How does CoolSculpting Work?

CoolSculpting is a nonsurgical procedure that uses controlled cooling to freeze away unwanted fat cells for good. Treatments are customized based on anatomy and goals and the first step is a consultation with our team to map out a treatment recommendation.

You heard about freezing fat. The next question you might have is probably… “how does CoolSculpting work?”


In a nutshell, CoolSculpting works by using different sizes and shapes of equipment, called applicators or handpieces, that can target specific body areas during your session using controlled cooling. The cold changes the texture of the fat cells being treated.


CoolSculpting works because fat is sensitive to cold.


Imagine putting a cup of cold butter in the fridge overnight. It’ll harden and change texture. The same thing happens to fat during a CoolSculpting treatment. The treated fat gets firm, and the change in texture is key… that’s how your body triggers an inflammatory response which, in turn, causes a natural, programmed fat cell death (called apoptosis).


It’s all pretty interesting science. You can read more about the science of freezing fat right here.


Cryolipolysis vs. CoolSculpting

CRYOLIPOLYSIS is the scientific term for CoolSculpting. It literally translates to – “using cold to break apart [or kill] fat”. The name-brand, FDA-cleared technique to safely freeze away fat for good is CoolSculpting. CoolSculpting is FDA cleared since 2009 and over 8-million treatments have been performed world-wide. 


A behind the scenes look at how CoolSculpting works…

Here’s what a pocket of subcutaneous fat looks like. Subcutaneous fat lies above the muscle wall (and it’s the type of fat CoolSculpting can target).

During a CoolSculpting treatment, a specific pocket of fat is targeted using controlled cooling, which changes the texture of the treated fat cells in the area. 

Afterwards, your body triggers a natural programmed cell death and eliminates 20-25%* of the treated fat, over the course of 3 weeks to 3 months.

*Study based on an animal model.


In order for CoolSculpting to work, there’s a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.

Subcutaneous vs. Visceral Fat: 

First, and most importantly – CoolSculpting only targets and treats subcutaneous fat. Subcutaneous fat is the fact that you’ll find above the muscle wall. It’s the pinchable, pliable type of fat that’s less responsive to diet and exercise. While it does respond to healthy lifestyle choices, studies show it’s less responsive than visceral fat, or the fat lies below the muscle wall.

If you’re wanting to learn the differences between subcutaneous fat or visceral fat, check out this article from Harvard. 

Not All CoolSculpting Is Created Equal. Technique matters!

Second, remember that CoolSculpting is a tool. It’s not a one size fits all type procedure. The provider you choose, the area you treat, and the plan you follow can make a big difference in the results you see.


If you’re in Dallas, Fort. Worth, or the DFW metroplex, we’d love to participate and serve as your CoolSculpting provider. Your first step is to schedule a consultation and chat with our team.

If you’re not in Dallas and not willing to travel to be treated by a provider in Dallas, then search for a practice near you. You can use this “Find a Provider” tool on the CoolSculpting manufacturer’s website to locate a practice. Make sure to interview a few places and look for a provider with a great reputation.

Is CoolSculpting Effective? Does CoolSculpting Work?

CoolSculpting is FDA cleared since 2009, and there’s been more than 8 million treatment performed worldwide. When it comes to body contouring, CoolSculpting is the safest and most effective non-surgical body contouring procedure that’s widely researched and documented.

It is FDA cleared “for the treatment of visible fat bulges in the submental (under the chin) and submandibular (under the jawline) areas, thighs , abdomen and flanks, along with bra that, underneath the buttocks (also known as banana roll) and upper arm. It is also FDA cleared to affect the appearance of lack issue with submental area treatments. The CoolSculpting procedure is not a treatment for weight loss.” That’s the *actual verbiage* pulled directly from the manufactures of the CoolSculpting technology.

Are there any studies about how CoolSculpting works?

Yes! There’s actually over 100 peer-reviewed research papers talking about the safety and efficacy of CoolSculpting.

This 2009 study was designed to determine if spot reduction in humans was caused by cold exposure – and it’s the foundation of research behind freezing fat. There were 10 subjects treated with the prototype cooling device, and 9 of the 10 noticed a visible result and reduction in the fat layer, when tested via ultrasound). 

Results showed CoolSculpting, a.k.a. cryolipolysis reduced the fat layer by as much as 20 to 25% and the results were still present six months later.  In other words, the controlled cooling killed the unwanted fat by up to 25% and results lasted long-term.


