Is CoolSculpting an effective way to treat fat on thighs?

I have an abundance of fat that I want to get rid of on my thighs. I know it seems like a weird place to be concerned about, but honestly I’m happy with the way the rest of my body looks. My thighs are just disproportionately bigger than the other areas of my body. Would CoolSculpting be an effective way to treat this?


F, 39, New York

CoolSculpting permanently eliminates fat around the thighs, abdomen, flank and upper arms that cannot be shifted with diet or exercise.

One of its strengths is that it can accurately target specific areas of the body, like the inner or outer thighs for example. It’s a relatively painless, non-invasive treatment with no downtime.

Once we reach adolescence, the number of fat cells in the body generally become fixed. Consequently, weight loss or gain doesn’t change the number of cells. What does change, however, is the size of the fat cells, which expand with weight gain or decrease in volume with weight loss.

CoolSculpting is unique in the sense that it’s one of the only procedures that can reduce the number of fat cells in the treated area by 20-25 percent.

Injury is inflicted on the layer of fat cells that lie below the epidermis by exposing them to near freezing temperatures. This damages the fat cells in such a way that they slowly die over a period of two to three months.

Once the fat cells have died, the white blood cells collect the debris and naturally process and eliminate it so it won’t migrate elsewhere in the body. The fat cells in the targeted region are permanently eradicated while fat cells in other parts of the body are not affected.

If you book a consultation with a CoolSculpting clinician, he or she will be able to help you develop a focused treatment plan to eradicate the fatty deposits around your thighs forever, and achieve the body shape you desire.

For some people, one session is sufficient to achieve a successful outcome, while for others, the treatment may need to be delivered over two or more sessions to see optimal results. What you can expect, however, is a 20-25 percent reduction in inner and outer thigh fat over a period of roughly three months.

I believe something like 86 percent of patients in the FDA trials of CoolSculpting claimed to see a visible reduction in their thigh fat four months after receiving treatment.

Dr. Robert N. Young has 1 CoolSculpting before & after:

CoolSculpting before image performed by Dr. Robert N. YoungCoolSculpting after image performed by Dr. Robert N. Young

» View Dr. Robert N. Young's full profile

Yes, CoolSculpting, which was approved for use by the FDA in 2014, can help reduce unwanted fat in the thighs.

The procedure works by exposing fat cells that exist under the skin to freezing temperatures in order to eliminate them.  The cooling device used during this process is placed over the targeted body area and freezes the fat cells while protecting the surrounding tissue. The fat cells die naturally while leaving the underlying skin intact. Over a period of a few weeks following the treatment, the body naturally rids itself of  the dead fat cells. Some patients may require a second or third visit to obtain maximum results.

The process can take anywhere from one to three hours.  You may feel a mild burning sensation that will wear off as the treated area heals. Since no surgery or injections are involved, there is little to no downtime.

I recommend that you find a doctor who has experience in CoolSculpting and research their patient recommendations and reviews.  If approached correctly, you will come away with a well-developed treatment plan to reduce the fatty deposits around your thighs and gain satisfaction with your whole body, not just certain parts of it.

Dr. Landon Pryor has 1 CoolSculpting before & after:

CoolSculpting before image performed by Dr. Landon PryorCoolSculpting after image performed by Dr. Landon Pryor

» View Dr. Landon Pryor's full profile

Hi Cath:

CoolSculpting can be very effective for removing areas of fat on particularly your inner thighs.  I will work anywhere where the skin and fat can be sucked into the cooling plates.  It will not tighten loose skin.

Dr. Ken Stein