CoolSculpting vs Liposuction


Written by Ali Waychoff, Reviewed by Dr. Justin Harper, MD

In the past, the only way to lose unwanted pounds was to go on a diet and bust your butt at the gym. This was – and still is – an imperfect system. Every person’s body is unique, and we all carry our weight differently on our frames. Furthermore, dieting and working out is such a slow method for burning fat away, and weight loss usually takes months.

But now, there are a few other options that are freezing and sucking the fat right off — literally. CoolSculpting and Liposuction are the two hottest ways to lose fat if running just isn’t your thing.


So, What Is CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting is a non-invasive procedure that freezes stubborn fat cells in a designated area such as the abdomen, inner thighs, arms, back, flanks, and outer thighs.

During the procedure, a gel pad is applied to the fatty area. An applicator is then stuck onto the gel pad which lowers the temperature of the fat below the pad to below zero degrees. (Don’t worry – that area goes numb to the temperature in about five minutes!) The low temperature immobilizes the fat cells.

During the freezing process, you may want to grab a book and a snack, because you’re going to be here for 30-60 minutes depending on the size of the treatment.

Times up! The applicator is removed and the treatment area will be massaged to break up those tiny fat cells. Over the next three months, the fat cells will be flushed away by your body.


Any Downtime?

So you might be thinking, what’s the downtime? Am I going to be able to go back to work right away? I have kids – can I still do things with them when I get home? These are all valid questions, and the answer to all of them is yes!

There is no down-time with this procedure. You can walk out and head to the gym, play with the kiddos, get to that early morning work meeting the next day.


What Is The Cost? Would I Be A Candidate?

Let’s get personal. Are you tired of whatever you’re seeing when you put on a tight dress or fitted dress shirt? Tired of fearing the scale? So done seeing that tiny “fupa” of fat that you haven’t been able to get rid of for some time? If you answered yes to any of these questions,, CoolSculpting is right for you!

CoolSculpting aids in the destruction of fat cells forever — yes, you read that right — and if you have a spot on the bod that you can pull and feel tiny fat beads, then you’re a perfect candidate for CoolSculpting.

If you’re serious about removing your stubborn fat forever, it will cost $600—$700 per cycle. Each person needs two cycles for one treatment (on the right and left sides) no matter the desired area. Since this is a cosmetic procedure, CoolSculpting isn’t covered by insurance. However, there are payment plans you can work with such as CareCredit and GreenSky that can help you get to feeling and looking your best.


This Sounds Great! Any Risks?

While there isn’t any downtime, that doesn’t mean you will get up and look like you didn’t just freeze away an area full of fat.

It’s safe to say CoolSculpting can leave you slightly bruised or even swollen for a couple days following the procedure. You may experience redness at the site and feel slightly sore but, there aren’t any open wounds or stitches.

Okay, woah! That was a lot to take in. But wait, there’s more — no, really, there is.


What Is Liposuction?

This procedure, like CoolSculpting, gets rid of unwanted fat cells. The difference is that that Liposuction sucks the fat cells out instead of freezing them, and is an invasive surgery.

Liposuction is used to treat areas on the body such as the abdomen, flanks, buttocks, arms or neck. If these areas have a little extra fat cells hibernating, Liposuction can help take care of it!

Your doctor will let you know which type of anesthesia is right for you and your body, whether it be local anesthesia, intravenous sedation, and general anesthesia. Once you pick that out, it’s incision time!

Through a small incision, diluted local anesthesia is infused to reduce bleeding and trauma. A hollow tube is then inserted through the incision to break up the excess fat. By using a controlled back and forth motion, the fat is then suctioned out using a vacuum.

That was it? That’s easy, right?

Is There Any Downtime?

Expect some pain after this procedure. You did just have a needle in you, after all! Swelling and bruising is normal as well. Your surgeon may prescribe pain medication to help control the pain and reduce the risk of infection.

After the procedure, don’t find it odd that your surgeon may leave your incisions open. This is where they will place temporary drains to promote fluid drainage. Also, don’t be alarmed if you don’t feel up to par for work or your other normal daily activities. You may need a few days to a week to rest before returning to your daily routine.


So, How Much Is Liposuction? Would I Be A Candidate?

Well, how much fat are you looking to suck up? If it’s a lot, Liposuction is right for you. If it’s a little pesky pooch, Liposuction is still right for you! As long as there are fat beads that are unnecessary to that particular area of your body, you can remove it.

Like CoolSculpting, Liposuction is a cosmetic procedure so it too is not covered with insurance — sorry! The cost of Liposuction can fluctuate but is often around 3.5 grand.

Furthermore, the Liposuction client will cover the cost of the procedure, the hospital and doctor fees, anesthesia fees, and any other additional fees that may be associated at that particular facility.

Not to worry, though. Many plastic surgeons offer financial plans to help cover the costs.


Okay, Cool! Any Risks?

There are a few risk factors that one might run into when considering Liposuction: contour irregularities, fluid accumulation, numbness, infection, internal puncture, fat embolism, kidney and heart problems, and lidocaine toxicity, to name a few.

After your procedure, your skin could appear wavy and bumpy due to uneven fat removal, create temporary pockets of fluid, develop skin rashes, or even have a loose piece of fat become trapped in a blood vessel and make its way to the brain. Be sure to consult with your surgeon before and after your procedure about any questions you may have.

Be sure to find what works best for you. Ask questions and do your research. If all else fails, gym memberships start around $10 a month — you up for a run?

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