CoolSculpting vs Liposuction: is it fair to compare?

Feb 2, 2022

As a full-service plastic surgery office, we offer multiple methods of reducing and/or eliminating excess fat including CoolSculpting and liposuction. We’re often asked what the difference between them is, and which is better.

Let’s look at liposuction first: liposuction is a surgical procedure that permanently removes fat. It can be performed on many parts of the body and under the direction of a board-certified plastic surgeon, the results are beautiful and the fat in the areas treated is gone for good.

The downside of liposuction:

  1. Liposuction is surgery. It’s real surgery and requires anesthesia of some sort, either local anesthesia with a form of lidocaine and IV fluid injected into the treatment area (officially called tumescent fluid) or it requires you to go to sleep with general anesthesia. Don’t believe the hype of ‘liposuction without anesthesia’ because it is not true.
  2. Liposuction is an ‘invasive’ procedure: it requires incisions for any fat to be removed. The incisions are small and generally heal nicely.
  3. With liposuction, there is a recovery period, the actual time of recovery varies from patient to patient but can be up to a week off work in many cases.
  4. Results from liposuction take 3-6 months before you see your result.
  5. Cost of liposuction: plastic surgery is not cheap. There are costs for the surgeon, the operating room, the anesthesia team and post-surgery medications and garments.

Let’s compare that with CoolSculpting®:

  1. CoolSculpting® is non-surgical and does not require anesthesia. That does not mean it is painless, as most patients experience some mild to moderate form of discomfort, either at the beginning or end of the treatment or in the initial days after treatment.
  2. CoolSculpting is non-invasive: no incisions needed for the treatment.
  3. Recovery with CoolSculpting: while you can return to work and normal activities immediately after your CoolSculpting treatment, on some rare occasions, people may experience discomfort that is unusual and may require topical medication to help ease the discomfort. It’s rare for patients to miss any work after having CoolSculpting.
  4. Results from CoolSculpting take 3-4 months before you see the results, which is very similar to liposuction.
  5. Cost of CoolSculpting: comprehensive treatments can cost as much, or even more than surgical liposuction. People choose CoolSculpting over liposuction to avoid anesthesia, avoid incisions and with a quicker return to daily activities.

Once you’ve reviewed the details above, it seems like CoolSculpting is the winner. Not so fast. While CoolSculpting is an effective non-surgical permanent fat removal process (such a mouthful), it can take multiple treatments for you to reach your goal. These treatments can occur at one or 2 settings but may need to be spaced out over a period of 2-4 months, so that we can see how your body responds to CoolSculpting. With liposuction, one surgery is all that is generally needed to get you to your results. Our board-certified plastic surgeons will provide you with safe and comprehensive liposuction surgery. The beauty of consulting at Gayoso Plastic Surgery is that we will help you navigate which of these fat removal processes is the best to help you reach your goal.

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If you’re curious about a cosmetic procedure or are ready to take the next step and invest in yourself, we’re here to help make it happen. Don’t hesitate to schedule your first consultation with us to get started.

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