CoolSculpting Vs. Liposuction: Which Is Better?

CoolSculpting Vs. Liposuction: Which Is Better?

Your body is one-of-a-kind and deserves care and attention to help pave the way for your wellness goals. At Derma Health, we do everything in our power to uplift, inspire and encourage our patients to accomplish their goals and find treatments that work best for them and their unique needs.

Our medspas offer a variety of body contouring options, none of which are invasive or surgical. CoolSculpting is just one of these options. But how does this non-surgical fat reduction method compare to traditional liposuction?

If you’re looking to freeze fat away, you should consider the in’s and out’s of CoolSculpting vs. Liposuction—which option is the best way to lose belly fat?

Body Contouring, CoolSculpting and Liposuction: A Quick Breakdown

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s define some important terms:

  • Body Contouring, sometimes called body sculpting, uses heat, cold, lasers or surgical means for fat removal or other fat management.[1]
  • A CoolSculpting procedure is an example of body contouring—specifically cryolipolysis—that harnesses the power of cold to reduce unwanted fat. The procedure is popular worldwide, and it’s FDA-approved.[2]
  • Liposuction is a surgical fat removal procedure that contours the body by removing or reshaping unwanted fat deposits.[3]

Let’s explore both CoolSculpting fat reduction sessions and liposuction in more detail to help you choose the right procedure for your aesthetic goals.

What Is CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting treatments can reduce body fat—but how do they work?[4]

CoolSculpting can be as simple as 1, 2, 3:

  1. Our highly skilled CoolSculpting experts target unwanted fatty areas for treatment.
  2. Our Providers use cryolipolysis technology to freeze fat cells in the target areas.
  3. The body naturally releases dead fat cells, potentially reducing fat cells in targeted areas by 20-25%.

While full body CoolSculpting isn’t approved by the FDA, the agency has approved the treatment for nine major areas with stubborn fat:

  • Under the jaw
  • Under the chin
  • The back
  • The upper arms
  • The area above your bra
  • Flanks (sometimes called “love handles”)
  • Thighs
  • Under the buttocks
  • The abdomen

How Much Does CoolSculpting Cost?

CoolSculpting cost differs based on a number of factors, like:

  • Target areas (CoolSculpting arms and CoolSculpting stomach areas incur different costs)
    • The number of treatments needed to achieve your goals
    • The medspa and providers you use

At Derma Health, we know that every patient’s budget is different—we offer numerous plans and promotions and always provide a free consultation to assess your personal needs before performing any treatments.

What Does CoolSculpting Feel Like?

Patients looking for a more relaxed treatment experience, rejoice—a CoolSculpting fat removal session isn’t painful.

Patients will likely experience a slight suction sensation as the applicator adheres to the skin. But, during the procedure, patients may experience discomfort before the applicator completely numbs the target area—the tingling and intense cold subside as numbness sets in.[5]

After the procedure, you might experience a number of mild effects, including:

  • Temporary redness
  • Tenderness
  • Skin sensitivity (particularly after CoolSculpting chin treatments)
  • Cramping
  • Itching
  • Skin firmness

All of these are completely normal—after all, your skin is responding to 35-75 minutes of intense, fat-killing cold! These mild side effects diminish over time.

Are There Any Side Effects or Risks for CoolSculpting?

The fat freezing procedure usually produces mild side effects (like those listed above) that subside a few hours after the end of the treatment session.

But, like any other cosmetic procedure, CoolSculpting can come with a slight risk. Multiple studies indicate that 2 out of 1,445 people (or 0.1%) have experienced symptoms indicating paradoxical adipose hyperplasia, or PAH. The most common symptom is enlarged tissue in the target area two to five months after treatment. The good news? PAH is both treatable and uncommon.

What Is Liposuction?

Liposuction is a surgical treatment performed by board-certified plastic surgeons to remove excess fat deposits or reshape specific areas of the body.[6] Like CoolSculpting, liposuction is best utilized in specific areas of the body, including:

  • Thighs
  • Hips and buttocks
  • Back
  • Inner knee, ankles and calves
  • Chest area
  • Neck, cheeks and chin
  • Abdomen and waist
  • Upper arms

Liposuction requires surgery, usually in an outpatient facility like a surgery center. Liposuction patients must:

  • Undergo routine blood work and medical examination
  • Adjust their current medications (or take additional ones)
  • Quit smoking well in advance
  • Avoid Aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs (which can increase bleeding risks)

How Much Does Liposuction Cost?

Liposuction cost varies from patient to patient, and surgeons offer individual pricing. But, according to statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of liposuction procedures in 2020 was $3,637.[7]

It’s important to note that this cost doesn’t include the:

  • Operating room facility fees
  • Anesthesia
  • Provider PPE costs (which are becoming increasingly common in the wake of COVID-19)
  • Pre-surgery assessments and testing
  • Prescription medications

What Does Liposuction Feel Like?

Patients undergo anesthesia during a liposuction procedure, which is why liposuction surgeries are often performed in tandem with other plastics procedures like facelifts and breast augmentations.

Since the procedure is typically outpatient and requires anesthesia, providers typically recommend that someone drive them home and stay the night with them following the surgery to monitor for potential complications.

Are There Any Side Effects or Risks for Liposuction?

Following liposuction surgery, providers usually place elastic bands or compression clothing over the treated areas to help patients’ bodies adapt to the new contours. However, these measures also help control swelling—a common (but temporary) side effect of liposuction.

Patients have unique risk profiles for the procedure, but it’s important to remember that undergoing anesthesia poses its own, separate risks. Providers recommend that patients avoid anesthesia whenever possible.[8]

Liposuction vs. CoolSculpting

So, does CoolSculpting work? What about liposuction? Since both are valid, FDA-approved and safe options for body contouring, let’s explore some key considerations for patients looking to meet their aesthetic goals:

  • Results – CoolSculpting before and after photos speak for themselves—the procedure produces results with limited risk. The same is true for liposuction. However, neither are a replacement for a healthy diet and appropriate exercise plan. Patients who disregard either could regain their fat.
  • The number of treatments needed – Liposuction is a one-time treatment while non-surgical fat removal can take multiple sessions. However, CoolSculpting patients are awake, alert and comfortable during the procedure and recovery while liposuction patients must recover from the surgery and the anesthesia used. 
  • Downtime after treatment – CoolSculpting patients are free to move and behave as usual after each session. Liposuction patients must endure major surgical recovery—most patients no longer feel soreness or pain after three to five weeks.[9]

If you’re looking for a non-invasive, low-risk, effective and comfortable fat removal solution, CoolSculpting is likely the right choice for you. But, if you’d prefer a one-time procedure—despite the multiple preparation steps and significant recovery time—perhaps liposuction is your ideal choice.

When you choose Derma Health, you’ll receive the highest quality care from experienced medical providers. We always listen closely to your concerns, offer free consultations and closely monitor your treatment response.

Interested in learning more about CoolSculpting? Complete our New Patient form to request a complimentary consultation. We can’t wait to help you feel and look your best.