Fat Freezing Side Effects


Fat freezing, also known as cryolipolysis, is a popular non-invasive fat reduction treatment which thousands of people all over the world and turning to in order to slim and tone their bodies when exercise and dieting alone is not enough. Fat freezing is often marketed as a safer alternative to liposuction, an invasive surgery which can pose numerous side effects (including a large hole in your pocket – lipo can cost anywhere between $3,000 and $15,000 depending on the number of areas treated!). Fat freezing works on the principle of cryolipolysis, the death of fat cells by use of the cold. It involves no recovery time is also more affordable than surgery. It is also popular due to the fact that it has less side effects. But what exactly are some of the side effects and how common are they? This significantly depends on the type of fat freezing machine that is being used.

Suction Style Fat Freezing Side Effects

The most common type of fat freezing treatment available is a suction style technique. This was the first type of fat freezing treatment to be introduced on the market and is used by brands such as Coolsculpting and Clatuu. These machines make use of a rectangular shaped applicator that is placed on an area of the body. The skin and fat is then suctioned up like a vacuum, being cooled for an extended period of time to kill the fat cells.

While this technique is effective in reducing stubborn fat and many customers have had great results, there are many people who have had negative experiences. One of these negative experiences being from 90s supermodel Linda Evangelista. According to Evangelista, her experiences with a popular fat freezing brand left her ‘permanently deformed’ and ‘brutally disfigured’. So how can a seemingly safe and non-invasive treatment cause so much damage? Unfortunately, Evangelista was one of the unlucky few people to experience paradoxical adipose hyperplasia.

fat freezing suction cup

Photo by HDesert from Getty Images

Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia

Photo by Cryohubbos.com

What is Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia?

Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia (PAH) is colloquially referred to as the ‘stick of butter’ effect. This is when the fat tissue in the treatment area grows larger and permanently hardens – the opposite outcome of what fat freezing is supposed to have. This is caused by prolonged exposure to the cold in which the fat cells sometimes increase and harden. This forms the stick of butter bulge of fat that resembles the shape of the applicator. Fat freezing normally works by utilising the cold to break down and kill fat cells which are then flushed out through the lymphatic system. However, in the case of PAH, the body is unable to break down and flush out this hardened block of compressed cells. This leaves behind a hard lump of fat that is often difficult to remove, which can be devastating for customers.

PAH appears most commonly on the lower abdomen and can be attempted to be removed with liposuction however this is often not successful, as with Evangelista’s case. While this is a very rare situation, it unfortunately does still happen. It is impossible to predict who will suffer from PAH, so it is important that all patients are made aware of the risks, which Evangelista claims she was not. PAH has a reported incidence of 1 in 4,000 however this rate may be higher due to a lack of patient awareness. All reported cases of PAH have come from suction style machines, which experts believe may be due to the manner in which the fat is suctioned into a bulge by these vacuum-style machines.

Disadvantages of Suction Style Machines

While PAH is uncommon, there are some more common disadvantages associated with these suction-style fat freezing machines. One of the most common problems experienced is uneven results. The large vacuum cup applicators used can make it difficult to ensure accuracy and even results for customers. This can be caused by user error e.g. when a technician places the applicators unevenly on the abdomen to treat the common problem area of love handles. If the applicators are not placed evenly, the asymmetrical difference on either side will be very noticeable. However, this suction-style technology is an inexact science. So, even if the applicators are placed evenly, it is impossible to control exactly how the fat and skin is suctioned and from what direction. The position als cannot be adjusted once the treatment has started.

Furthermore, the fat freezing only works where the suction cup is placed. The surrounding area isn’t touched and often causes visible indentations and shelves between the treated and untreated area. These suction cup applicators also only come in a small number of fixed sizes, meaning you can really only treat areas that have enough fat for the cup to suction up. The number of treatment areas are also limited e.g. areas such as inner thighs, knees and ankles can be extremely difficult to treat.

fat freezing suction cup

Photo by Petri Oeschger from Getty Images

cryoskin fat freezing

Safest Fat Freezing Machines

Fortunately, since the first fat freezing machines were developed, the technology has advanced and there are newer devices available that are both safer and capable of producing better results for customers. Cryoskin is the leading technology in the cryolipolysis industry, as it eliminates the need for suction-style applicators. Instead, the Cryoskin device uses a manual handpiece to evenly contour the body. Cryoskin uses a special technique that feels like a gentle massage and is generally a very comfortable experience for the customer. The handpiece allows just about any area of the body to be treated as customers don’t need to have a large pocket of fat and any areas that are difficult to reach can be treated.

The Cryoskin machine also does more than just fat freezing treatments. From just the one handpiece you can perform Cryoslimming (fat freezing), CryoToning (skin tightening and cellulite reduction) and Cryo Facials (anti-ageing and lifting of the skin). Results from these treatments are noticeable after just 1 session and for fat reduction, peak around 2 weeks after the treatment.

Cryoskin Fat Freezing Side Effects

Side effects from Cryoskin fat freezing treatments are uncommon. However, there are some mild side effects that customers may experience, though they cause very little inconvenience.

These include:

  • Increased thirst and urination for up to 3 days
  • Localised redness and soreness in the treatment area which fades within a few hours
  • Itching due to the use of certain cosmetic products
  • Delayed onset muscle soreness which subsides within a few hours


These side effects are very minimal, and customers can easily pop in on their lunch break for a treatment and return to work without anyone knowing. Most people describe the experience as pleasant, as well as being extremely satisfied with their results. While there is no absolute guarantee that Cryoskin will not cause PAH, there have been no reported cases of this happening from any Cryoskin fat freezing treatments.


When choosing the right fat freezing treatment for you, it is important to do your research first and be aware of all the potential side effects. Likewise, as a business owner looking to purchase equipment for your business, you want to ensure you are providing your customers with the safest and best technology available. If you’re interested in adding Cryoskin to your business, contact us today. We will answer any questions you have, provide you with free training and support you every step of the way.

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