University of Virginia Plastic Surgery
1300 Jefferson Park Avenue 4th Floor
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Phone: (434) 924-1234
Location Hours: Monday–Friday | 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Your First CoolSculpting® Experience: Before, During, After

A woman receives a CoolSculpting treatment.

Our bodies naturally change as we age. And sometimes, even for people who exercise daily and consume a healthy diet, stubborn bulges remain. Even though liposuction can reduce body fat, many people want to avoid—and may not need—invasive surgery. CoolSculpting® is a great body contouring alternative in these situations.

With zero downtime and consistent results, CoolSculpting is a great first experience for patients interested in noninvasive treatments. If you’re considering CoolSculpting for the first time, this post explains what occurs before, during, and after a CoolSculpting session at our Harrisonburg-area practice.


Every CoolSculpting journey begins by scheduling a consultation with our practice. You can do this online using our contact page or by calling the front office. During this one-on-one consultation with a member of our medical team, you will be able to discuss your cosmetic concerns and body contouring goals.

Your doctor will answer any important questions, such as treatment details and what to expect after the procedure. They might also suggest other body contouring options that would complement your CoolSculpting treatment (including injectables such as KYBELLA® if you’re concerned about a double chin.) Together, we’ll create a customized plan that works best for your lifestyle.


Arrive at least 10 minutes before your scheduled appointment, so you have time to check in and complete any final paperwork. Your provider will then lead you to the treatment room. The specific details of the treatment depend on the targeted areas. For example, patients getting CoolSculpting for love handles will have the skin and fatty tissue placed between 2 cooling panels. Other applicators are designed to treat areas without pinchable fat, such as the thighs. At the outset of the cooling process patients sometimes feel a tingling, but that only lasts about 5 minutes before the area becomes numb. Patients often read a book or check their phone during the treatment.

A CoolSculpting session typically takes as little as 45 minutes to an hour. Afterward, your provider will massage the treated areas where the fat has hardened.


Patients can return to their daily activities immediately after leaving the office. In the hours following treatment, patients may experience temporary swelling, bruising, or skin tenderness. These side effects subside after a few days.

You can start seeing your CoolSculpting results as early as 3 weeks after your first treatment. As your body begins to gradually shed the dead fat cells, the treatment areas appear slimmer and toned. The most noticeable changes are seen 1 to 3 months after treatment. For patients seeking a more dramatic transformation, a follow-up session can be scheduled.

One final note: it’s important to remember that CoolSculpting isn’t meant as a tool for weight loss. It’s meant to tone and sculpt areas on patients already at or close to their ideal weight. Leading a healthy lifestyle that includes regular fitness workouts is the best way to maintain your CoolSculpting results.

Browse our other med spa services to see which treatments can help rejuvenate your body. If you’re interested in starting your own CoolSculpting journey, please request a consultation online or call the practice at (540) 932-5771.

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