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Bodysculpting & Liposuction > Is Zeltiq CoolSculpting A Fraud?

There are reports that the much hyped Zeltiq CoolSculpting machine for fat reduction or "liposculpting" is another marginally effective cosmetic device. This would go along with many such ineffectual aesthetic medical devices which have gained approval through a complacent aesthetic FDA section. Throughout the years most of these high tech devices have left a trail of unhappy patients and practitioners of all persuasions wondering how they were fooled into buying or leasing these machines. Any anecdotal stories to support these statements?

01.3 | Unregistered CommenterJose

Zeltiq & Zerona are both VERY underwhelming.

01.7 | Unregistered CommenterDO


You hit the nail right on the head with this statement: "Throughout the years most of these high tech devices have left a trail of unhappy patients and practitioners of all persuasions wondering how they were fooled into buying or leasing these machines."

My big question is why. Why should this be almost universally true of so many conservative therapies?

The cosmetic treatments that seem to work best tend to be ones that wound the most. Not always of course, but mostly. The wound seems to call for the greatest healing response, and requires a great deal more skill to do properly. No Aesthetician will currently match what the highly skilled Plastic Surgeon or Derm does, and even there we see a long series of flash in the pan technologies sold at scandalous prices for little result. Why?

I ask why because the fundamental idea of some of these machines makes sense. It really does. Why does it not work? It should, it really should. It simply does not, or at least not anywhere near as well as it should. So why not?

My own field is low level laser therapy for chronic pain. A field even more rife with hucksterism and downright fraud. Outrageously expensive machines that do not work at all like they are supposed to, training that borders on the ridiculous for outrageous fee, treatments that do not work but bill at outrageous amounts of money. Outrageous amounts of money at every step. Why?

It does not have to be this way at all. These things could work. They should work. At least they should work a lot better than they do. No one makes it so. Why?

The low level lasers cannot match the ablative procedure, and probably should not try for one fundamental reason. They do not create a wound and cannot generate that kind of healing response. They do something else though, something unique, and that something really ought to be the basis of their use. If it was, people would be a lot happier with what they do. They have a profound biological action on the cellular level if done correctly with proper equipment. These things are capable of healing by process of rejuvenation for this reason. A totally different path. A path that is really not explored because the training and technology is not geared to it. Why not? Cold laser is a completely different animal altogether and that difference should be taken advantage of rather than competing against the ablative laser. It is not. Why?


01.7 | Registered CommenterSLG

I've had Zeltiq and it worked great. I didn't have fat in all the wrong places. I had two center treatments and 2 flank treatments about 2 years ago and it definitely changed my shape in a pleasing way. I now have a defined waist (not Barbie, just nice) and less pudge.

01.17 | Unregistered CommenterOptix

I suspect you would include the VaserShape with the underwhelming technology such as the Zeltiq. Are there no good controlled studies using a DEXA scan to measure the actual amount of fat mass which is reduced with these machines?

01.23 | Unregistered CommenterDan

I have one patient who had it done and she thinks it helped her slim down--she isn't obese or anything like that but she sure wasn't happy with her waist line.

02.21 | Unregistered Commenterroh

we have had our machine since October. We have done more than 100 cycles. Patient's are loving this and we are seeing amazing results.

02.22 | Unregistered Commenterlaserdoc

I have sagging skin after weight loss. What is the recommended treatment for this? Coolsculpting or Venus freeze? Or a combination of both?

03.20 | Unregistered Commentermhl195

mhl195, why don't you start off with proper diet and an active lifestyle?

03.27 | Unregistered CommenterdmbH

MHL195, CoolSculpting is for freezing fat, not sure it can help with skin tightening. I would look into Sciton's SkinTyte procedure for firming sagging skin. It won't replace a medical procedure though... it's really ideal for skin laxity on the neck, abdomen and hands. If you have a lot of excess skin, the skin tightening devises won't help much.

I'm still wondering why FDA easily approves these types of devices when in fact these are not as good a liposuction!

05.12 | Unregistered Commentergiss

Sculpting is a misleading term. It would never be equated to traditional liposuction which offers consistent, predictable results. "Sculpting" just reduces the percentage of fat cells.

