What Does CoolSculpting Feel Like?

Handsome young man in blue jeans with naked torso It is no secret that CoolSculpting is one of the leading body contouring treatments of our time. What does feel like a secret to some people is how the procedure works. If you are interested in whittling down some unwanted fat on a resistant area of your body, the idea of CoolSculpting may sound, well, cool. However, we understand the hesitancy that you might feel if you’re unsure what the treatment will feel like. This is both the benefit and the downside of nonsurgical fat reduction. It works without anesthetic, but that means you feel everything. Here, we’ll clue you in on what that “everything” is.

Your CoolSculpting Treatment, Step-by-Step

Before the CoolSculpting procedure, patients meet with Dr. Bucay or our expert CoolSculpting clinician for a full 360-degree assessment of their body type, shape, and problem areas. This helps us understand exactly what is wanted and how we might achieve the desired outcome. When we see and evaluate what we’re dealing with, we can discuss our recommendations in terms of how many CoolSculpting sessions may be needed, how often they should happen, and the overall cost of the treatment plan.

On the day of the CoolSculpting session, we may take pictures of the treatment area or areas. This way, we can see (and show you!) the difference that occurs in between each session, as well as from start to finish. We then map out where the applicators will sit. Before placing the applicator, we apply a thin sheet of gel over the skin. This acts as a barrier between the skin and the cooling panels, a necessary step in preventing tissue damage. Then, when the applicator is applied, a tugging sensation is felt. This is not painful but it can feel odd.

When the CoolSculpting machine is turned on, the applicator panels gradually cool. You will feel the is almost immediately and will continue to feel colder in the treatment area for three to five minutes. The cooling can begin to feel uncomfortable but what usually happens is that just at the moment when it feels intense, the area goes numb. Once this happens, you can expect to rest comfortably for the duration of your treatment session. The applicators are typically left in place for 35 to 45 minutes, though some sessions may take longer. Your clinician will discuss your treatment time with you during your consultation so there are no surprises.

When the CoolSculpting applicator is removed, the area we have treated looks like a stick of butter. It is firm and cold and shaped like the applicator! To break up the fat cells that have been cooled, the provider gently massages the tissue for about two minutes. Some people worry that this part of the treatment will hurt. It usually does not. Remember, the tissue is numb so doesn’t necessarily register pain. The massage can feel odd or uncomfortable, but patients typically do not describe it as painful.

After the CoolSculpting treatment, it is completely normal for the area to feel tender. You won’t need any downtime to recover. You can resume all of your normal activities, and can even work out if you wish. The tenderness may be coupled with swelling that last for up to a week after your treatment. Numbness can take a little time to resolve. The treated area may take a few weeks to fully regain its sensation. This can differ for everyone.

So, is CoolSculpting tolerable? It is. Overall, the sensations that are associated with this fat-freezing treatment are mildly to moderately uncomfortable, not painful. And, the results are worth it!

Are you interested in leaping into your best body this year? Contact our Sonterra or La Casita office and schedule your consultation for body contouring with CoolSculpting or one of our other proven slimming, toning treatments.

Schedule A Consultation



01. Get to know Dr. Bucay, Dr. Bhandari and Dr. Noorily.

02. Help her understand you and your goals.

03. Learn about our services and specialties.

“Very comfortable environment, all staff very were very professional, and Dr. Bucay was a delight. She is an artist with the skills and compassion that focus specifically on the clients needs. Dr. Bucay is amazing.”

–Jorie K.


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Talia Noorily MD

A Message from Dr. Bucay: Champions for Change Gala

This year I am honored to join the committee for the Champions for Change Gala, taking place on May 10, 2023 at Ziegfield Ballroom in NYC.

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