If you’ve been thinking about cosmetic enhancements to improve your silhouette, you may be wondering about the available options. Liposuction has been a traditional method of suctioning fat for decades, but thanks to innovation, there are additional options, such as CoolSculpting. But, how do you know which procedure would work best for you? Knowing what to expect, being aware of possible side effects, and what makes an ideal candidate are all essential to making an informed decision.
What is liposuction?
Liposuction is a procedure that’s performed to remove excess fat. However, there are several types of liposuction. At Innovations Medical, we perform Tickle/Vibro liposuction and SmartLipo Laser liposuction.
Tickle/Vibro (also known as vibration-assisted liposuction) involves using a vibrating tool that’s inserted through a small incision. It provides smooth results — eliminating rippling that sometimes results from traditional liposuction. The procedure only requires local anesthesia, and the vibration makes it even easier to numb the area being treated.
On the other hand, SmartLipo uses a laser to tighten the skin. — eliminating a sagging look once the procedure has been completed. SmartLipo is done with local anesthesia and requires only a small incision, which results in minimal scarring. It also provides the doctor with more fine-tuning control, so it’s easier to control the suctioning process to achieve the desired shape. It’s typically the better option for smaller areas, such as love handles, fat around the armpit area, and between the thighs.
Side Effects of Liposuction
As with any procedure, there are risks of side effects with liposuction. They vary from person to person, and the most common ones include:
Cost of Liposuction
The cost of liposuction will depend on how much excess fat needs to be removed, as well as whether you’re combining the procedure with additional cosmetic enhancements. Once you have completed an initial consultation, we will be able to provide you with an estimate based on your specific needs.
What is CoolSculpting?
CoolSculpting — also known as cryolipolysis — is an FDA-approved, minimally-invasive procedure to reshape the body. The procedure involves freezing fat cells, which are then removed from the body through the liver. It only requires local anesthesia — meaning that you are awake during the process. So you will feel pulling, tugging, intense cold, and mild pinching.
Once all the frozen fat cells have been discarded by the body, you’ll notice up to one inch of reduction in size around the impacted body part. Occasionally, patients may need a follow-up visit to achieve the desired results.
What Happens to the Fat With CoolSculpting?
While CoolSculpting does destroy the fat cell, the fat itself is not affected by the cold. When the cell dies, the fat is released into the surrounding tissues. It is then taken up by our veins and lymphatics. The fat eventually reaches our liver where all fat is processed. There is no difference to the liver in fat taken from our tissues and fat we eat. The fat released from the cells by CoolSculpting is the same. It is treated just like fat we eat and sent to various parts of our bodies for storage or other uses. Anyone who says the fat released from the cells destroyed by CoolSculpting is eliminated or metabolized either:
- Does not understand how the CoolSculpting they are discussing really works OR
- Is being deceptive about how CoolScuplting works
Liposuction removes the fat cell AND the fat from the body. It can then be placed elsewhere using fat transfer to enhance areas like the breast or buttocks, or we dispose of the fat as medical waste.
Side Effects of CoolSculpting
Side effects of CoolSculpting range from mild to moderate, depending on the person and the extent of the procedure. The most common ones include:
- Skin sensitivity
CoolSculpting has two unique side effects not seen with other devices or technologies.
The first is fat hypertrophy. In fat hypertrophy, the fat in the area actually gets larger, not smaller. When hypertrophy occurs, it usually requires liposuction to correct.
Another side effect of CoolSculpting is persistent moderate to severe pain in the treatment area. This pain occurs in as many as ten percent of CoolSculpting patients and can last as long as 6-9 months. The pain is difficult to treat and can impair your lifestyle.
Cost of CoolSculpting
The cost of CoolSculpting also varies depending on the areas treated. However, the procedure is not performed at Innovations Medical. That’s because CoolSculpting can cause persistent moderate to severe pain in the treatment area. This pain occurs in as many as 10% of CoolSculpting patients and can last as long as six to nine months. The pain is difficult to treat and can impair your lifestyle.
Who is an ideal candidate for either procedure?
If you’re considering any type of cosmetic procedure, it’s crucial to have realistic expectations. Everybody is different, and results will vary depending on a person’s body composition and lifestyle. Generally, an ideal candidate is someone who:
- Is doing the surgery because they want to, and not because someone is pressuring them to do so
- Is of sound mental health
- Is in a healthy weight range
- Has no history of eating disorders
- Is a non-smoker
It’s also important that candidates understand long-term lifestyle practices — such as eating well and exercising regularly — are necessary in order to maintain the desired results. Otherwise, fat cells can accumulate once again in the treated areas.
In addition, if you have any underlying medical issues, such as diabetes, talk with your doctor about controlling it first. Failing to do so could increase the risk of complications.
Should I Choose Liposuction or CoolSculpting?
While some patients choose CoolSculpting to change their shape, liposuction is often the best option. For any patient, liposuction has a greater ability to reduce inches and shape the area(s) treated than CoolSculpting. This is often true even when only an inch or so reduction is needed because of liposuction’s ability to actually shape an area and tighten the skin. Liposuction is definitely a better choice when more than an inch reduction is needed or skin tightening will be needed as part of the procedure. The bottom line, you can get more body shaping, tightening and a much more certain result with liposuction than you can with CoolSculpting.
CoolSculpting can reduce the stomach area by one-two inches. Other areas like thighs and arms can also be reduced. CoolSculpting has limited ability to shape and very little ability to tighten the skin.
Liposuction can shape and reduce 2 or more inches (depending on the size of the patient). Liposuction also tightens the skin when good modern techniques are applied. SmartLipo can further tighten the skin, so the combination is frequently very effective.
Patients should keep the greater limitations of CoolSculpting in mind when making their choice on treatments.