The CoolSculpting® Process

Our team is experienced with applying the CoolSculpting® device to body areas with extra fat that you would like to eliminate. During the procedure, we place the treatment area between two cooling plates, which emit low temperatures that penetrate the skin and reach fatty tissues. The cells cannot withstand the cold and are destroyed. However, the cold temperatures only affect the fat cells, leaving skin, nerves and blood vessels unharmed. For each problem area, the process takes about an hour and you can sometimes do more than one area during a session. Many of our patients choose to treat multiple areas in one session, which can take several hours.

How Does Fat Disappear? 

One of the most common questions about CoolSculpting® patients ask us is: how does the fat disappear? Once the fat cells are destroyed, they are processed through the body’s natural elimination system. It typically takes about 2-3 weeks before you start seeing the results. The final result may take up up to three months. It is important that you understand this isn’t a weight loss solution. It is a body sculpting procedure, which focuses on reducing localized fat. A healthy diet and regular exercise are essential for losing or maintaining weight.

CoolSculpting results

Woman lounging on a deck by a pool

Are There Any Risks?

As with all types of medical procedures, CoolSculpting® does have some side effects, though the risk of serious complications is minimal. The more common symptoms after a treatment are temporary soreness, bruising and numbness. Most people who have the treatment did not report serious discomfort during and after the procedure is completed. Other side effects are rare, but they include numbness lasting a week or longer in the treated area, increased pain and soreness. Though the risk of adverse side effects still significantly less than if you had liposuction.

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Is CoolSculpting the Same as Liposuction?

No, it is definitely not the same thing. The procedures address fat reduction in different ways. Liposuction is considered a type of surgery, while CoolSculpting® is a minimally invasive procedure. During liposuction, fat is mechanically removed using suction. CoolSculpting® kills fat cells, which will be removed by the body’s cleansing system over a few months. 

The biggest benefits of CoolSculpting® over liposuction is less downtime. Most CoolSculpting® patients experience less bruising, soreness, and swelling after the procedure than a typical liposuction patient. After the treatment, no compression garments to be worn. There are a lot of people who have gotten CoolSculpting® and millions who have gotten liposuction. Dr. Miguel Delgado—our Bay Area plastic surgeon—and our team will help you identify the best treatments to get rid of stubborn fat—either surgical or non-surgical.

CoolSculpting Procedures

Before Your Procedure

During your CoolSculpting® consultation, we will evaluate skin and fat tissues in areas you would like treated. Realistic expectations for fat reduction will be established, and the sites for applicator placement and the number of cycles will be planned based on a whole-body assessment. The treatment areas will be prioritized to establish a plan that will best address your goals within their budgetary restrictions. Dr. Delgado has found that two cycles, spaced 8 weeks apart, typically produce the best results per treatment site. You will leave the office with a packet, which includes a cost breakdown and treatment plan.

Pre-Procedure Evaluation

No medications or lab testing are required prior to the procedure. Patients can drive themselves home after a treatment and there is usually no need to take time off work after the procedure. Compression garments do not have to be worn and most patients can resume normal exercise routines soon after the procedure. Just call and make your appointment for your CoolSculpting® treatment.

Day of Your Procedure

On the day of treatment, you will meet with the medical assistant for baseline photographs, after which the medical assistant will perform CoolSculpting® in our Marin County facility. Each treatment cycle is 60 minutes in duration and is performed in a special treatment room. We have different CoolSculpting® treatment heads, specifically designed to target different body areas.

Post Treatment Care

Patients typically resume normal activities immediately after the procedure. The post treatment care instructions contain information on potential side effects, including the possibility of erythema or redness, edema or swelling, bruising, and soreness in the treated areas. Temporary numbness and itching in the treated area can also occur. The follow-up visit is usually conducted 2 or 3 months after the initial treatment. At that point, patients meet with the medical assistant for follow-up photographs, weight measurement, discussion of results and an evaluation of patient satisfaction.

San Francisco skyline

Who is a Candidate?

Because CoolSculpting® is not ‘weight loss’ technology, it isn’t appropriate for everyone. However if you have very specific problem area(s), you may be a good candidate for the procedure. Ideal patients should not have an excessive amount of extra weight; in fact, it is recommended that they be fairly close to their ideal weight. CoolSculpting® is not a replacement for low-calorie diet—it does not remove fat cells in the same way as liposuction, nor does it cause you to lose pounds. It is a technique to sculpt those problems areas by killing the fat cells. If you have slightly bulging pockets where you could grab the excess fat (like love handles), you might want to consider CoolSculpting®. This procedure has become the gold standard for people who worry about undergoing liposuction and have small pockets of fat that bother them.

