From Botox to CoolSculpting: How Instant Are Instant Results?

From Botox to CoolSculpting: How Instant Are Instant Results?
Woman getting Kybella treatment

Everybody likes immediate gratification, right? Scratch that—everybody loves immediate gratification. It’s human nature—we want what we want when we want it. And in today’s world of Google, Amazon, and the countless food-delivery services offering alternatives to firing up your kitchen appliances—we kind of expect it. But is it really reasonable to expect immediacy when it comes to the results of an aesthetic procedure?

In the spirit of expectation management, we’re going to take a look at some of the most popular “immediate gratification” procedures, and just how “immediate” they actually are. And trust that we’ll use the words “instant” and “immediate” loosely and often. Let’s begin.


This wrinkle-busting wonder has become the go-to for patients looking to “freeze” (pun intended) the hands of time by temporarily relaxing the facial muscles that cause fine lines and wrinkles. The injection process itself is pretty darned close to immediate (less than an hour). The results however, typically take 4-5 days to reveal themselves, and can take up to 2 weeks to reach their full potential. So while not entirely instantaneous—when it comes to aesthetic procedures—Botox is pretty darned close.

Dermal Fillers:

Results from dermal fillers like Restylane, Juvederm, Voluma, and Sculptra are fairly immediate, and if it weren’t for side effects like swelling and sometimes bruising, fillers might ultimately win the “instant gratification” prize. Used to plump up areas like the lips, nasolabial folds, cheeks and even an aging hand, the results of dermal fillers—when injected by an experienced and qualified injector—can temporarily address problem areas quickly and with minimal discomfort and downtime. So immediate? Yup. You just might not know it right away.


If you’re looking to eliminate a double chin that’s thus far been resistant to months of dieting, CrossFit-ing and pleading with genetics, then Kybella might be your answer. But are the results truly instantaneous? No.

On average, results from Kybella take about 4+ weeks, treatments need to be repeated 1 to 4+ times, and each treatment needs to be spaced between 4 to 6+ weeks apart—all dependent on your doctor’s recommendation. Note that our excessive use of (+) is no typo. Results from Kybella, a synthetic form of an acid found in our GI tract, are entirely dependent on your bodies unique response to the treatment. Your friend’s “immediate” results might not be so “immediate” for you. And in reality, no results are instantaneous (Did we mention the bullfrog like swelling side effects?). Does it work? Yes. And it’s non-invasive nature might make the wait time worth it.


And speaking of removing stubborn fat pockets, let’s talk about CoolSculpting Living somewhere on our “immediate gratification” scale, CoolSculpting is the nonsurgical alternative to liposuction touted to eliminate small fat pockets on the body by freezing and destroying the fat cells themselves. The procedure is performed in a series and takes about an hour. The results? Well, they take a little longer—up to 2 to 4 months to fully reveal themselves. So immediate? Not exactly. But noninvasive, no downtime, and minimal discomfort and risk—you can see why we’re throwing this one into our “immediate gratification” mix.


If you’re looking for vaginal tightening, ThermiVa is performed in a series of 3 sessions and offers up fairly immediate results, followed by longer-term results 3-4 weeks post-treatment. This non-invasive procedure uses radio frequency energy to tighten the vagina, with additional bonuses reported— increased sensation and lubrication and the elimination of minor stress incontinence (you know, when a laugh or a sneeze makes you pee just a lil’ bit.) Noninvasive, no downtime (heck, you can likely have sex the same day should the mood strike you), and very little discomfort—ThermiVa might be the “immediate gratification” treatment your nether regions are looking for.

While it’s been fun to fly all fast and furious with the words “immediate” and “instant” here, the definition of those words—when it comes to cosmetic procedures—lives somewhere on a scale. Dramatic results that are visible fairly quickly and without the invasiveness of other plastic surgery procedures, just might make up for that. The key to making that decision is in managing your own expectations through research, more research, and a heart-to-heart with your board-certified plastic surgeon .