Can You Freeze Fat Off at Home?


Since the introduction of CoolSculpting® at our Calgary practice, we’ve heard patients wonder why the same process of freezing away fat wouldn’t work at home. And it’s just not our office where people are asking this question. Online searches about do-it-yourself CoolSculpting are pretty common.

These questions are actually quite valid, given the story of how the process used in CoolSculpting—cryolipolysis—was first noticed by 2 doctors. They observed that children who frequently ate popsicles lost fat in their cheeks. That’s because fat cells are more vulnerable to cold temperatures than other tissue and will freeze at about 4 degrees Celsius. CoolSculpting targets these cells without harming nearby organs or skin.

DIY CoolSculpting?

So, the question remains: Can you freeze away fat at home? No, and there are a number of reasons:

It can be dangerous

It’s one thing to use ice to reduce swelling. But applying ice to an area of the body long enough to simulate the fat reduction achieved with CoolSculpting poses a number of risks. To begin with, most people couldn’t tolerate the discomfort. Even those who could risk frostbite, numbness, and permanent tissue damage.

At-home fat freezing doesn’t work

The fat targeted by CoolSculpting is below the skin’s outer layers, so CoolSculpting uses suction to pull skin up between the device’s cooling panels. Directly applying an ice pack to your thighs, flanks, or any other area will only freeze the skin.

What Makes CoolSculpting Different?

As mentioned above, one of the key features of a CoolSculpting treatment is the use of suction to target fat cells. There are also specialized applicators designed for specific areas of the body, including the abdomen, thighs, upper arms, and below the chin, among others. The treatment involves computer-controlled cooling to ensure safety. This precision is necessary because CoolSculpting chills—but doesn’t actually freeze—fat cells.

When chilled for a specific amount of time that’s been determined through years of research and clinical trials, cells begin dying (a process called apoptosis). This signals the body to collect and process the destroyed fat cells, which the lymphatic system removes from the body.

Choosing a CoolSculpting Provider

When you’re looking in the Calgary area for CoolSculpting provider, it’s important to ask:

  • What is the training of the person who will perform the procedure?
  • Does a Royal College-certified plastic surgeon supervise the treatments?
  • Does the practice have the full range of CoolSculpting applicators available?

This information indicates that the practice performs CoolSculpting often and is familiar with the latest advances in the treatment.

At Macleod Trail Plastic Surgery, we have 2 CoolSculpting devices so we can treat multiple areas in half the time. DualSculpting is just one of the ways we set ourselves apart as one of the leading CoolSculpting providers in Alberta.

You can learn more about the CoolSculpting process by contacting us using the online form to request a consultation or by calling us at (403) 452-7953 to schedule an appointment.