Liposuction vs. CoolSculpting: Which One Should You Choose?

posted on:
November 10th, 2022
posted by:
Dr. Thomas Bell, MD

Liposuction is a surgical procedure used to remove excess fat deposits from difficult areas where diet and exercise won’t work on their own. CoolSculpting is a non-invasive liposuction procedure that eliminates excess fat pockets by freezing the fat cells. This revolutionary technology applies non-invasive cool temperatures to freeze fat cells, which the body naturally removes.

What is Liposuction?

Liposuction is performed using a hollow surgical instrument known as a cannula. The cannula is inserted under the skin, and a high-pressure vacuum is applied to break up and remove pockets of fat. Liposuction can target several areas but is most frequently used to reduce and refine the abdomen, thighs, waist, hips, buttocks, neck, chest, and back, either individually or in varying combinations. If you want to learn more about men’s liposuction, you can find more information here.

What is CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting is a non-invasive liposuction procedure that eliminates excess fat pockets by freezing the fat cells. This revolutionary technology applies non-invasive cool temperatures to freeze fat cells, which the body naturally removes.

CoolSculpting can permanently eliminate excess fat in areas where it is difficult to lose weight from diet and exercise alone. After your CoolSculpting treatment, you will enjoy a smooth, toned appearance and improved self-confidence.

Differences Between Liposuction vs. CoolSculpting?

During CoolSculpting, your doctor will apply a gel pad and the applicator to the skin to freeze fat cells. A vacuum located in the applicator sucks the skin and fat up to the gel pad, which stays in place for 30-40 minutes. The fat cells are frozen and then crystallized.

After the CoolSculpting treatment, your doctor will remove the gel pad and massage the area to break up the crystals. The body then breaks down these fat crystals and removes them naturally.

Unlike Liposuction, CoolSculpting is only for small areas of the body. If you wish to remove a large amount of fat or fat from a large area of the body, Dr. Bell may suggest Liposuction.

During Liposuction, your doctor will make several incisions around the fat area for removal, or sometimes just one incision. After applying numbing cream, a thin tube will be inserted into the incision(s) to suck out the fat. Anesthesia may be used during this procedure, depending on the amount of fat being removed and the number of areas being treated.

While CoolSculpting is usually only performed on smaller areas of the body, including the abdomen, back, double chin, and thighs, Liposuction can be performed in a myriad of places, such as:

  • The abdomen
  • The waist
  • The back
  • The hips
  • The buttocks
  • The thighs
  • The lower legs
  • The knees
  • Upper arms
  • The area under your chin
  • The neck
  • The face
  • The chest

Pros and Cons of Liposuction

Some pros of Liposuction include:

  • Treats large areas of fat in a single session.
  • The fat extracted during Liposuction can be injected into other areas of the body where you desire more volume.
  • Results are noticeable within days after the procedure.
  • Recovery is quick, and patients can return to normal activities within a week of the surgery.

 

Some cons of Liposuction include:

  • Mild swelling
  • Mild soreness
  • Mild bruising

All of these side effects are temporary and will subside soon after the procedure.

Pros and Cons of CoolSculpting

Some of the pros of CoolSculpting include:

  • Results from CoolSculpting can last a lifetime so long as a healthy weight is maintained.
  • You can target your thighs, waist, arms, stomach, and double chin with CoolSculpting treatments – which can also be used to enhance many areas of the body.
  • Achieving your dream body through contouring and removing stubborn fat can provide a much-needed confidence boost.
  • The procedure is completely non-invasive, and there is no downtime.

 

Some of the cons of CoolSculpting include:

  • Numbness or loss of sensation in the targeted areas can be expected for at least one week after the treatment.
  • Aching and bruising in the treated area can last up to one week.
  • The exposure of fat cells to cold temperatures can cause temporary redness in the treatment area.

Effectiveness of Both Treatments

Liposuction effectively removes a large amount of fat per session, and that fat can be transferred to other areas of the body to provide more volume if that is what you desire. You will notice results within days of the procedure, but it can take months for the body to adjust to its new composition. So long as you maintain a balanced diet and exercise regime, results will last permanently.

CoolSculpting kills fat cells in targeted areas by freezing them. Since the body needs to get rid of the fat cells naturally, results may take a few weeks to become noticeable. The results will be less drastic than Liposuction, so this treatment is most effective for people who have a small amount of fat they want to get rid of in certain areas to see a more toned appearance that they can continue to improve with diet and exercise. Results are permanent.

Cost Differences

CoolSculpting often requires multiple sessions, while Liposuction removes the fat in one procedure, so the cost per session will vary. CoolSculpting can cost between $2,000-$4,000 in total, while Liposuction costs around $3,500. Talking to your doctor about prices regarding your personalized treatment plan and desired results is best.

Side Effects for Both Treatments

Some side effects involved with CoolSculpting include:

  • Redness
  • Mild bruising
  • Discomfort
  • Tingling or numbness in the treated area

 

As CoolSculpting is non-invasive, there are far fewer risks, and these side effects will go away a few days after the procedure.

Some side effects involved with Liposuction include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Numbness
  • Bruising

 

As this is a surgery involving incisions, there are rare cases where infection or seroma (a fluid-filled sac developing under the skin) can occur. Attend regular follow-up appointments to ensure you do not experience any of these effects, and if you do, contact your doctor immediately.

Who is the Ideal Candidate?

An ideal candidate for CoolSculpting is someone who:

  • Is looking for mild to moderate fat loss to achieve a more toned body.
  • Wants a non-invasive solution to removing stubborn fat pockets.
  • Is at a steady weight and in good mental and physical health, with realistic expectations of the results.

 

An ideal candidate for Liposuction is someone who:

  • Wants to remove large amounts of fat from specific areas of their body and possibly transfer the fat to other areas lacking in volume.
  • Does not smoke.
  • Is in good mental and physical health, at a steady weight, and has realistic expectations of the results.

With both procedures, you must be willing to manage your weight afterward to ensure you enjoy your results for a long time.

Liposuction vs CoolSculpting Comparison Table

Liposuction CoolSculpting
Procedure Type Minimally invasive Non-invasive
Cost $3,500-$7,000 per treatment $800 per treatment
Pain Minimal to none Minimal to none
Number of Treatments One Several, depends on desired results
Results Permanent and visible within one week Permanent and visible within three months
Disqualifications Obesity, pregnancy, patients who are breastfeeding, patients with a pacemaker, or anyone suffering from a serious/chronic health condition. Obesity, pregnancy, patients who are breastfeeding, patients with a pacemaker, patients who just recovered from another recent surgery, or anyone suffering from a serious/chronic health condition.
Recovery Time 2-4 days No downtime

Toronto Plastic Surgeons

Dr. Bell has dedicated his 25 years of practice to cosmetic plastic surgery of the face and body. He prides his excellence on the harmonious balance of vision, aesthetic appearance, and patient care. He and his team are known for their skill and personalized, respectful approach to patients. Contact Dr. Bell and his team today for a consultation!

Posted by:

Dr. Thomas Bell, MD

Dr. Thomas Bell has been one of Canada’s most renowned cosmetic surgeons for 35 years. He prides his excellence on the harmonious balance of vision, aesthetic appearance, and patient care.

More on Dr. Bell

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