Each year, millions of people worldwide pursue both surgical and non-surgical treatment options to help reduce fat and reshape their bodies. Liposuction surgery and CoolSculpting® are among the most popular treatment methods to help clients achieve this goal. Although both are safe and effective ways to reduce fat and contour the body, they work quite differently. Here’s how to determine which option may be right for you.

Why are Liposuction and CoolSculpting® so popular?

You don’t need to be someone who struggles with their weight to benefit from liposuction or CoolSculpting®. In fact, the best candidates for both procedures are healthy people who are within 10-20 pounds of their ideal weight but struggle with stubborn pockets of fat that don’t seem to budge, even with diet and exercise.

Both liposuction and CoolSculpting® are very versatile in terms of the areas they can treat. Liposuction uses several sizes of cannulas, tube-like structures used to remove fat to address small and large areas of the body. Likewise, CoolSculpting® ELITE uses several different handpieces in varied shapes and sizes to easily and comfortably attach to different areas of the body.

Popular areas for liposuction surgery include under the chin, the upper arms, bra fat, the upper and lower back, the abdomen, flanks, hips, and thighs.

CoolSculpting® ELITE is FDA-cleared to reduce fat in nine areas of the body, including under the chin and jawline, the upper arms, bra fat, back fat, flanks, the abdomen, inner/outer thighs, and just below the buttocks, aka “banana roll.” It is also FDA-cleared to affect the appearance of lax tissue with submental area (under the chin) treatments.

How Do Liposuction and CoolSculpting® work?

Although minimally invasive, liposuction IS a surgical procedure. After a patient is put under general anesthesia, a plastic surgeon makes a small, discreet incision near the body area that is to have fat removed. They will then insert a vacuum-assisted cannula into the incision and move it back and forth to dislodge and remove fat simultaneously. In doing so, the surgeon can reshape that area of the body to enhance its overall contour and smoothness.

CoolSculpting® is a non-surgical treatment that utilizes a process called cryolipolysis (fat-freezing) to permanently destroy fat cells. It requires no anesthesia of any kind. During treatment, your provider will mark the area of the body to be treated, apply a moist gel sheet to protect your skin, and attach a customized handpiece to the area. When the treatment begins, the skin under the handpiece is drawn up into the handpiece so it rests against chilling plates that will progressively reduce the temperature of the underlying fat. Once the treated fat reaches a therapeutic temperature, up to 25% of the fat cells will be permanently destroyed.

How Does the Recovery from Liposuction Compare to CoolSculpting®?

Following liposuction surgery, a patient will be swollen, tender, and bruised for up to three weeks. Compression garments must also be worn for up to three months following surgery to reduce swelling and help shape the area. Depending on how many areas of the body were treated, a patient may need to take at least one week off of work to recover from liposuction, and movements will be restricted. Pain is managed with prescription and over-the-counter medications.

There is little to no downtime following CoolSculpting®, and clients can immediately return to normal everyday activities, even exercise! After CoolSculpting®, a client may experience some mild tenderness, swelling, and even numbness in the treatment area. This generally subsides within 48 hours, but mild numbness and swelling may last for a few weeks.

How Do the Results Compare Between Liposuction and CoolSculpting®?

Liposuction results are fully realized once all swelling has subsided. This timeframe depends on the patient but generally falls between 12-24 weeks. Although made in discreet areas, a patient will have small scars from liposuction incisions, but these tend to fade very well if cared for properly. Liposuction results are permanent as long as a patient continues to lead a healthy lifestyle and stays within 10-15 pounds of their ideal weight.

CoolSculpting® results are fully realized at three months after your treatment. Why? After fat cells are frozen during your initial appointment, the body’s lymphatic system will slowly and steadily clear away destroyed cells. This process may take up to three months. As a result, most clients begin to notice their results start to set in around month one, with continued improvements up to three months. Because CoolSculpting® reduces fat by up to 25% with each treatment, your provider may recommend multiple treatments to ensure you achieve your desired aesthetic. These treatments can be scheduled one month apart. Like liposuction, CoolSculpting® results are permanent as long as a client continues to lead a healthy lifestyle and stays within their ideal weight range. Unlike liposuction, there are absolutely no scars that result from CoolSculpting®. 

Who Are the Ideal Candidates for Liposuction and CoolSculpting®?

Several factors may influence whether you are a better candidate for liposuction or CoolSculpting®.

You may be a good candidate for liposuction if:

  • Cost is not an obstacle for you (the average liposuction surgery starts at $3,500 plus the cost of anesthesia and missed time from work)
  • You are in good health and are at a low risk for surgery and general anesthesia
  • You are able to take at least one week off work
  • You have multiple areas of the body you would like to reduce fat in during a single procedure
  • You are ok with the small scars that result from liposuction surgery

You may be a good candidate for CoolSculpting® if:

  • You want to avoid the risks associated with surgery
  • You are on a budget (the average CoolSculpting® treatment package starts at $2,500)
  • You don’t want to take time off work
  • You are ok with results that set in progressively

Are you curious to find out how CoolSculpting® ELITE can help you achieve your body contouring goals? Schedule a complimentary consultation with a Refinery Skin Clinic Certified CoolSculpting® Provider by calling (952) 479-0603, texting (952) 295-4681, or CLICKING HERE!