How Does CoolSculpting® Work?

South Carolina’s Dr. Marguerite Germain Breaks Down Cryolipolysis® for Charleston, and Beyond

From Googling “how to lose belly fat” to stressing over chin rolls in a selfie, most of us have a few pockets of fat here and there that we would like to slim down. Fortunately, we no longer live in an age where we are forced to accept the very real limitations of dieting and exercise, and CoolSculpting® has become one of the most effective, long-term methods of fat reduction. But how exactly does CoolSculpting® work? South Carolina’s Dr. Marguerite Germain, serving Summerville and beyond, explains.

It is important to understand that CoolSculpting® cannot be used as a weight loss method but is an effective treatment to target unwanted, localized areas of fat on patients who are within a healthy weight range and are committed to staying that way through adequate dietary and exercise measures. Learn more about how fat reduction differs from weight reduction here.

For a personalized discussion about reducing fat and tightening lax skin, schedule a complimentary consultation for CoolSculpting® at our South Carolina practice, serving Summerville and beyond. Contact our office online or by phone at (843) 881-4440.

What is Cryolipolysis®?

The term Cryolipolysis® is a portmanteau or combination of three other words: “cryogenic” + “lipid” + “lysis.” In lay terms, this simply means “fat-freezing breakdown,” and is the working principle behind the CoolSculpting® device.

This process was first discovered at Harvard University, where the scientists Dieter Manstein, MD, and R. Rox Anderson, MD, noticed that some children developed dimples in their cheeks after consuming popsicles. Upon further investigation, the researchers found that the cold temperature of the popsicles produced these results by freezing small pockets of fat cells (the leftovers of these were flushed naturally from the body).

This theory that cold could result in fat reduction was applied to CoolSculpting® technology. The result is a safe, FDA-cleared device that can break down fat cells while leaving the skin and other surrounding tissues unharmed.

CoolSculpting® gradually cools the treatment area in a controlled manner to a temperature of about 39° F, at which fat cells crystallize and eventually die, while skin or other types of vital cells stay unharmed — this is what is often referred to as “selective destruction of fat cells.” Over time, the fat cells crystallized through CoolSculpting® break down and get flushed out of the body through its own natural processes.

While the affected cells leave the body, the remaining fat cells in the area can still grow with weight gain. We emphasize following a healthy diet and exercise regimen to maintain long-term results.

Where You Receive Your CoolSculpting® Treatment Matters

While the Cryolipolysis® process may sound relatively simple, placing a bag of frozen peas over the area is simply not the same — cold-assisted lipolysis must be performed at a safe temperature range under the supervision of an appropriately licensed and trained medical professional, and should be targeted enough so that the heat energy is being taken away precisely at the areas where fat reduction is required.

We firmly believe that no matter where you choose to receive treatment, the highest standards of both effectiveness and safety can only be maintained at a medical-grade facility supervised by a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon, with licensed and trained providers administering treatment.

Read more about our practice’s own extensive experience performing thousands of successful CoolSculpting® sessions, earning us the distinction of being a CoolSculpting® certified provider and a Crystal Rewards Preferred Member.

Which Areas of the Body Can CoolSculpting® Treat?

Because of the wide range of applicators available, CoolSculpting® can be used on nearly any area of the body. The device is FDA-cleared to treat fat deposits in the following areas:


  • Submentum (under the chin)
  • Upper arms
  • Back fat (especially bra bulge)
  • Banana roll (fatty area under buttocks)
  • Inner and outer thighs
  • Abdomen and tummy
  • Flanks (love handles)
  • Knees

CoolSculpting® is also FDA-cleared to tighten lax skin tissue under the chin when used in conjunction with its cold-assisted lipolysis.

What to Expect During a CoolSculpting® Treatment Session

After a thorough consultation, you will determine with one of our CoolSculpting® specialists which body parts you would like to target for fat reduction, and the details of your package (such as number and duration of treatment sessions, pre-and post-treatment care, cost, complementary procedures, etc.) will be set.

No pre-treatment anesthetic is required, as the CoolSculpting® process is not expected to be painful. Cooling panels will be placed over the fatty area to draw it in via vacuum for ample and even controlled cooling — the only exception to this is when the CoolSmooth PRO applicator is used to treat non-pinchable fat, as it does not utilize vacuum suction.

As the CoolSculpting® device starts to gradually cool down the area, you may feel a moderate to intense cooling sensation. Patients tend to adjust to this temperature change relatively quickly and spend the rest of the session being able to read, use mobile devices, or even take a nap. Our provider will check on your progress as the session continues.

A typical CoolSculpting® session at our practice lasts between 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the number and size of the areas being treated. This also affects the total number of sessions that may be required to achieve your desired results.

To learn whether you are a candidate for CoolSculpting®, contact our South Carolina office serving
Summerville and beyond online or call (843) 881-4440 to request a complimentary consultation.