FAQs on Freezing Fats Off with CoolSculpting


The frustration over stubborn fats has been a familiar chorus sung by so many. This struggle may just be your story too if you’ve also done the rounds finding ways to burn fats. If all these other options don’t seem to work for you, why not think outside the box and freeze them instead? You can do so with CoolSculpting!

Fat freezing is no quack solution plucked out of a sci-fi movie. In fact, it has been around for quite some time, but not many are aware that there is such an option out there! The mechanism is grounded on science, and it’s proven to be a safe and effective body contouring treatment that gets rid of unwanted fats permanently. 

But, before you jump right into it. Let’s walk through these 14 questions that you should be asking. 

What is CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting Machine

This is an FDA-approved aesthetic treatment that uses a handheld device that freezes the fat below the skin surface. It’s not a weight loss procedure, but rather it targets areas of fat that are unresponsive to diet and exercise. This biologic process is called cryolipolysis, and it permanently kills the fat cells using cold temperature. 


What to expect during the CoolSculpting procedure?

The treatment starts with an assessment of the dimensions and shape of the fatty bulge that needs to be treated. An applicator of the appropriate size and curvature will be chosen and the areas of concern are marked. Afterwards, a gel pad is applied to protect the skin surface. The applicator is then positioned where the bulge is vacuumed into the hollow of the applicator. Patients may experience some discomfort as the vacuum pulls on the tissue. However, this resolves within minutes because as the temperature drops within the applicator, the treated area becomes numb. 

Will I lose a lot of fat?

According to studies, an individual can lose up to 25% of fat in the treated areas. Once frozen these cells die through a process called apoptosis (programmed cell death). The cellular debris is eliminated through your lymphatic system, after which, these are excreted through the body through the gastrointestinal tract. It’s important to stay hydrated to continually flush out these fat cells from your system. 

Fat freezing process - Dr Tyng Tan

Will fat freezing be suitable for me?

To determine if CoolSculpting is the right treatment for you, practitioners choose patients based on these criteria:

  • You’re near your target weight, but with enough fat to treat (means you are able to pinch and inch or more of fat in an area)
  • Individuals who are generally healthy
  • You’re not pregnant or planning on getting pregnant soon 
  • You’re not keen to undergo liposuction
  • You have a realistic view of the treatment

What are the health conditions to look out for?

Since the technology uses intense cold temperatures to freeze fat and fat cells, it would be important to avoid the treatment if you are suffering from cryoglobulinemia, paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria, and cold agglutinin disease. While these conditions may seem like a mouthful, it would help if you seek professional advice for this treatment. It’s also essential that you disclose any existing condition you may have during your consultation. 

How much does a CoolSculpting treatment cost?

The average cost of a CoolSculpting session in Singapore is around S$600. This will vary based on the area/s being targeted and the extent of work that needs to be done. So, to get an accurate quote, consult your doctor first to determine the number of treatments your problem areas require. 


Who is the right practitioner to approach for CoolSculpting?

Based on the 2016 Guideline on Aesthetic Practices for Doctors by the Singapore Medical Council the following are allowed to provide fat freezing treatments:

  • Dermatologists
  • Plastic Surgeons
  • Doctors who are non-specialists and other specialists with the required number of procedures done during 1 October 2006 to 30 September 2008. 


What can I expect after the treatment?

The first thing you will notice after the treatment would be the redness over the treated area. This was the fat tissues that were being targeted by the applicator. To get rid of this, the provider will massage the area. There is no downtime needed after the treatment so the patient is free to do his or her regular activities again.

How long will the results last?

Fat freezing is clinically proven to produce permanent results. Once stubborn fats have been treated with cryolipolysis, they crystallise, die, and eventually are eliminated from the body. Once these fat cells are gone, they are gone for good.

However, it doesn’t mean that you’re in the clear for any unwanted fats in the future. Fats in other areas of the body will still grow if you are not mindful of your diet and lifestyle. Therefore, maintain a good figure with healthy food intake and regular exercise.


What happens to consumed fat after CoolSculpting?

Consuming too many calories more than your body can burn will not cause untreated areas to get bigger. The excess fat will be distributed equally throughout the fat cells in your body. You may have less fat cells in your body after the treatment, but as it stores the excess, you can end up “stretching out” the cells with extra fat. However, with the decrease in the number of fat cells in the treated area, there will be less weight gain observed in that area. 

It is worth noting that once you get a CoolSculpting treatment, it’s wise to consume as many calories that you can burn through lifestyle and exercise. You may also consult your practitioner so you can learn how to maximise the results and keep them for the long term. 


What are the possible side effects of CoolSculpting?

Usually, patients experience mild side effects such as redness, tingling, and numbness which resolves within a few days. However, CoolSculpting also comes with a serious side effect called Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia (PAH), or what is also called the “stick of butter” effect. It is characterised by a hardened area of localised fat, resembling the device applicator, which develops after the procedure. 

PAH, however, is not life-threatening. It is treatable with liposuction, but patients who develop it would have to wait for about six to nine months until the fat is soft enough to be removed safely. This can be difficult for a patient, both physically and emotionally. Therefore, it’s important that you seek help from an aesthetic doctor who has the license to operate the device in Singapore and the skill to create safe and aesthetically-pleasing results. 


Is CoolSculpting the same as liposuction?


Both treatments share similarities and differences. If you are weighing these two options, know that besides all the factors mentioned below, your doctor is a good source of advice in finding a suitable solution to your struggle with stubborn fats. 

Coolsculpting vs Liposuction Infographic

Will CoolSculpting results be affected if I get pregnant?

Having learned of what fat freezing can do, you probably realised that this would be a good addition to mommy makeover treatment. But, would it be wise to get it done if you still want to have another baby later on?

Fortunately, the results of this procedure are long-lasting but it can be altered by circumstances like significant weight gain or pregnancy. It is difficult to know how your body will be affected by subsequent pregnancies. However, it is assured that CoolSculpting can offer consistent results with each treatment series. Make sure you work with a board-certified practitioner who is a CoolSculpting expert to ensure an optimal outcome with every session. 


Can the procedure be replicated at home with ice?

The process behind CoolSculpting may be derived from the effects of popsicles on cheek fat, but the effects delivered by the device is not comparable to mere ice exposure. What you are subjecting your stubborn fats to with each session is controlled fat freezing. This is to ensure that the desired cooling temperatures are safe, especially to the skin surface.

When you simply expose the area to ice, you may develop an “ice burn” which occurs when the water in the cells of your skin freezes. This forms sharp ice crystals which can damage your skin. Furthermore, the constriction of blood vessels in response to low temperature can only worsen the injury to your skin. 

CoolSculpting has been a reliable non-invasive body contouring treatment. But we understand if you still have some reservations about it. We hope that by answering the questions above, we are able to give clarity on some of your concerns. If you wish to learn more or opt for this treatment, we would be happy to help you through this process. We’re just a call away if you wish to book a consultation with Dr Tyng Tan


About Dr Tyng Tan

Dr. Tan Tyng Yuan, MBBS completed her graduate and medical education in the United Kingdom over a span of 10 years.

She is also certified by the Aesthetic Practice Oversight Committee (APOC) to operate various laser devices for skin conditions, administer dermal fillers, Botox and chemical peel.