07.5 | Unregistered CommenterLeamsi

Coolsculpting by Zeltiq has been in my office for over 6 months and I have noticed some real impressive results. I have numerous patients that have returned for more treatments, after getting great results from the first sessions. I have numerous patients that have had the lower abdomen treated alone, only to return 3 months later for the upper abdomen too, since the lower abdomen sank in so much that the upper abdomen became more noticeable. This device actually does what it claims to do, that is to reduce the number of fat cells from the treated areas. But let's be clear, no non-surgical device is ever going to be as good as liposuction, and I do plenty of that, as well.

07.18 | Unregistered CommenterSC

Completely agree with SC. There are a lot of fat reduction devices released today. A bit confusing I should tell you. But keep in mind that these are truly not meant to replace exercise and diet. Coolsculpting is a good choice for patients who do not want to go under the knife. But learn to choose your patients so that you meet their expectations.

08.27 | Unregistered Commenterstrider78

Agree with strider 78. I work for a plastic surgeon and we have had great results with coolsculpting. The key is selecting patients who are good candidates because not everyone is ideal.

09.22 | Unregistered CommenterFitzsimons

Yes it does work as long as you perform this treatment on the right candidates. It is a great procedure which help patients obtain 20-25% weightloss ..with minimal downtime. Patients see results within 2-4 months.

01.18 | Unregistered Commenterdawn t.

I had my first session a few weeks ago. My love handles are gone! Lost at least 1.5inches. Too good to be true? I highly recommend it. It's painless, noninvasive and fast!

01.30 | Unregistered CommenterM. Jones

We gave it a trial run at the clinic I work at. It didn't ultimately work, and in fact left the patient with an uneven stomach and she has lingering numbness - even after several months have passed.

02.7 | Unregistered CommenterLisa W.

I've been uncertain of the results of this treatment. I am still in doubt. I've seen a couple of pts similar to Lisa W's case. It does appear to cause temporary damage to nerve ending resulting in numbness that can last weeks to months. I don't think the technology has been around long enough to justify recommending it over any of the other therapies.

We just began offering it and have had good results. I notice some areas respond more rapidly to the process

02.21 | Unregistered Commenterc. cross

I've seen severe cases of bruising after Coolsculpt treatments that lasted over a week and have heard that the results are not worth the expenses.

03.8 | Unregistered CommenterNHolmes

The results are very inconsistent. We have had the Zeltiq for over 2 years and are selling it because of such a vast inconsistency. When we re-treat areas to get better results, it becomes costly for the patient. They could have liposuction for the same price and its predictable.

04.11 | Unregistered CommenterKIM F

Zeltique and ultrashape was new in my market back in 2011. I was not really sold on the technology and watched my peers buy and market these machines in their clinic. Few clinics made big bucks being the new pioneer with the latest fat reduction machine. However, many law suits and negative publicity occurred over the years because of customers asking for money back. These patients were offered free liposuction surgery to resolve further issues. Patient selection is key. Some clinics over promised result and sold these treatment to anyone asking for them. Results may vary !!!!

we have had coolsculpting for over a year. We have had great results. You must choose patients carefully and placement of the handpiece is important. The consumables are pricey.

04.18 | Unregistered Commenterlaserdoc

Cool sculpting is nothing but a scam and they have fraudulent advertising that this is some type of miracle work for those of use who are not obese, relatively in shape, and just have some extra pudge in certain places. I had this procedure done twice in two areas (both areas done twice) 2 in my lower abdomen and 2 on my flanks. I am now 6 months out and I have zero results. I know I'm not the only one either. I spent close to $4,000 on these procedures to think that this would actually help me have a completely flat stomach since crunches don't seem to do anything. I just had my "after" photos done and guess what... NADA. For those wondering if I worked out and ate properly, well I did. I did not change my eating habits before I did Zeltiq as I was told as long as I worked out and ate sensibly I would see results. I was even told that I would definately get results if I had 2 procedures for each area, which I did. No difference. The people posting all of these wonderful things on this website are probably employees of Zeltiq.

For those of you who fell for this scheme I strongly urge you to report this to the Better Business Bureau and file a formal complaint. File a complaint with the FDA too. This company will go out of business as people realize they are being scammed out of their hard earned money with nothing to show for it.