So is CoolSculpting effective?  Science says yes.  Whether or not it will work for you is another question! Let’s chat about it at a  consultation.

How long does it take for CoolSculpting to work?

Most clients notice CoolSculpting results around 6-8 weeks after their session. How long it takes for CoolSculpting to work relies on your body, and how fast or slow your metabolism and lymphatic system are able to process out the fat. 

Earlier, we talked about the 2009 study showing the efficacy of CoolSculpting. Those results showed an average fat layer reduction of 20.4% at two months, and 25.5% at six months after treatment. 

What’s the average amount of time until you notice CoolSculpting Results?

Based on our own personal experiences and the reports we hear from our clients in Dallas, Texas, we’d say that’s pretty accurate. Expect to see subtle changes at 3-4 weeks, more noticeable results at 6-8 weeks and full results at 3-4 months after treatment.


Depending on the practice you choose, the expertise and training of the provider, along with your medical history and medical clearance protocols dictated by the healthcare professional overseeing the CoolSculpting treatment (keep in mind, CoolSculpting is a prescription and a medical procedure) your treatment cadence, recommendation, and timeline to results may vary.

Does CoolSculpting Work Right Away?

You definitely won’t notice your CoolSculpting results right away. In fact, after a CoolSculpting treatment, expect some redness, swelling, bruising and numbness for a bit. 

Looking for a quick fix? CoolSculpting is not the best choice.

Will one CoolSculpting treatment work?

It almost sounds too good to be true when you hear you can freeze your fat. The idea that something like this actually works feels like a longshot. You may be wondering if you can start with one round of treatment and see how you feel before diving all in.

We’ve already talked in detail about the success rate and efficacy of CoolSculpting and mentioned you should expect a 20-25% reduction, on average, of the treated tissue.


That goes to say, one CoolSculpting treatment should work if you’re looking for a subtle improvement in the area. Results do vary from client to client, and results are not guaranteed. We’ll discuss the response rate with you in detail at a consultation.



Will one treatment of CoolSculpting meet your goal?

The real question is – will that meet your goal? Is 20% less fat the ideal outcome you’re looking for? Usually when clients are considering fat reduction, they want more than 20% of the area gone. They want half, if not most of the fat gone. 


 So what’s your goal with CoolSculpting? 

On one hand, we have clients who, after one round of treatment, are completely satisfied and their goals have been met! On the other hand, we have clients who want to continue their CoolSculpting journey after their first session, or who know before they ever get started that a subtle improvement (or about 20% of the fat layer being gone) would not achieve their goal. For those clients, multiple rounds of treatment can provide a more dramatic result.


Here’s a few before and after photos of clients with one round of CoolSculpting treatment. 

One round of CoolSculpting stomach fat on man

Lower Abdomen and Love Handle CoolSculpting results from one treatment on a male client.

CoolSculpting arm before and after

Upper Arm CoolSculpting results from one round of treatment on a female client.

CoolSculpting Abdomen

Abdomen CoolSculpting results from one round of treatment on a female client.

We’ll discuss how many rounds of CoolSculpting treatment you’ll need, and set the right expectation for your CoolSculpting journey at a free consultation. Keep in mind that were local business serving clients in Dallas, Texas and surrounding areas, so if you’re looking for a provider outside of Dallas Fort Worth, check out this link to find a provider near you.

What is the success rate of CoolSculpting?

While there’s a lot of research around CoolSculpting, there are also a lot of mixed reviews online. You may have noticed that we have a lot of positive CoolSculpting reviews, and that’s because we focus on providing the absolute best advice, even if that means pointing you in the direction of a different business for a procedure that will best meet your goals. All we offer is CoolSculpting, but whether it’s the right choice for you or not, we want to earn your trust.


CoolSculpting is a tool, and when used with the right protocols, on the right clients, with the right expectations in mind, we see a very high success rate and high satisfaction rate for a CoolSculpting clients.

What’s the average response rate for CoolSculpting?

Just because we see a high success rate, doesn’t mean all clients respond the exact same way to CoolSculpting. Again, we see an average reduction of 20 to 25% of the fat layer treated, with each round of treatment. What that means is a visible reduction in the fat layer and a noticeable results with each session.

Clinical Study “Success Rates” for CoolSculpting

Here’s the “brief” version of what happened in the study evaluating results… Three independent physicians were asked to look at “before and after” photos and identify clients who were treated. In addition to photos, ultrasound measurements were taken of those who were treated. 


