soreness, hyperpigmentation, and lingering nerve pain. 
  • Others were surprised by sagging skin after losing underlying fat (usually a problem only for older patients with less skin elasticity). 
  • Potentially permanent indentations or frostbite can occur, if the protective pad and applicator aren’t properly placed and monitored by your provider.
  • Studies show that two-thirds of patients have numbness in the treatment area for up to eight weeks afterward.
  • There’s a small risk of developing paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH), an increase in fat at the treatment site.


Cryolipolysis  works best if you have a body mass index (BMI) of less than 25 and are within 20 pounds of their ideal weight, and you’ll need more than ⅔ of an inch of pinchable fat to fit into the Cryolipolysis  applicator. If you have a BMI between 25 to 30, you may get ideal results after two or three treatments.

There are restrictions for who can have a safe Cryolipolysis session; they include pregnancy or breastfeeding, poor circulation, neuropathy, and using a pacemaker or defibrillator. If you have one of the three rare conditions that occur with cold temperatures—cryoglobulinemia (proteins thicken in the blood when you’re cold); paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria (PCH, a type of anemia that triggers an autoimmune reaction with cold); or cold urticaria (hives when cold)—skip Cryolipolysis  and try a procedure that doesn’t freeze cells.

If you have open or infected cuts or wounds, scar tissue, eczema, dermatitis, or a rash in the treatment area, you won’t be able to have a Cryolipolysis  session until those conditions are healed.


Your appointment should take 35 to 60 minutes, depending on the size and number of areas being treated.

You’ll lie down, and your provider will map out the treatment site with a pen. They’ll lay a protective gel pad over your skin before applying a paddle to the treatment area. Your skin and fat get suctioned into the paddle, which lowers your tissue to the Cryolipolysis temperature of -10ºC. 

When your treatment time is up, your provider will remove the paddle and massage the frozen fat (which some doctors call a “butterstick” because it looks so much like a frozen lump of butter) to kick-start your body’s natural process of excreting dead fat cells. 


Studies show that Cryolipolysis is effective at reducing fat. An independent study published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 2015 shows that Cryolipolysis  reduces fat cell volume in the treated area by 14.7–28.5%. Clinical trials funded by the manufacturer showed similar results, with a “20–25% reduction in fat-layer thickness after a single session” and 77% of patients showing a visible improvement in skin laxity within one to three months. Treatments on the inner thighs have the highest patient satisfaction levels, while abdominal-area results were least impressive. 

“Yes, Cryolipolysis  works, and impressively. Like many things, it is all about patient selection and expectations.How well it works for you will also depend on your provider. It is incredibly important that you pay attention to who you are seeing for this procedure, as it is really about the planning and assessment, not just putting the device on.”

Cryolipolysis  isn’t a cellulite treatment, but it may improve the look of cellulite by reducing the amount of fat that can bulge and dimple.

It’s also not intended to tighten loose skin, and some RealSelf members say their skin became more lax after fat cells were eliminated. However, a 2014 study reports that it may be a viable nonsurgical procedure for sagging skin, with a reduction in skin laxity.


Cryolipolysis  isn’t a weight-loss solution: it’s a fat-reduction procedure that can help sculpt your body. It works best for relatively fit people within 20 pounds of their ideal weight who just want to target fat pockets that haven’t responded to diet and exercise.


You’ll feel a few minutes of intense cold and pressure before the area goes numb, but most people don’t find the experience painful after that. Some RealSelf members say they felt comfortable enough during their treatment to read, watch TV, or nap. 

The manufacturer says that “you may experience sensations of pulling, tugging, mild pinching, intense cold, tingling, stinging, aching, and cramping at the treatment site. These sensations subside as the area becomes numb.” 

Applicator updates in recent years have made the treatment more comfortable and effective. “The original applicators required significant suction to get each bulge of fat positioned between two cold panels,” explains Dr. Waldorf. 

“They’ve been replaced by the CoolAdvantage applicators, which provide full-surface cooling and, therefore, less suction. The positioning of the applicators on the patient is critical, to provide full contact. In fact, the applicators are set up to trigger an alarm and stop working if there is a ‘pop off’—if the skin is not in full, direct contact with the applicator panels—to avoid moisture accumulation and frostbite.”


The FDA has approved Cryolipolysis as a safe medical treatment, provided you meet the criteria for a good candidate. 