05.21 | Unregistered CommenterNikki

I have seen inconsistent results with Coolsculpt. I've been in the industry for over a decade and inch loss has definitely become a very desirable treatment to offer in order to remain competitive with your offerings. As an esthetician offering fat reduction services, I also decided to join forces with YOLO Medical as I've worked with their YOLO Curve unit for non-invasive fat reduction/body contouring. The results equal a painless, easy and immediate option for slimming. I'm not trying to "sell" the Curve, Just create awareness and share my experience as I've done a lot of research with the different technologies.

07.3 | Unregistered CommenterHastings

There is a law firm in Louisville Kentucky preparing a major class action suit against Zeltiq on behalf of the patients they failed to treat. This group is a fraud and they are being sued in a shareholder class action. I don't think they'll be around long. Thank God!

03.7 | Unregistered CommenterJack

we have had coolsculpting for over a year. We have had great results. You must choose patients carefully and placement of the handpiece is important. The consumables are pricey.

coolsculpting sydney

03.31 | Unregistered Commenterdrsaras

lip fillers sydney

Hi .,

The results are very inconsistent. We have had the Zeltiq for over 2 years and are selling it because of such a vast inconsistency. When we re-treat areas to get better results, it becomes costly for the patient. They could have liposuction for the same price and its predictable.

03.31 | Unregistered Commenterdrsaras

Yes it does work as long as you perform this treatment on the right candidates. It is a great procedure which help patients obtain 20-25% weightloss ..with minimal downtime. Patients see results within 2-4 months

In the last year I have had coolsculpting on my abdomen and flanks. My abdomen was treated 3 times with the large unit and my flanks were treated twice with the smaller unit. My abdomen now looks disfigured or deformed. I have an indented area above my belly button and a large bulging area below. It looks awful! I spent a couple thousand dollars with horrible results. When I contacted the clinic, they asked me to come in, took pictures and said they had seen this problem before. The clinic wants me to wait a few more months and said they could re-treat to help correct the "shelf" that was created by the procedure. Can this be corrected? or am I just wasting my money with the risk of worsening my results ? Will the "shelf" as they call it, correct itself over time or am I stuck with a disfigured abdomen. FYI, I am 45yrs old, I am 5ft 2 inches and weigh 119lbs.

Welcome to the club.
Forever disfigured.
Pit will look worse as time goes by.

06.25 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

To Maggie, please give me details with your experience. I just recently developed this "shelf" as they call it within four months. The area below the large indentation protrudes, it looks like two big lumps. I actually saw a surgeon because I thought I might have a huge hernia. He believes the lumps/bulges are just fatty fibrous deposits, that may be corrected with liposuction. Of course after spending all that money on Coolsculpting I don't have another $4,ooo or so to spend on lipo!

After having Coolsculpting treatments, my upper thighs have large breast like masses on them. My abdomen has an ugly look too since having Coolscupting treatments. Now, 6 months after the treatments, a plastic surgeon has said either liposuction or reconstructive surgery will be the only way to get back to my original appearance! He will know after some testing is done which recommendation to make. What a waste of $4000.00 for the Coolsculpting treatments, and now I will have a new bigger expense to have corrections made to both areas. I'm not sure how I will afford the needed corrective procedures.

I have a 2013 Coolsculpt for sale or lease takeover. I'm looking to downsize

Do you have still have the Zeltiq for sale.If so can you please email me

12.18 | Unregistered CommenterAllure

Well..guess what? I also had treatments at Cool sculpting in California. They promised me that I would begin to see results in about three months. I paid an extreme amount of my hard earned lifesavings..yes $4,000.00! Anyway I've contacted this Company that performed my procedures, of which I had 8 applicators put on me at one time..the pain was excrutiating..but I thought I would go through it because of all the positive pictures they showed me with all the positive comments they also showed me..Wrong! Decision for me to make..and boy, do I feel taken..I not only lost all my money..but my stomache looks worse..I've started to really exercise hard but I can't seem to tighten up my abdomen as before..I believe the machines ruined my muscle tone..I'm Solo upset now..I Am seriously looking into a lawsuit..I'm also still feeling tingling ,and sometimes numbness..I've asked them kindly to refund my money, but all they want to do is offer ,e some more damage causing treatments..Buyer beware!..Please..please..Don't do it! And if you've already done it? Get yourself a good Attny. And sue the Zeltig maker, and the office that treated you...We need to come together and stop this nonsense....Or get a Class Action lawsuit going period.

