Coolsculpting… Is one treatment enough?

In this post, I’m going to share my experience with Coolsculpting, show you my before and after photos, and explain everything you need to know about this cool treatment.

If you prefer to watch videos rather than read a blog this video below is for you!

I had Coolsculpting done on my upper and lower abdomen, my right flank, and my right saddlebag area of my leg. It may sound random but I had liposuction in the fall of 2018 and it was somewhat botched so I’ve been dealing with weird pockets of fat, unevenness, and loose skin in those areas for a few years. 

How CoolSculpting Works 

Coolsculpting removes fat cells by freezing them. The fat cells are more susceptible to cool temperatures than the surrounding skin and tissue. When you freeze the fat cells they die and then dissolve and the rest of the skin and tissue is unharmed.

After the treatment, the frozen and dead fat cells move out of the body through the liver. It takes 3-4 months to really see your final results- some people notice results in as soon as 3 weeks but for full results, you’ll need to give it time. Basically, if you’re planning on doing this for a big event you’ll need to plan ahead!

The cool thing with Coolsculpting, or any treatment that kills fat cells really, is that once the cells are dead they are gone forever! We don’t regenerate new fat cells- Our bodies have a fixed number of them that remains the same once it’s reached, and that usually happens when we are teenagers. 

Something to note *CoolSculpting is a fat loss treatment but not a weight-loss treatment You won’t really lose any pounds from Coolsculpting because weight loss isn’t caused by getting rid of fat cells. Instead, it happens when they get smaller. Similarly, when you gain weight, it’s because the fat cells you already have got bigger. 

One thing that always surprises people is each treatment only gets rid of UP to 25% of the fat, so you’ll most likely need more than one but there’s no way to know before you try it. Some people are happy with their results after one treatment but I want you to have realistic expectations and expect to need at least two. This makes it hard to budget for because each session it’s expensive and you may only need one or you might need four!. Larger body parts may also require more treatments than smaller body parts. Prices range from $650 to $900 per applicator so it can add up fast. 

Who is a good candidate for coolsculpting?

Coolsculpting is ideal for people who:

  • Have healthy, active lifestyles
  • Are at or near their target weight 
  • Have targeted areas of stubborn fat
  • Want to avoid more invasive, surgical procedures

Areas you can treat with CoolSculpting: 

Abs, Flanks, Thighs, Hips, Upper back, bra fat, arms, under the butt, double chin, armpit fit, chest- really anywhere that has fat.

If you have loose skin like if you had a baby, lost a lot of weight, or are just aging, CoolSculpting won’t really help you. It’s not a skin tightening procedure. 

How long do CoolSculpting results last?

Since CoolSculpting destroys the fat cells, the results will be permanent if you keep your healthy lifestyle. If you gain weight your remaining fat cells can grow and make it look like the treatment didn’t work. 

Also, just a heads up in very rare cases, CoolSculpting can lead to an increase in the volume of fat cells in treated body parts. It’s not known why this happens, but it appears to be more common in men than women.  

What to expect during your CoolSculpting treatment

I have footage of the whole procedure in the video at the beginning of this post if you want to see what it’s really like. It starts at about the 6-minute mark.

First, you take before photos and you stand on this little marker and turn 360 degrees so they can get pictures at each angle.

Image of lauren erro being photographed for Coolsculpting

Some spas will weigh you and/ or take measurements which I recommend doing so you can track your progress. The place I went only took my photos and I regret not measuring or weighing myself. It would have been interesting to see if I lost or gained weight over the time period that it takes to see results from CoolSculpting. Maybe my results would have been different.

Next, they drew markings on my body with these plastic stencils that are shaped the same as the device. They help the technician customize the treatment to exactly where you need it. 

Measuring for coolsculpting

They do this so they can see how much of your body each applicator will cover- they should also do this at the consultation before your treatment so you can get a clear picture of how many applicators you’ll need before you actually get started. 

When the photos and drawings were complete I laid down on the treatment bed and they cleaned the area with a pre-treatment skin wipe. This is a rough-textured skin wipe that is formulated to help prep the skin for the very cold temperature.

Then a gel pad is placed onto the skin. The gel pad is also formulated with ingredients that protect the skin from the cold.

And finally they apply the CoolSculpting applicator and line it up with the drawings. The applicator has a gentle vacuum that the technician can activate while applying it to the drawn-out area to ensure it’s on the exact right spot. Once they are 100% sure they’re good to go they begin the full suction to pull the fat all the way into the applicator. This happens simulatneously as it applies freezing temperatures to the area being treated. You feel some tugging or pulling as the device sucks your fat into the cooling panels. Then you’ll feel cold, then it goes numb for the remainder of the treatment. It really doesn’t hurt!

