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CoolSculpting Vs. Liposuction Comparison: Cost, Side Effects, Results, Pictures

CoolSculpting Vs. Liposuction

When you are ready to seek cosmetic help to slim down it can be difficult to decide which procedure makes the most sense. The first step in making your decision is to have a basic understanding of what each procedure involves. From there, you can learn about the advantages and disadvantages of the different procedures available and then make an informed decision on which one works best for you.

What is CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting is a non-invasive procedure that uses freezing temperature to break down fat cells. The medical aesthetician will place the CoolSculpting device (also known as the CoolMini) onto the treatment area, pulling the fatty tissue up and freezing the targeted fat cells. The process is nonsurgical and pain-free. Some people experience a cool sensation during the treatment session.

The treatment cycle generally takes about one hour. The patient can then return to their normal routine. Some people may experience some soreness at the treatment area, similar to what you may experience after working out. This is normal, and the sensation will disappear in a few hours.

It takes 1 to 3 months to see the full effect of treatment, which typically decreases fat in the area by about 20 percent. Massaging the area after treatment can improve results. Your medical aesthetician will work with you to determine the best treatment plan for your body, including how many treatment cycles you would need and monitor your results.

Complications are very rare, and may include slight numbing in the treated area, swelling, sensitivity or bruising in the area, localized pain, or redness in the treatment area. These sensations are usually temporary and if you are feeling them for a longer period than usual, it is recommended that you call your medical aesthetician.

CoolSculpting is considered very safe because it is nonsurgical, there is no need for anesthesia, has no downtime and no follow-up medications. This makes it an excellent choice for individuals who want to improve their physique without having to undergo surgery.

What is Liposuction?

Liposuction is a surgical procedure and can be combined with other cosmetic procedures, such as tummy tucks and breast reductions.

Unlike CoolSculpting, liposuction is an invasive procedure and comes with the risks that other surgical procedures involve. Before undergoing liposuction, you should be within 30 percent of your ideal weight. Your skin should be healthy, you should not smoke, and you should not have health problems such as a weakened immune system, issues with blood flow, diabetes or heart disease.

Liposuction may be performed in your doctor’s office or in a surgical center. The procedure is outpatient, meaning you will go home the same day as the procedure. If you have a large amount of fat removed, you may be required to remain in the hospital overnight.

You will receive either local or general anesthesia during the procedure.

Although you will go home the same day as the procedure, you will not be able to resume daily activities immediately. You should expect some swelling, bruising and soreness for a few weeks after the procedure. You may be instructed to wear a compression garment for some time after the surgery. This controls swelling and improves healing.

As with any surgery, there are risks that can develop from liposuction. You can reduce these risks by having the procedure performed by a board-certified cosmetic surgeon and following their instructions carefully, both before and after the procedure.

Possible complications include issues with the anesthesia or lidocaine used during the procedure, bleeding, fluid accumulation, infection, shock, fat embolism, which is when small pieces of fat break apart and block the flow of blood, uneven removal of fat, changes in skin sensation and damage to nerves, muscles or blood vessels. There is also the risk of developing blood clots following the procedure.

Related article: CoolSculpting vs EmSculpt What is the Difference?

CoolSculpting Vs. Liposuction

Treatment Area

Liposuction is a versatile procedure, which can be used to remove a large amount of excess fat or a small amount of fat. There are greater flexibility and more options available with liposuction. CoolSculpting is more often used in targeted areas but can also treat a large area of targeted fat.

If you have several areas you are unhappy with, liposuction may be the better choice. It will be provide you with quicker results than trying to treat multiple areas with CoolSculpting. However, if you only have one or two areas that you are unhappy with, CoolSculpting allows for quick treatment with none of the downtime you will experience with liposuction. Most importantly, CoolSculpting is not surgical, making it a much safer treatment choice.


There are differences in the types of changes you can achieve from CoolSculpting and liposuction. CoolSculpting destroys fat cells in the treated areas, reducing the size of that area. This makes CoolSculpting a great treatment for areas that hold onto stubborn fat, even when you are at a healthy weight. CoolSculpting freezes the fat cells and the fat cells gets naturally eliminated from your body.

Liposuction also removes excess fat, but it is surgically done. This allows you to change your body shape to a certain extent. For example, if you naturally carry excess weight in your lower half, a skilled surgeon can give you a more hourglass shape.

It is important to consider your lifestyle when deciding which procedure makes the most sense for you. Liposuction requires several days to recover, which means staying home from work and having someone else available to help with daily tasks. The exact length of recovery depends on how well you heal and how many different areas you have treated. CoolSculpting allows you to resume your normal activities immediately. It is a non-invasive procedure and generally requires less than an hour to an hour of treatment.


Cost is always a consideration for elective procedures. CoolSculpting is generally less expensive than liposuction. However, if you have multiple areas you want to treat, it may be less expensive to have them all completed together in one liposuction treatment, rather than multiple CoolSculpting treatments.

As you can see, there are benefits and drawbacks to both liposuction and CoolSculpting. In general, CoolSculpting makes sense if you are relatively happy with your body and only want to focus on one or two areas. If you want more extensive areas treated, you may want to consider liposuction.

CoolSculpting is also a better choice for individuals who are nervous about surgical procedures, have some health issues or otherwise are not the best candidate for invasive procedures.

Discussing the two procedures with your medical aesthetician, who knows your personal history and body type, is a great way to make the final decision on which procedure makes the most sense for you. They can provide before and after pictures of individuals with similar body types as you, which will give you a better idea of the results you can expect.

It is important to remember that, while both of these procedures permanently remove fat cells, they will not prevent you from regaining weight. Neither liposuction or CoolSculpting is a substitute for a healthy diet and exercise program. Individuals who regain weight after undergoing either of these procedures often find the weight shows up in different areas. These procedures should only be used if you intend to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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