Possible Cryolipolysis  side effects include redness, swelling, tenderness, blanching, bruising, firmness, tingling, or cramping for anywhere from a few days to several weeks. While it’s not advised to have the procedure while you’re pregnant or nursing, Cryolipolysis won’t affect your future fertility or damage any have also developed nerve pain about five days after treatment. If you have any pain that lasts more than a few days and feels too intense for over-the-counter pain medication, talk to your provider. 

There has been at least one report of serious burns as a direct result of Cryolipolysis . Don’t apply ice to the area following the treatment, and be vocal if you experience any discomfort during the procedure, which could be a sign that the applicator isn’t properly applied.  After treatment for a double chin, some patients have reported a feeling of fullness in the back of the throat for one to two weeks. 

Cryolipolysis  also carries a little-known risk called paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH), an increase in fatty tissue at the treatment site. PAH happens when fat cells expand in reaction to extreme cold. In reported cases, PAH occured two to three months post-procedure, usually after an initial fat reduction. 


Cryolipolysis  recovery experiences vary, depending on how your body responds and how many areas you’ve had treated. You’ll be able to walk out of the office and carry on with your day, but you may feel sore or notice swelling. Many people choose to take the remainder of the day to rest and relax. 

It can be helpful to wear Spanx or compression garments for the first few days, to help ease swelling and discomfort. 

After about five days, you’ll probably feel nerve twinges in the treatment area, a normal sensation as nerves regenerate. Sometimes described as stinging, cramping, or tingling, this usually subsides quickly. If it lasts longer or feels painful, reach out to your provider for recommendations on treating the pain. 

One to two weeks post-procedure, it’s common to feel itchy in the treated area. This is a histamine reaction to the inflammatory process of clearing fat cells, and it can be treated with oral antihistamines. 

Numbness in the treated area typically resolves within three weeks.

Your body will flush out the damaged fat cells over the next three to four months. Drink plenty of water and take good care of yourself by opting for healthy food and exercise.  Drinking a small to moderate amount of alcohol in the weeks between Cryolipolysis  sessions is safe, but refrain from alcohol for a few days after your treatment in order to mitigate bruising.


Swelling commonly lasts for two weeks after Cryolipolysis , though it can linger for up to a month patients who experience very minimal swelling for just a few days and others  some  feel swollen for up to four weeks. For the majority of Cryolipolysis patients though, swelling has almost entirely dissipated within two weeks.”

You can minimize swelling by wearing compression garments, drinking lots of water, and exercising.


You’ll start to see results within a month of your first treatment, and the majority of your results should be visible within two months. Your body will continue to eliminate the treated fat cells for up to six months post-treatment.

Why does it take so long?

Unlike liposuction, where the fat is removed, Cryolipolysis  releases the fat to be metabolized and eliminated by your body. The precise rate at which this happens depends on your individual biology.

“Results are cumulative—we really can ‘sculpt’ over time,” says Dr. Waldorf. “With each subsequent treatment, you get a further reduction of the residual fat. We have a range of applicator sizes, so an area that required a larger applicator to start may be further reduced and contoured with a smaller applicator in later appointments.”


Cryolipolysis  results should be permanent—so long as you don’t gain weight. A healthy diet and regular exercise will help you make the most of your investment. 

If you gain weight, fat cells that remain in the treated areas will expand. You could also develop contour irregularities as more numerous fat cells in surrounding areas expand.


The most helpful way of maximizing your Cryolipolysis  treatment is to start with a thorough consultation, with careful evaluation of the fat ‘pouches,’ so that the appropriate size, number, and orientation of the handpieces specifically sculpt your body. Cryolipolysis  isn’t a one-size-fits-all process but more of an art form, where experience and a good eye for body shaping can optimize results.”

To speed up results, doctors recommend maintaining a healthy weight after your procedure and choosing a healthy, natural diet as well as exercising at least 60 minutes a day. To really maximize results quicker, a 2015 study recommends massaging the treatment area for five minutes immediately following the treatment; it can help improve fat volume reduction by up to 68% after the initial two months.


“Doing a second treatment within 30 to 60 days can enhance your treatment results, Scientific evidence shows that the first treatment triggers an inflammatory response around the fat cells that dissipates in 60 to 90 days. A second treatment within the first 60 days generates a stronger inflammatory response, leading to greater fat reduction.


Your cost will depend on how many areas you have treated, the size of the areas, and the number of sessions you get. It will also vary by the experience level of your provider and their practice location.  We offer have special pricing for a series of procedures, NuFaceGlow also partnered with GreenSky patient financing to make packages more affordable.