CoolSculpting Gone Wrong

The Truth About CoolSculpting

CoolSculpting is the safest and most proven technology for unwanted fat reduction. But sometimes… things go wrong. Learn about risks & side effects, what to do if you experience complications after CoolSculpting, and everything you should know before getting CoolSculpted.

What is CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting is the name brand procedure for non surgical fat reduction.

CoolSculpting is an FDA-cleared noninvasive procedure that uses controlled cooling to target fat cells for permanent reduction. It works by delivering cold energy to targeted areas on the body. The treatment takes as little as 35 minutes per area and requires no incisions or anesthesia.


Is CoolSculpting Safe?

CoolSculpting is the safest, most proven technology for non-invasive fat reduction.

here’s been over 13 million treatments performed worldwide as of 2023 and there’s over 100 peer reviewed research papers proving its safety and efficacy. But it doesn’t work for everyone & there are risks and side effects that can occur.


CoolSculpting known Risks and Side Effects

There’s risks and side effects in any decison you make. CoolSculpting is a medical procedure.


Normal risks and side effects for CoolSculpting include redness, swelling, bruising, and/or numbness. Patients who have CoolSculpting should expect 1 if not all of these side effects after a treatment. More rare side effects for the procedure include hyperpigmentation (or a change in the color of the skin), subcutaneous indurations (or harden fat cells under the surface), and late onset pain.  A full list of known CoolSculpting side effects can be found here.


Let’s discuss some of the known, but rare, side effects.

Late onset pain after CoolSculpting


Late onset pain is characterized by discomfort in the treatment area resembling sharp pains, pins and needles, and has been described by our own clients as the feeling of broken glass under the skin. Usually, late onset pain is worst at night. We recommend our clients to alternate ice/heat for 20 minutes at a time and utilize compression after their treatment to minimize the risk of late onset pain. There are additional treatment options to mitigate or lessen the discomfort, so if you suspect you have late onset pain and are a patient of ours, please contact us by phone as soon as possible at 214-897-3006 for a proper diagnosis and recommendations from our team.


Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia | growing fat after CoolSculpting


An additional risk for CoolSculpting is Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia, often referred to as PH or PAH in the industry. The risk factor for PH is rare, as defined by the World Health Organization and occurs in about 1 out of every 3,000 treatments (0.333%). In this adverse reaction to CoolSculpting, patients develop a visible enlargement of tissue in the treatment area.


The enlarged tissue usually feels hard to touch and often appears in the shape of the applicator (or handpiece) used during the CoolSculpting treatment. It develops slowly, usually 2 to 5 months after a treatment and is different from the temporary swelling that happens to most clients after their treatment. PH will not resolve on its own and the only way to address this rare side effect is surgical intervention (aka liposuction).


What’s important to keep in mind here is that there is a policy in place from the makers of the CoolSculpting technology to aid patients in the rare instance that this occurs. If you think you have PH, contact your CoolSculpting provider for assistance and to start the process of opening a claim with the manufacturer.


CoolSculpting doesn’t cause overall weight gain or loss, and just because we’re getting rid of a select percentage of fat cells during a treatment, doesn’t prevent you from gaining or losing weight. It’s imperative to maintain a healthy lifestyle to protect your investment and your results. Additionally, you’ll want to select a provider with an artistic understanding of natural looking results when pursuing treatment. In addition to the medical aspects of the treatment, you’re undergoing a procedure that takes away fat cells and changes your overall shape.


How and where we take away fat cells is the difference between seeing no result, seeing an un-natural looking result, and seeing an aesthetically pleasing result that lasts for years and years. 

Treatment Area Demarcation (TAD) | Botched CoolSculpting | Shark Bite after CoolSculpting


The fat we leave behind is far more important than the fat we take away, because it’s what you live with and see in a mirror. We’re proud to be the known facility in Dallas to offer CoolSculpting repairs for botched treatment results from other providers. 


Has your CoolSculpting gone wrong?

Here’s what to do now…


 If you’re worried about your results or experiencing any side effects after CoolSculpting, the first step is to contact your provider to discuss the experience. They’re your biggest ally – your results are their reputation. If you’re not getting the care you need, contact the business owner and/or your own doctor to discuss the questions you have. Don’t panic, but don’t wait to reach out and start a conversation either.


Remember, redness, swelling, bruising and numbness are all to be expected. As is soreness and discomfort for a few days after the treatment. You had a medical procedure performed and it will take some time to recover and heal. Resume normal activities after your session, should you feel up to it! We usually recommend light stretching and/or a workout within 24 hours to shake off some of the discomfort and stiffness after CoolSculpting.


If you’re a patient at Element Body Lab in Dallas, Texas, you have access to your CoolSculpting provider, the business owner who serves as a national trainer on the CoolSculpting technology, and our overseeing medical director at any time. We can be accessed by phone or text at 214-897-3006.

As always, call 911 or your local emergency number right away if you feel you need urgent care. Do not wait to notify your provider and/or practice for normal business hours.