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Liposuction Vs. CoolSculpting – What is the Difference?

Liposuction Vs. CoolSculpting – What is the Difference?

Do you find that no matter how much weight you lose, there are some areas that you simply can’t tone? These isolated pockets of fat may only be eliminated with body contouring liposuction. However, for those intimidated by surgery there are newer, non-invasive options like, CoolSculpting. Liposuction vs. CoolSculpting- let’s see which procedure is right for you.


Liposuction is a surgical procedure that uses a cannula and suction device to remove stubborn areas of unwanted fat. It is generally able to sculpt those areas by melting away the fat pockets. Liposuction is performed on areas such as the sides and lower abdomen, as well as the inner and outer thighs.

The Procedure

Traditional liposuction is painful and requires a lot of recovery time. The surgeon makes tiny incisions in the skin and inserts a cannula to break up the fat. A suction device attached to the cannula suctions out the fat.

Liposuction is done under general anesthesia, and can be performed on an outpatient basis when mild to moderate amounts of fat are being removed. The duration of the procedure depends on the number of areas being treated. It can last anywhere from 1-6 hours.


CoolSculpting is a body contouring technique that uses a system known as, Cyrolipolysis to freeze fat cells. The development of this fat freezing technology stemmed from research carried out by two dermatologists at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Their findings confirmed that fat cells are more sensitive to cold temperatures than the surrounding tissue.

How it Works

The CoolSculpting machine has cooling plates that pull up the skin and fat between two panels. The system cools the skin and fat until it reaches freezing, and then selectively injures the fat cells. The body’s natural immune system eventually eliminates these cells. As a result, the treated area has a thinner layer of fat is present at the  treated area.

CoolSculpting is a safe and effective way to target unwanted fat and contour the body. There were no adverse reactions reported during clinical studies conducted for the FDA prior to approval. The procedure is not painful, but some patients report that they feel a slight tugging as the machine works on the fat in the targeted area.

Liposuction Vs. CoolSculpting

Traditional liposuction suctions out the fat, while CoolSculpting freezes the fat. CoolSculpting has become a popular alternative to traditional liposuction because it is simple, non-surgical and doesn’t require a lot of recovery time.

With CoolSculpting there is:

  • No surgery: CoolSculpting is a non-invasive procedure that operates through the skin, so there is no surgery nor downtime.
  • No anesthesia: CoolSculpting requires no anesthesia. Traditional liposuction requires anesthesia to numb the treatment area.
  • Less downtime: There are no incisions with CoolSculpting, therefore there is less trauma to the skin and recovery time is minimal. Recovery can take up to 2 weeks with traditional liposuction.
  • Fewer side effects: Side effects of CoolSculpting are few and include skin sensitivity and bruising. These typically clear within a few days. Liposuction generally requires the use of pain medication to alleviate discomfort. This is common within the first 7 days. Other side effects include swelling, numbness, and bruising.

With liposuction there is:

  • More dramatic results: CoolSculpting results are not as dramatic as those achieved with traditional liposuction. Final results with CoolSculpting can take several weeks to show.
  • One-time treatment: Liposuction requires one treatment, whereas CoolSculpting requires more than one session for optimal results.

Which is Right for You?

The ideal candidate for CoolSculpting should be within 10-15 pounds of their ideal body weight. It is not for individuals that have a lot of excess weight. This treatment is not a weight loss procedure.

Carefully consider these liposuction vs. CoolSculpting points when deciding which body contouring option is right for you.


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