Are Fat Freezing treatments dangerous?

Fat Freezing or Cryolipolysis is a non-surgical cosmetic procedure that helps you to get rid of unwanted body fat. It is clinically proven and effective at reducing stubborn areas, or pockets of fat that don’t respond to dieting or exercise. But are Fat Freezing treatments dangerous?

Cryolipolysis is a non-invasive, pain-free treatment, that provides a non-surgical alternative to traditional Liposuction.

Fat freezing treatments have been around since 2010 when the first Fat Freezing device “CoolSculpting” achieved FDA approval for fat reduction treatments on the Flanks / Love Handle area.

The FDA is a US government agency that assesses the safety and effectiveness of things like drugs, food and medical devices to protect public health.

Fat Freezing is a Low-Risk Treatment

Since then, millions of Fat Freezing treatments have been delivered worldwide and the procedure is recognised as a safe and effective treatment for the reduction of subcutaneous fat. So in answer to the question, “are Fat Freezing treatments dangerous’ the answer is no.

During your procedure, a device is attached to your body and positioned directly over the fat pocket that you are looking to reduce. The device then chills your fat tissue down to around -10°c. This freezes and kills some of the fat cells. Over the coming weeks, your dead fat cells travel through your lymphatic system and are slowly flushed out of your body. Results can normally be seen around 8 – 12 weeks following your treatment.

Fat Freezing offers many benefits over surgical liposuction procedures. It is pain-free, there is no recovery time, it is completely non-invasive and is a fraction of the cost of liposuction.

However, Fat Freezing does have some side effects and risks that you should consider before opting for the treatment. We ould advise our clients of the following side effects.

Side Effects of Fat Freezing


Bruising can occur in an area that has been treated. This is caused by the suction pressure that holds the device in place over the fat pocket. The most common areas that bruise are the Flanks, Back and Chin. Any bruising will subside over 3 – 10 days after your treatment.

Localised, Temporary Numbness

During the procedure, the treated area will go numb. This is caused by exposing the fat tissue to the cold temperature. The numbness can last anywhere from a few hours and up to a couple of weeks. Most clients report that sensation returns after 24 hours.


On completion of the treatment and after removing the device from the fat pocket, the area will be visibly red. This is caused by exposure to the cold temperature. Normal skin colour will return over the next few hours after the procedure has finished.

Mild swelling

A small number of clients have reported some mild swelling in the body area that has been treated. This will subside over the next few days after the procedure. Gentle self-massage can help to reduce swelling should it occur.

Feeling of Cold

After the treatment, it is normal for you to feel quite chilly. We keep our treatment rooms cool during the treatment and the actual procedure can make your body feel quite cold. The treated tissue will be frozen and cold to touch immediately after the treatment and this may take up to 24 hours to return to a normal temperature.

Risks and Complications of Fat Freezing

As with all surgical or non-surgical treatments, Fat Freezing does have a small number of risks or complications that can occur following a procedure. Fat Freezing is a very safe treatment. The complications listed below are very rare when delivered by experienced and highly trained practitioners.

We recommend that if you experience any of the complications below you should immediately contact the clinic where you received the treatment so that they can help you.

Freeze Burn

A freeze burn is a contact burn that can occur if your skin comes into direct contact with the device during the procedure. This is a rare complication of Cryolipolysis. To minimise the risk of a freeze burn occurring, it is important that a protective pad is placed onto your skin to act as a barrier between your skin and the device.

Should you experience a freeze burn, we recommend you contact the clinic where you received the treatment immediately. They will be able to help you manage and treat the burn effectively.

Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

A rare complication with a Fat Freeze treatment is a condition called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). PIH is caused by inflammation or damage to the skin and can be seen as a discoloured or darker patch of skin. It is more common in darker skin tones.

Should you experience PIH, please be assured that is will resolve on its own over time or there are a variety of topical treatments that can be applied to lighten the discolouration.

Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia

A very rare side effect of Cryolipolysis is a complication called Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia. This causes the fat cells that are treated to actually increase in size, creating an enlarged, firm mass.

This complication has been seen in a small number of treatments, affecting mostly Hispanic men. It is not known or understood why this occurs.

To Summarise

Fat Freezing is not a dangerous treatment and is recognised as one of the most popular body sculpting treatment available today.

Our advice would be to ensure you choose a reputable and professional aesthetic clinic, who provide a comprehensive consultation.

A clinic should assess your suitability, manage your expectations and provide information on expected treatment results. They should inform you of the aftercare requirements and explain all the side effects and risks associated with the procedure.

We recommend that your treatment should be carried out by a highly trained and experienced aesthetic therapist or medical professional.


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