Liposuction or CoolSculpting®, Which One Is Right for Me?

A Comparison Guide

Stubborn, resistant fat. We’ve all got it, and we’ve all been there, putting in the time and effort with healthy eating and exercise. Unfortunately, achieving that desired aesthetic look is difficult if the fat just won’t budge.

So, what do you do?

Look at alternative options for removing the bulge and when it comes to fat reduction, liposuction and CoolSculpting are two of the most popular. To help you better understand which procedure is right for you, we’ve listed out what each treatment does and the factors you need to consider. 

Woman trying to decide between Liposuction or CoolSculpting® for treatment

What Is Liposuction and CoolSculpting?  

  1. Liposuction: this is an invasive surgical procedure that removes subcutaneous fat by making small incisions to the targeted area where excess fat is stored. A narrow suction tool, called a cannula, is inserted into the incision(s) and removes the fat by sucking it out.  Depending on how much fat is being removed, you will require either general anesthesia, local anesthesia, or sedation. Liposuction is commonly used on the neck, chin, arms, knees, hips, buttocks, waist, back, and thighs.

  2. CoolSculpting: this is a non-surgical fat reduction procedure that is non-invasive. CoolSculpting uses cryolipolysis or “fat-freezing” technology to reduce subcutaneous fat in localized areas of the body. A vacuum applicator is used to pull up the treatment area and apply, controlled, cooled temperatures to the skin’s surface. The fat cells die off due to the critically low temperature.

CoolSculpting is commonly used on the thighs, abdomen, buttocks, love handles, arms, backside, and neck/chin area.

Which Option Is The Right One For Me?

When choosing between liposuction and CoolSculpting, there are several things you need to consider, among them treatment goals, treatment time, recovery period, candidacy, and efficacy. Let’s take a look. 


1. What Are Your Treatment Goals? 

  • If you are looking to remove excess fat from a larger area of the body and want a dramatic change to the overall contour (shape) of your silhouette, then liposuction is suitable.  You will see a reduction in fullness and an improved shape to your body immediately, but to see the full results, you may need to wait up to a year.
  • If you are looking to remove small pockets of stubborn fat like your love handles or fat that sits on the outer thigh, then CoolSculpting is a good option. Results aren’t noticeable right away, as your body needs to flush out the dead fat cells. Most individuals see results within 1-3-months. 

2. How Many Sessions Do You Want to Undergo?

    • Liposuction generally only needs 1 session which will last between 1-2 hours.  CoolSculpting sessions are approximately 1-hour, but multiple sessions may be required over several weeks. 

    3. What Is The Recovery Period? 

    • Liposuction is an invasive surgical procedure, so your body will need some downtime to heal. You can return to regular activities within a week of surgery, but you may be inhibited by swelling, bruising, and numbness as these symptoms can last for several months. 
    • CoolSculpting is non-invasive and doesn’t have a surgical component, making recovery time minimal and efficient. You can resume regular activities after treatment, but you may experience bruising, tingling, numbness, redness, or tenderness in the treated area which can take a few weeks to heal. 

    4. What Is The Cost?

    • Liposuction is more expensive than CoolSculpting because it involves incisions.  However, the total cost is dependent on how much fat is being removed and which part of the body it is being removed from. Average cost is around $3,500.
    • Cost for CoolSculpting also varies on which body part is being treated, but costs between $2,000-$4,000. 

    5. How Effective Is It? 

    • With liposuction, it is safe to remove 5 liters or 10-pounds of fat. 
    • With CoolSculpting, about 25% of fat cells are eliminated.

    6. Am I A Good Candidate?

    • You are a good candidate for liposuction if you have minimal skin laxity, excess fat deposits across a large area, and do not have any heart problems, blood clotting issues, or are pregnant.
    • You are a good candidate for CoolSculpting if you have localized deposits of fat, minimal skin laxity, and do not have any blood disorders or are pregnant. 


    Wrapping It Up  

    1. The liposuction treatment is right for individuals that are in good health, looking for a dramatic change to their body’s shape and want to remove large areas of excess, stubborn fat that will not budge. However, you must be okay with going under the knife and can endure a long recovery period.  

      If you are looking for a mild to moderate change in your appearance and have a small, localized area you want treated, then CoolSculpting is a good bet. You have to be okay with not seeing results right away and enduring several sessions.

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