Are You a Candidate?

CoolSculpting® is a new procedure that uses special cooling plates and cooling energy technology to kill fat cells in your body. It isn’t a way to lose weight, but if you have areas of your body that contain stubborn fat that you can’t seem to eliminate, this treatment may be an option.

It isn’t for everyone though, so it does help to have a better understanding on who makes a good candidate. Here is everything you need to know about who may benefit from the procedure, as well as more about the procedure and recovery experience.

CoolSculpting Versus Other Methods?

CoolSculpting® is sometimes compared to other fat-reduction procedures, but its technology is actually quite different. Unlike other minimally-invasive fat-reducing procedures that rely on heat energy to melt fat (such as radiofrequency), CoolSculpting® kills the fat cells by freezing them. CoolSculpting® in a non-surgical procedure and does not require general anesthesia.

Contact us today if you would like to learn more about CoolSculpting®. If you have minimal weight to lose and only a few inches of fat in problem areas, it may work well for you.

"Dr. Delgado and his staff are simply the best. I am satisfied in every way with the wonderful group of experienced professionals. I have my new-found confidence because of the amazing work of Dr. Delgado!"

Skin Laxity After Treatment

In general, patients do not have to worry about loose skin after recovery. Because only a small amount of fat cells are being removed, the procedure usually does not produce loose skin issues in the treatment area. If your skin has a lower elasticity in the area, it may become slightly loose, and we will discuss this potential issue. For the majority of the people loose skin is not an issue, because the fat will not be removed quickly like with liposuction.

The main problem with loose skin after losing weight is because either a large amount of weight was lost, or because it was lost over a short period of time. For example, during a pregnancy, the skin on your stomach and hips stretch gradually, but after the baby is born, the body changes shape rather quickly. The overstretched skin may not bounce back, resulting in loose skin. Rapid weight loss can produce the same effects. Because fat reduction with CoolSculpting® is gradual and does not cause result in a rapid change of volume, this side effect is usually not an issue with most patients.

Recovery From CoolSculpting

Since downtime is minimal, recovery from CoolSculpting® is usually simple and easy. Unlike surgical procedures, where the fat is gone instantly, it actually takes about 6-8 weeks for fat cells damaged by CoolSculpting® to be gradually removed.

The most common side effects following CoolSculpting® are temporary—minor bruising, soreness and numbness of the area. The amount of soreness experienced really depends on the person, but for most patients, it is not enough to cause significant problems. A patient may have numbness or soreness for a longer period of time, but prolonged side effects are considered rare.

Most patients can expect to go back to work the day after the procedure and can even get back to activities a few hours after having the procedure done.

Comfortable chairs

CoolSculpting Before & After Photos

Click on images to expand


How Long Does it Take?

How Does the Treatment Process Work?

Will I Feel It?

What Will the Results Be?

Can I Get Repeat Sessions Done?

How Long Does it Take?

The CoolSculpting® process generally takes about an hour; start to finish, though it can last up to three hours if you are getting more than one section done at a time. Each section will take about an hour to get it prepared and use the cooling plates to destroy the fat cells in that region.

How Does the Treatment Process Work?

The CoolSculpting® process begins with your consultation. We want to be sure you are a good candidate for this/other procedures and examine the areas of your body of concern. Our team will evaluate the area to determine what size, shape and the number of cooling plates that will be required. On the day of your procedure, the tissue will then be placed into two cooling plates where the low temperatures are able to kill the fat cells.

Will I Feel It?

You are not likely to feel pain, but you will feel the extreme coldness of the plates and a small amount of pressure. This only lasts for a few minutes, and then the rest of the hour is spent reading, watching video, listening to music, using your phone or any other activity while sitting in the treatment chair. Afterward, you may have a little numbness, bruising or soreness, but it should be short lived.

What Will the Results Be?

You will not notice a loss of fat right away. A percentage of your fat cells in the treatment area are injured, so it takes a few weeks for the fat to break down and be absorbed by the body. You will start to notice results about 4-6 weeks after treatment, and may continue seeing improvements up to 12 weeks later. CoolSculpting® patients are likely to return a few months after their first treatment for a second session—to minimize the number of fat cells in the areas they are concerned about. Please keep in mind—if you gain weight after the procedure or fail to follow a good fitness routine, it will hurt results.

Can I Get Repeat Sessions Done?

You can, but Dr. Delgado advises to waiting at least 2-3 months before returning. This is how long it takes for the damaged fat cells to be removed from the treated area. We often treat areas more than once, as Dr. Delgado feels that twice in the area gets the best results.


165 Rowland Way, Suite #300 Novato, CA 94945


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450 Sutter St #2433 San Francisco, CA 94108

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