01.18 | Unregistered Commenterlulu P.

Yes. I still have the 2013 Coolsculpt for sale or lease take over. Please email me at

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01.23 | Unregistered CommenterRandy.L

I plan to file a lawsuit also because they are not refunding any money. All they will offer is more applications at their cost. But here is the crazy part. They said it did NOT work because I have visceral fat (fat surrounding my organs) Coolsculpting does not get rid of that fat. They never explained that to me before. I feel this should have been explained beforehand and I make a choice to proceed or not! Yet they told me I can try again at their cost! To waste more of my money for no results still? Makes no sense. Now to find a lawyer....

02.18 | Unregistered Commenterskye

You are all full of it. This procedure is a scam Everytime I go back for a follow up they keep telling me I need more sessions. To top it off they tried to sale me a protein diet saying it works really good with the cool sculpting now come on....So far it have cost me 10000 and I have drawn the line. Been over 4 months and nothing. I have not lost any weight. The fat is shifting to other parts of my body. If I go outside in the cold the areas that were treated is very sensitive and those area seemed to get colder then the rest of my body. If anyone reads this please do not waste your money. I am pretty sure the people writing these post are probably employees of the companies offering the procedure. It is a big disappointment you pay this money hoping for what they tell u. They claim better then lyposuction but it is not. I fell for their sales pitch and went through with it and now I have weight shifting to other parts so I am in worse shape then I was before having the procedure. I wanted to share my experience hoping to help anyone being scammed. At this point I am seeking legal advice on how to get my money back. Feel free to contact me. I am a real person

02.28 | Unregistered CommenterAshton

Hi allure and randy yes we do need to come together and see what we can do ..... How can we get in touch with each other

02.28 | Unregistered CommenterAshton

Would love to be included in a suit against Zeltiq! Spent a lot of money with no results! Went back to the office where I Had it done and they said I had gained some weight so it wouldn't work! Complete ripoff, people giving the treatment uninformed!

05.17 | Unregistered CommenterIndy

hey Indy is there a email address where we could contact each other and I can advise you the steps I have taken to get my money back

05.18 | Unregistered CommenterAshton

Please count me in on the law suit. Not only did it not work for me it made matters worse. My stomach looks like I am 9 months pregnant after one year and I did not gain a pound in that year!

05.19 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

Indy can be reached at Appreciate any help!

05.19 | Unregistered CommenterIndy

I had my procedure done on November 21, 2014. It didn't work at all. I expended more than $8,000 in only one day for nothing, and four months after the doctor would refuse to even talk to me! All I asked for is to do the procedure again as a trying only in one area, to check if the problem was that the doctor made everything in only one day, and too fast... she refused. There is no remedy. I take months to make this money, and because I had the illusion of a fast fix, I lost a money that I could have used for better cause...

Helena, I understand your concerns and frustration. I would contact Zeltiq, you can just look up their contact information and call them directly with your concerns. They will also reach out to the doctor's office where you had your procedure, and hopefully provide you with either more treatments or a refund. I have had coolsculpting on my abdomen and love handles. I developed a deep indentation above my belly button. Looking at me sideways my stomach looked like the letter "B". hump, dent and another hump. Just horrible! The clinic is working with me and has provided additional treatments to correct my issue. I paid for 3 treatments on my abdomen. The clinic has provided me with another 6 coolsculpting treatments. I have had a total of 9 treatments on my abdomen!!! Each time the results improve a little, nothing significant. This has been a very slow and long process trying to correct and smooth out my stomach. So anyone thinking this is some miracle treatment, or comparable to liposuction is WRONG!!! The results are very minimal. By the way, for anyone wondering, I eat right, exercise regularly and weigh 120 lbs. I was just unable to loose my mommy pooch.

05.27 | Unregistered Commenterdidnt work

Just called Zeltiq with no results! Told me to contact my Dr.! What a scam, has anyone gotten their money back?

05.28 | Unregistered CommenterIndy

Hey there I just wanted to update everyone, I had contacted a lawyer and they suggest for me to first try and dispute with my credit card company which I had done so and I have got my money back through the dispute with my credit card. So if either you have used a credit card please contact your credit company and dispute the charge. If anyone need help with information to do so, Leave your email and I will contact you directly. Thanks

06.7 | Unregistered CommenterAshton

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