The physicians were able to accurately identify clients treated with CoolSculpting between 83% and 91% of the time. In looking at ultrasound reductions, the success rate of CoolSculpting showed a reduction between 1.9 mm and 3.92 mm in the treated areas, varying by body area. 

You can take a look at the actual results, broken down by body area and do a little more research on the success rate of CoolSculpting by checking out this safety information sheet published by the manufactures of the CoolSculpting system in 2021.

More simply put, the studies from the makers of the CoolSculpting technology showed an average reduction of between 20 and 25% on a bell curve of the treated fat, with some clients responding a bit more and some a bit less.


What if CoolSculpting doesn’t work?

How often do we see a low response from CoolSculpting?

We’ve performed thousands of treatments in the past few years and we’ve seen 3 low or “no” response clients in that timeframe. That’s our experience, but the manufacturer of the CoolSculpting technology has also conducted clinical studies to talk about the success rate and breaks down the results by the body area.  

If you were treated with CoolSculpting and feel like it didn’t work, the first action would be to schedule after photos with your treating provider. Often times, you can forget what you looked like prior to an aesthetic treatment.

Be Patient. Results take time.

Keep in mind that CoolSculpting results develop slowly, which means that you may not notice a difference even if there is a substantial one because you see yourself every day. If you’ve already taken photos, and there’s a nominal or no difference at all, then open a dialogue and honest conversation with your provider. Here at Element Body Lab, in Dallas Texas, we focus on exceptional CoolSculpting technique, delivering excellent customer service, and providing our clients with results.

If you’re a client of ours, we have a policy in place to protect your investment and results. Schedule a follow up appointment if you’re not noticing changes and let’s talk.

What areas can you treat with CoolSculpting?

If you’re considering CoolSculpting, you can treat pockets of pinchable fat anywhere between your chin and your knees.

The places you can treat at Element Body Lab, the Dallas CoolSculpting Experts include:

  • Abdomen (or stomach fat)
  • Love handles and hips (also called flanks)
  • Bra fat or back fat
  • Inner and outer thighs
  • Upper arm
  • Armpit fat (called the Axillary puff)
  • Double chin or jawline
  • Banana roll, or directly beneath the buttocks

CoolSculpting target areas

Where is CoolSculpting most effective?

CoolSculpting is most effective between the chin and the knees to spot reduce pinchable pockets of fat.


The best place to treat is the place that you notice – and the most dramatic results we see are based on a texture of fat, but not a particular area.  The more pliable the tissue, or the softer the fat feels, the more dramatic the CoolSculpting result is, per session generally speaking.

Different clients respond differently to the technology. Everything involved with the CoolSculpting treatment is customized and tailored to your unique anatomy. 

Who does CoolSculpting work best on?

We see the best results on clients who are happy with their weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but are looking to spot reduce a trouble area. If you’re considering CoolSculpting, understand it’s not a weight loss procedure and you’ll need the right expectation in mind. If you’re within 5-10 pounds of your ideal weight -OR- are more concerned with the body area, not the number on the scale, let’s chat and see if CoolSculpting is right for you.


Book a consultation right here.


Did CoolSculpting work for you?

A note from our founder

I fell in love with a CoolSculpting technology after I was treated. CoolSculpting really worked for me and changed the overall shape and composition of my body.

Why did I do CoolSculpting?

All of my adolescence and adult life prior to CoolSculpting, I was pear-shaped. I carried most of my fat through my low belly, love handles, hips, and legs. I felt like I had really large inner and outer thighs for as long as I could remember, so I was treated with CoolSculpting in all those spaces, over time.

When I was considering CoolSculpting, I really just wanted less muffin top and to be a little more proportional through my hips.  I was really skeptical at first, so I started slow. The first area I treated was my love handles and even after my first session.


Did I notice a difference after being treated?

Even after my first session, I noticed a huge result from my CoolSculpting treatment. It was wild! I felt more confident, the clothes I picked changed, and I dove all on and started treating additional places with CoolSculpting.

What were my results like?

I love my CoolSculpting results. I feel more confident in and out of clothes and I feel like my body is so much more proportionate with the figure I like. I’m much more of an hourglass, less of a pear shape now.

In case you wanted to see my results, here you go…”

Coolsculpting thighs before and after
CoolSculpting arm before and after
CoolSculpting Abdomen