Delayed Onset Pain Associated With Cryolipolysis Treatment: A Retrospective Study With Treatment Recommendations

Dermatol Surg. 2015 Nov;41(11):1296-9. doi: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000000502.


Background: Cryolipolysis has become a popular treatment for noninvasive destruction of unwanted subcutaneous fat. It is a generally well-tolerated treatment with mild transient side effects. Delayed posttreatment pain has been sporadically reported, but its incidence, etiology, and treatment have not been elucidated in a large series of patients.

Methods: A retrospective review of 125 patients who received 554 cryolipolysis procedures over a 1-year period was conducted. Demographic data were obtained to determine specific variables that influenced development of delayed posttreatment pain.

Results: Young women (mean age, 39 years) undergoing abdominal cryolipolysis were at greatest risk of experiencing delayed posttreatment pain. The pain was self-limited (duration, 3-11 days) and resolved completely without long-term sequelae. The number of treatment cycles did not impact the development of this side effect.

Conclusion: Delayed posttreatment pain is a not uncommon adverse effect after cryolipolysis. Patients should be counseled on the possibility of its occurrence, and timely intervention should be instituted to reduce its impact.

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Back
  • Cryosurgery / adverse effects*
  • Esthetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lipectomy / adverse effects*
  • Lipectomy / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain, Postoperative / epidemiology*
  • Pain, Postoperative / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Subcutaneous Fat, Abdominal / surgery*
  • Thigh
  • Thorax
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult