Liposuction VS CoolSculpting

Should I Choose Liposuction or CoolSculpting?

For any patient, liposuction has a greater ability to reduce inches and shape the area(s) treated than 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 (click to learn more about 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.

What is CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting uses specially designed cooling plates to freeze fat CELLS through the skin.  This causes the cells to die over the next few months.  As the cells die, the fat layer is reduced.  The usual response is a reduction in size up to about an inch at the waist. The process has some mild to moderate discomfort.  It can also cause some bruising and swelling afterwards.  Many patients require a second or even a third treatment to achieve their goals.  Liposuction removes fat completely from the body during the procedure.  Additional shaping is needed occasionally, but third treatments are very rare.

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 (click to learn more about fat transfer)  to enhance areas like the breast or buttocks, or we dispose of the fat as medical waste.

What Are the Side Effects of CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting does have side effects.  Most patients experience some swelling, soreness and bruising similar to liposuction.  Numbness can persist in the area for several days and occasionally a couple of months.  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 persistent moderate to severe pain in the treatment area. This pain occurs is 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.

Liposuction or CoolSculpting, What Is The Bottom Line?

While some patients choose CoolSculpting to change their shape, liposuction is often the best option.  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. SmartLipo (click to learn more about SmartLipo) is a great option when skin tightening is needed, and most patients benefit from additional skin tightening.  The bottom line, you can get more body shaping, tightening and a much more certain result with liposuction than you can with CoolSculpting.