Home » How Long Does It Take to Recover from Cryolipolysis?

How Long Does It Take to Recover from Cryolipolysis?

by Melissa Bell
6 minutes read

Cryolipolysis is a non-surgical or non-invasive method of reducing fat in the human body. It is FDA approved and is an effective way for patients to reduce unwanted fat in specific areas. Perhaps you are looking to remove unwanted bulges or tone up areas such as the lower buttocks or thighs.

Everyone has some area of their body that they might like to change given the chance but not everyone wants to undergo surgery. Cryolipolysis allows people to change the appearance of parts of their physique without the need of surgery or the inherent risks that it involves.

Anytime anyone undergoes surgery they put themselves at risk of infection, complications or side effects. Cuts, tools entering the body and anesthetic can all cause problems but non-invasive techniques are a more modern, safer way to change your appearance and reduce fat.

fat cells in the human body

What exactly is cryolipolysis?

Cryolipolysis is the name given to fat freezing. The brand name given to this treatment is CoolSculpting which you may have seen in clinics or on the internet. It is the most non-invasive FDA approved technique to reduce unwanted fat cells in the human body.

It works through an applicator that is applied to the skin along with gel to cool the fat cells below the surface without actually damaging the skin or the organs below. Because it only penetrates to a certain level it cannot cause any harm to the human organs but fat cells are especially susceptible to cold. In fact, fat cells are damaged by heat and radiotherapy too which is why there are now more types of non-invasive methods of reducing fat on the market.

How does cryolipolysis or fat freezing work?

Once the vacuum applicator is applied to the skin the patient will feel a cooling effect not unlike the numbness felt with anesthetic. The treatment will begin and take up to an hour. If the area being treated is small then it can take less time. The abdomen for instance is a large area of the body and will take longer. All in all, a visit to a clinic for a cryolipolysis session may take a couple of hours but the modern applicators now used can speed up the treatment time.

How long is the recovery time after fat freezing?

The beauty of non-invasive methods to remove fat is there is no real recovery time. There is some time before the results become apparent though. Unlike going for a facial and seeing wonderful glowing skin instantly the effects of cryolipolysis takes some time to show.

The actual recovery time from the procedure or treatment is zero. Patients are able to leave the clinic after their treatment and resume normal activities straightaway.

A client or patient can leave the clinic and drive safely home because there is no anesthesia involved. They can also resume work, daily activities like shopping or socialising and even exercise. In fact, exercise is one important part of a person’s life if they are using cryolipolysis. To ensure the fat doesn’t return in other areas it is important to remain active and eat healthily.

Is there really no recovery time for cryolipolysis?

For non-surgical or non-invasive treatments there is normally no recovery time because there are no cuts, trauma or stitches involved. There are fewer side effects too because there is no risk of infection and there is no use of anesthesia.

If there is no recovery time then why aren’t the results of cryolipolysis immediate?

The reason the patient has to wait for the full results to show themselves is because it takes time for the frozen fat cells to disappear. After the treatment has been carried out the frozen fat cells will start to die. This is because fat cells cannot cope with these low temperatures while the other tissues and skin can. The cells will then start to be destroyed by the body and be metabolised. These will then leave the patient’s body over time leaving the toned look that was hoped for.

It can take between 6-12 weeks for the full results to be seen although sometimes some changes can be noted fairly quickly. However, there should be a period of waiting before the patient has any more sessions.

Cryolipolysis recovery time predictions by Doctor Hardik Soni state that anyone who has had this treatment waits a minimum 1 month before another session and up to 4 months. This is to make sure all the dead cells have been eliminated.

Are these results permanent or is cryolipolysis a repeat procedure?

The results are permanent but that doesn’t mean it is a one-off procedure. It will depend on your particular needs and your body on how many sessions you need. For instance, if you were looking to remove a double chin or the dreaded banana roll around the buttocks then it might only take one session.

An ideal candidate for cryolipolysis would be around 10-15% off of their ideal weight with a problem area of fat that refuses to shift. This person would likely need one session and then walk away with no recovery time.

Are there any side effects involved though?

Like any medical or beauty treatment there is the possibility of side effects. With fat freezing though, studies have shown there is a minimal chance of having any bad effects. Less than 1% of people reported having some minor problems. These included a tugging sensation in the area treated, numbness, redness, swelling and sensitivity. These generally disappeared within 24 hours but some remained longer. With surgical techniques such as liposuction however there is a bigger risk of infection, bruising, swelling and the need for antibiotics and compression garments to reduce swelling.

Before undergoing any medical or beauty treatment it is important to speak with a local clinic or chosen professional healthcare professional to ask any questions you may have and ask their advice. They can tell you what they can do to help you reach your goals safely and how to help yourself in the future. They will also make sure you are healthy and a suitable candidate for your chosen procedure.


There is no real recovery time for non-invasive fat freezing treatments, only the time it takes for the results to show themselves and then to be ready for a follow up session should it be needed. Cryolipolysis is effective for fat removal but you should choose a professional clinic and discuss all your options before deciding on the proper course for you.

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