- CoolSculpting is a non-surgical body contouring procedure that is FDA approved for use on the upper arms.
- CoolSculpting damages fat cells by chilling them.
- The fat cells are naturally eliminated by the lymphatic system.
- Patients may experience mild, temporary side effects following treatment.
- Common side effects include numbness, redness, skin sensitivity and stinging.
- Patients generally start to notice a reduction in their upper arms four weeks after treatment.
- A fat reduction of up to 25% can be achieved.
Number of treatments
- Most patients require between 1-3 CoolSculpting treatments on their arms for optimal results.
- The average cost for one CoolSculpting arms session is between $1500 and $2,800.
Find a CoolSculpting provider near you
- Zwivel has an extensive network of cosmetic doctors and plastic surgeons specializing in CoolSculpting, which you can use to find an experienced CoolSculpting provider near you.
What is CoolSculpting?
CoolSculpting is a non-invasive fat reduction procedure which freezes and destroys fat cells through controlled cooling technology. Dead fat cells are then naturally filtered out of the body through the lymphatic system.
CoolSculpting has been approved for use by the FDA on nine different treatment areas, including the abdomen, chin, flanks (love handles), inner and outer thighs, and upper arms. It is a suitable procedure for those who are at their ideal weight but wish to eradicate stubborn deposits of fat.
Learn more about the CoolSculpting treatment, its risks and benefits, in our comprehensive CoolSculpting guide.
How does CoolSculpting work on the Arms?
A specially designed CoolSculpting applicator is used to address the unique contour of the upper arm. Depending on the size of the area being treated, different-sized applicator plates are used.
The CoolSculpting applicators delivers suction and precise cooling to the treatment area. The ideal temperature for apoptosis (fat cell death) is between 39 and 41 degrees Fahrenheit. The subcutaneous fat layer of the upper arm is cooled to the point that fat cells begin to die. The surrounding nerves, skin and muscles are unharmed by the process.
Learn more about the body areas that Coolsculpting can treat and its effectiveness.
How many treatments are required?
Most patients require between 1-3 CoolSculpting treatments for optimal results. The number of treatments needed depends on the individual’s response to the procedure. It also depends on the extent of improvement the patient is hoping to achieve. Many surgeons who administer CoolSculpting recommend following a “wait and see” approach before delivering additional treatments.
What can you expect during treatment?
- The procedure
Before treatment, the doctor determines the number of applicators that will be necessary. Some patients only require one large applicator, while others benefit from two smaller applicators. The doctor then applies a gel pad and the applicator(s) to the arms. Post-treatment massage can improve the results of CoolSculpting treatment by dislodging any frozen deep tissue.
Most patients typically experience little to no sensation during the procedure, however, some may experience mild discomfort post-treatment.
Treatment takes approximately 35 minutes for each arm. Clinics with two CoolSculpting devices can deliver treatment to each arm simultaneously, accelerating the process.
In very rare cases, CoolSculpting can result in delayed paradoxical adipose hyperplasia, however, this only happens approximately once in every 20,000 cases. A gradual enlargement of the treatment area occurs, which is caused by a mass of fat tissue beneath the skin, however, this phenomenon is more common among men than women. Liposuction or abdominoplasty may be required to remove the mass.
Most side effects that arise as a result of CoolSculpting treatment subside after several weeks. Common side effects are usually mild, and may include:
- A tugging sensation at the treatment site
- Temporary loss of sensation or reduced sensation
- Erythema (redness)
- Skin sensitivity
CoolSculpting for the arms is not suitable for individuals who:
- Are affected by cold-induced medical conditions such as cryoglobulinemia, cold urticaria or paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria.
- Have a high volume of adipose (fatty) tissue. These patients may be better candidates for liposuction, or an arm lift.
- Have significant skin laxity in their upper arms.
Liposuction of the arms is a surgical procedure performed under local anesthesia. A cannula is inserted into the arms via tiny incisions near the elbow and armpit. Fat cells are then sucked out through the tube, away from the body. A single liposuction treatment will remove more fatty tissue than a single CoolSculpting treatment.
Arm liposuction can produce excellent outcomes for the right candidates, but isn’t right for everyone. Read what doctors have to say about the benefits and risks of arm liposuction in our Forum.
Brachioplasty, or arm lift surgery, is an invasive procedure that removes excess fat and skin from the arms. The treatment is performed under anesthetic. A significant quantity of excess fat and skin can be removed during this surgery; however, the patient will be left with a scar.
Brachioplasty can be appropriate for patients who have experienced significant weight loss. Zwivel’s brachioplasty guide explains what arm lift surgery entails, and includes before and after images.
SculpSure is a non-invasive treatment that uses diode laser technology to reduce fat from the arms. Laser energy is transmitted through the skin, converted into heat and absorbed by the adipose tissue, which cannot withstand the high temperatures. Use of SculpSure on the arms is still off-label.
See what patients have to say about their experiences with SculpSure for the arms.
At home options
There is currently a range of products on the market that promise to reduce fat at home. Although the principles of CoolSculpting may seem simple or even replicable, the CoolSculpting device is the only FDA-approved cryolipolysis system on the market.
Successful fat freezing requires very precise cooling. Utilizing fat-freezing devices to reduce arm fat at home is risky. DIY devices should be avoided, as they lack the vacuum element that ensures the safety of the CoolSculpting treatment.
Find out more about CoolSculpting’s unique cooling system, and why DIY kits can’t replicate it.
Patients generally start to notice a reduction in their upper arms four weeks after treatment, once swelling has fully subsided. Final results are typically apparent three months after treatment, although the elimination of fat cells can continue for up to six months.
CoolSculpting for the arms provides optimal results for patients who have relatively firm, toned skin.
CoolSculpting is an effective non-invasive method to reduce upper arm fat. Patients also report an improved contour in their arms and a more proportionate appearance.
One recent study noted that patients who underwent CoolSculpting of their arms enjoyed a 15.3% reduction after one treatment.
In a 2015 clinical study of CoolSculpting treatment on the arms and inner thighs, patients reported experiencing up to a 25% reduction in the treatment area. 76.5% of the participants indicated they were satisfied with their results after a three month check-up.
Patient satisfaction declined, however, after a six month period. This decline was linked to weight gain. CoolSculpting should only be undertaken when the patient is at or close to their ideal weight and able to maintain it.
What is the cost?
The average cost of one CoolSculpting arms session is between $1,500 and $2,800.
The cost of CoolSculpting treatment depends on:
- The size of the applicators being used. Smaller applicators are billed at a retail price of $750, while larger applicators are $1,500 per cycle. Discounts may be offered to patients purchasing multiple treatments at the same time.
- Your provider’s location.
- The number of treatments required to achieve your desired goal.
- The credentials of your CoolSculpting provider.
If you’d like to find out more about the pricing of CoolSculpting for the arms or other parts of the body, Zwivel’s CoolSculpting Cost Guide may be useful.
Before and after
For patients who are at or very close to their ideal weight, CoolSculpting can help reduce stubborn fat deposits in the upper arms. Side effects are generally mild and temporary. Most individuals require between 1-3 CoolSculpting treatments to enjoy optimal results. Up to a 25% reduction in arm fat can result following two or more CoolSculpting procedures.
Find your nearest Coolsculpting provider
If you think CoolSculpting could help you reduce unwanted fat on your upper arms, a consultation with a cosmetic doctor will help you make an informed decision.
Use our cosmetic doctor search tool to find an experienced CoolSculpting provider near you.