Woman in Des Moines massaging her legs after a coolsculpting treatment

It’s safe to say that few people think about their lymphatic systems. For CoolSculpting patients at our Des Moines practice, though, it’s an essential part of one of the most commonly asked questions: What happens to the fat after CoolSculpting?

Spoiler alert: The answer is that the body naturally removes dead fat cells through the lymphatic system. In this blog post, we’ll explain how that occurs and what patients can do to help speed up that process.

How Does CoolSculpting Work?

Before explaining the lymphatic system’s role in reducing fat, it’s important to understand the CoolSculpting process and how it kills fat cells. CoolSculpting pioneered the nonsurgical fat reduction trend that led to a number of other procedures. CoolSculpting remains the only treatment to use cryolipolysis—or “fat freezing”—to break down fat cells. The process is effective because fat cells are particularly vulnerable to low temperatures, unlike other types of cells. CoolSculpting freezes fat cells without damaging the skin’s surface or other tissue.

Those cooled fat cells die and are eliminated from the body gradually, which is why it can take several months after a CoolSculpting procedure to see the results.

Why Is Lymphatic Drainage Important?

Patients with a healthy, efficient lymphatic system may see results following CoolSculpting treatments weeks earlier than other patients. Two of the lymphatic system’s primary functions are to reduce swelling and remove waste from the body.

Immediately after CoolSculpting, the body begins breaking down the destroyed fat cells and filters them through the lymphatic system, which sends them to the liver and kidneys to ultimately eliminate them as waste.

Here’s where lymphatic massage becomes important. This type of massage involves light pressure (more aggressive massage techniques can damage tissue), which increases blood circulation and lymphatic drainage. You can do these massages at home without lying on a table.

Other tips for enhancing lymphatic drainage following CoolScultping:

Hydration: If you want to remove waste from the body, drink a lot of water. It’s the best thing you can do after a body contouring treatment to get the lymphatic drainage system moving. It’s all about cause and effect: more water leads to more frequent trips to the bathroom—which is how those fat cells get flushed out. 

Get your blood flowing: The chances are good that CoolSculpting patients are consistent exercisers, but it’s especially important to break a sweat after the procedure. It’s not that sweat carries dead fat cells from the body (only the liver and kidneys are responsible for that job), but increasing your circulation through exercise boosts the process.

Consume citrus and berries: A healthy diet that includes whole foods, low-fat proteins such as chicken and fish, fruits and vegetables, and grains is essential to maintaining an attractively contoured body. To enhance the lymphatic system, eat citrus fruits and berries. Vitamin C-rich citrus is vital for efficient liver function, and the antioxidants contained in berries help clear the body of toxins.

The expertise of our CoolSculpting providers—our West Des Moines practice is CoolSculpting-certified—ensures you’ll get the best possible results from the treatment. Our gallery of before-and-after photos featuring some of our actual patients demonstrates these results.

If you want to target stubborn fat pockets with CoolSculpting, you can contact us using the online form to request a consultation or call us at (515) 277-5555 to schedule an appointment.

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