CoolSculpting can cause minor side effects, including irritation and pain. Some people may also experience an uncommon side effect where fat cells grow bigger in response instead of smaller.

CoolSculpting is a branded form of cryolipolysis, a non-invasive medical procedure that helps eliminate excess fat cells underneath your skin.

While there are several benefits to CoolSculpting, it’s important to be aware of the risks if you’re considering this procedure.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has certified CoolSculpting as a safe medical treatment.

CoolSculpting has many benefits over other fat removal procedures, like liposuction. It’s non-surgical, non-invasive, and requires no recovery time.

Following a procedure, injured fat cells may take 4-6 months to leave the body. Cryolipolysis reduces fat in the treatment area by 20 percent on average.

There are two types of fat in the body: subcutaneous fat and visceral fat.

Subcutaneous fat

Subcutaneous fat makes up the majority of your total body fat. It’s present as a layer beneath the skin and is the type you’ll find around your arms, legs, and waist.

It’s an essential part of the human body, but having too much subcutaneous fat can increase your risk of adverse health conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Cryolipolysis procedures target subcutaneous fat.

Visceral fat

Visceral fat surrounds several of your major organs, including the stomach, intestines, and liver. It can also build up in the arteries.

While visceral fat is critical for the healthy operation of your essential organs, high levels of visceral can contribute to insulin resistance, raise blood pressure, and increase your risk of severe health complications.

The FDA has certified Coolsculpting and other cryolipolysis procedures as safe for use.

Multiple reviews have concluded that cryolipolysis is a reliable, safe alternative to procedures like liposuction, with limited side effects.

But due to the treatments being new to the market, there’s a lack of research on their long-term effects.

While CoolSculpting is generally safe, you may experience some side effects following treatment.

Some common side effects of CoolSculpting include:

Pain or aching

Following a CoolSculpting procedure, you may experience slight pain, stinging, or aching at the treatment site. This may be due to the intense cold temperatures the treatment uses.

A study from 2015 reviewed the results of people who collectively completed 554 cryolipolysis procedures over 1 year. The review found that any post-treatment pain usually lasted 3-11 days and went away independently.

Temporary irritation

Exposure to cold temperatures from Coolsculpting may irritate your skin. This can cause:

These typically resolve on their own within weeks.

Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia

An infrequent but severe side effect of CoolSculpting is paradoxical adipose hyperplasia. This is where fat cells in the treatment site grow larger rather than smaller.

Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia resulting from cryolipolysis is more common in male patients, and the condition’s exact cause is unknown.

While it’s a cosmetic rather than physically dangerous side effect, paradoxical adipose hyperplasia requires corrective liposuction or other surgery to remove the enlarged fat cells.

Learn more about the side effects of CoolSculpting here.

CoolSculpting helps remove localized pockets of fatty tissue. It’s a treatment for fat loss, not weight loss.

As a result, a good candidate for CoolSculpting and other cryolipolysis treatments is someone who wishes to reduce or remove localized pockets of fatty tissue that persist despite exercise and diet intervention.

Cryolipolysis treatments are less effective in people with high levels of fat and those with obesity.

A literature review summarized that ideal candidates for cryolipolysis treatments, like CoolSculpting, should be adults in good health, with no history of neurological or skeletal problems, and with normal kidney function.

CoolSculpting is a safe and effective treatment for reducing body fat in most people. But there are some who should not receive this treatment. People with the following conditions should not do CoolSculpting:

CoolSculpting could cause severe complications for people with these disorders.

Whether or not you have these preexisting conditions, it’s important to talk with your doctor before seeking a plastic or cosmetic surgeon to perform the procedure.

It’s also important to note that CoolSculpting is not a treatment for obesity. Rather, it can help eliminate small amounts of excess fat that doesn’t easily go away with diet and exercise alone.

During a CoolSculpting procedure, a surgeon or other licensed practitioner uses a special tool to cool certain parts of your body to freezing temperature.

The procedure freezes and kills fat cells in the part of your body that you’re having treated. Within a few weeks of treatment, your body breaks down these dead fat cells and flushes them out through your liver.

If you’re a good candidate for it, CoolSculpting has some benefits over other fat-elimination procedures.

It’s a non-invasive procedure, and there’s no scarring after treatment. There’s also no required rest or recovery time. Results may begin to show in a few weeks, with most people experiencing full results within 6 months of their final treatment.