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Is A Coolsculpting Procedure Painful?

At LVWellness & Aesthetics, we are committed to being upfront and honest with all our potential clients, but we also believe that the benefits of our products far outweigh the side-effects or minimal pinching that may occur as we help you down the road to your best self.

How Does Coolsculpting Work?

Coolsculpting refers to an FDA-approved procedure that involves cryolipolysis or “freezing” of fat cells that fail to respond to traditional diet and exercise habits. It is also used sometimes to treat lipomas. The procedure is technically noninvasive, which means that it doesn’t involve surgery. However, it does not mean that the procedure is completely devoid of side effects. Most of the discomfort is felt due to the “cooling” effects of the procedure. As the body adjusts to the removal of fat cells, discomfort may come and go. To learn more about the side effects that can be discussed with a practitioner before starting the procedure, read on.

Is it Painful?

The pain from Coolsculpting is mostly experienced while the procedure is underway. According to the official website, Coolsculpting acknowledges that you can feel pain from the numbness, which is the result of cooling sensations from the freezing applicator that’s used during the procedure. You might also feel slight pulling and pinching sensations as the fat cells get frozen and are pulled out. The effects can last anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes of the 60-minutes treatment time. Once the procedure is over, you may experience pain as well as some swelling and itching. The level of pain felt varies from one treatment area to the next, but the abdomen is the most vulnerable.

Does it Cause Nerve Damage?

Coolsculpting does not cause nerve damage. According to the Center or Aesthetics, numbness, however, is common. It can last for several weeks and may come and go. There have been unverified reports of severe pain as well as nerve pain for anywhere between a few days to a few weeks after the procedure. The reports weren’t observed in a formal clinical setting.

The most common Coolsculpting side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Muscle spasms
  • Tingling
  • Tenderness
  • Stinging
  • Redness
  • Numbness
  • Itchiness
  • A fullness of the throat (if the neck is the treatment area)
  • Firmness
  • Diarrhea
  • Cramps
  • Bruising
  • Aches

The majority of the effects are experienced at the treatment site. Coolsculpting maintains that these are just temporary and typically recede within several weeks. Discomfort and pain after the procedure may fluctuate again 3 days later, where side effects may return temporarily. Coolsculpting hardly ever causes any serious side effects. However, these are the possibilities that you need to discuss with your doctor ahead of time for you to recognize the signs and respond fast. One possible serious but rare side effect is the formation of paradoxical adipose hyperplasia after undergoing the procedure. This results in the expansion of the fat cells that were recently targeted. According to a study in JAMA Dermatology, the chance of experiencing this side effect is 0.0051 percent. It occurs months after the initial treatment.

Tips for Reducing Discomfort

Talk to your doctor about ways to lower your chances of experiencing pain along with other side effects during and after the procedure. A massage may also be performed to the treatment area to increase the efficacy of the procedure while limiting the side effects. Prescription pain medication is typically not provided for the procedure because it is nonsurgical. Anesthesia is also not used. However, the doctor may recommend taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication if you have any swelling or pain following the procedure. You should avoid taking pain relief medication prior to treatment since it can increase side effects such as bruising. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is good for reducing the pain, but you must never take over 3,000 milligrams (mg) a day, according to Harvard Health. Taking too much of the drug can cause liver damage, particularly when taken with alcohol. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as ibuprofen can be another good option. It could be a generic product or a brand-name version such as Motrin IB or Advil. Mayo Clinic recommends taking 400 mg every 4 hours as need. Ibuprofen has the additional benefit of treating both inflammation and pain, but it might not be appropriate if you suffer from bleeding disorders.

How to Prepare for Coolsculpting

Obtaining a consultation with a prospective provider is the first step. To qualify for Coolsculpting, the provider will inquire about your health history. It is also advisable to be within 30 pounds of your target weight according to Coolsculpting. This makes the procedure more effective and can lead to fewer side effects. Prior to signing up for Coolsculpting, it is important to consider meeting with several prospective providers. While dermatologic surgeons, dermatologists, and aestheticians can perform the procedure, not all these types of doctors are certified in Coolsculpting.

Certain preparatory steps will help make the day of treatment more comfortable. Ensure that you:

  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing
  • Eat a small snack to prevent nausea due to treatment
  • Bring something ready to play with or read, such as your tablet

The Center for Aesthetic says that it can be as long as 2 to 4 months before you start seeing the full results of your treatment. You should not experience long-term discomfort for this entire duration, but you may experience side effects for several weeks after treatment.

To ensure that you are more comfortable, consider the following aftercare tips:

  • Keep moving to reduce inflammation and pain
  • Consider compression clothing such as Spanx
  • Wear comfortable clothing such as yoga pants
  • Report severe side effects to your doctor immediately

If you have any questions about coolsculpting or any other service we offer please don’t hesitate to call us or contact us right away! Otherwise please scroll through our ever-expanding blog for more helpful articles on related topics.