Lauren Erro getting CoolSculpting
The spa I went to had two machines going at once to save time

After 30-45 minutes (I can’t remember exactly which mine was) the applicator vacuum is turned off and is pulled off the skin. And your skin looks like a frozen stick of butter- it’s pretty funny.

Skin immediately after CoolSculpting
I was already so swollen after one treatment round!

Then they do the 2-minute massage. This is honestly the worst part of the treatment and it’s not that bad! This step is important because it increases the effectiveness of the treatment by 68% and will kill MORE fat cells. The place I went to uses a special machine instead of their hands that also treats cellulite. Their tool is able to break up the fat cells much more effectively than a manual massage. 

Once the 2-minute massage is complete the skin is wiped clean and the treatment is officially finished.

Because I covered so many areas, I was there for 5 hours. I STRONGLY do not recommend doing this. The first 3 sessions were fine but the last one was miserable. 

Immediately after CoolSculpting
Look how red and swollen I was! My lower abdomen was definitely the most noticeable swelling I had.

If you’re going to do more than one area- for example, your flank and abs,  I suggest finding a practitioner that has dual handles so it goes faster.

How long is the recovery period after CoolSculpting?

For the most part, CoolSculpting has a quick recovery with minimal discomfort and a low risk of complications. Typically, you can resume normal activities immediately following the procedure. But I did so many in one day that when I was done I was exhausted and felt horrible. I was bright red on the treated areas right after but this subsided by the next day.

What you look like immediately After Coolsculpting
This was after the first round. I still had 3 to go!

I was sore and tender for a week. You can take over-the-counter pain relief and it helps a little. My lower abdomen felt VERY hard- specifically under my belly button. I was worried that something went wrong because we overlapped the treatment areas there.

After four days my right hip went numb and this lasted for 3.5 months! Then, after about a week my stomach went numb for a few days then went back to normal. My outer right thigh itchy for the week – it was mild and not unbearable (unlike after liposuction). The Lower ab hardness went away after two weeks and the numbness and swelling went away after three on my stomach.

I started working out two days after my treatment so the downtime really is minimal! It was painful to do certain moves but totally doable. 

Some tips for your CoolSculpting treatment:

Definitely wear loose clothing during and after the treatment. You won’t really be able to squeeze into leggings or other tight-fitting clothing items after your CoolSculpting treatment. You’ll feel swollen, stiff, and your skin will feel sticky and gross. 

Drink a Lot Of Water

This will help your body eliminate fat cells faster. Stay hydrated before and after the procedure to help your body recover faster.

Though you don’t NEED downtime, you should take it easy after treatment

If an area of your body is sore following treatment, it’s best not to push yourself by going to the gym and exercising that body part or wearing clothing that can rub against it and irritate it more. Give the treated area time to calm down.

Be gentle when showering or bathing the area, using water that is not too cold or too hot, and gently pat your skin dry. 

Massage the area daily

The med spa I went to had me do was massage the area for 10 minutes a day. This is to help move the fat cells through your body faster. I did for the first few weeks in the shoer and it was painful then as the time went on I forget.

My Results & final thoughts from CoolSculpting

Overall I did notice subtle results but I think I need one or two more treatments for me to feel like it’s worth it. The biggest difference I see is my right thigh.

My lower abdomen is a little smaller  It was really weird but between months 2-3 the area above my belly button became more dented and it’s still like that… so that’s disappointing. 

I also wish I looked at the before photos that the spa took and discussed a better plan for treatment. I feel like althoug my right side had a weird indent before I started, my left flank is actually much larger than my right ever was. I didn’t notice that before I looked at these photos. 

Every 30 days I went to the medspa and took after photos and used their massage device for the 2-minute massage. This was supposed to help accelerate my results and help with cellulite. I’m not sure it did anything but I appreciate that they offer that included with their price.

I was offered this treatment in exchange for a full review and to be honest, If I paid for this I would not be happy. It would have cost over $7,000 (!!) for all of the areas I did and I need at least one more treatment. I think with lipo you get more bang for your buck, but the risk and downtime are much greater. 

A few months after I took my final photos I weighed myself and realized I gained a ton of weight in 2021. I started a 6 week weight loss program and have seen incredible results. It’s surprisingly easy and WAY less expensive than CoolSculpting or Lipo. Look at my backside! Here’s all of the details on that if you want to lose weight in a sustainable way.

Faster way to fat loss before and after photos
I can’t believe how much my backside changed in 6 weeks!



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