Know The Difference Between Coolsculpting and Liposuction

Know the difference between coolsculpting and liposuction. Decide which is the best fat reduction treatment for you. Get the body of your dreams today!

August 11, 2021

6 min read


Physical and mental fitness are two key factors that should not be neglected. So you should opt for a healthy and active lifestyle. But for many of us, excessive work has made our life sedentary. Most of our time is spent sitting in front of the screen. The fast pace of life has made us dependent on fast food, which further contributes to weight gain. This affects men’s and women’s bodies differently as women store body fat differently than men. For the same body mass index, women have more fatty deposits than men and men have more muscle mass than women. Muscle tissue uses more energy than fat tissue. Having more muscle mass means men can easily burn more energy than women. 

Why we get fat deposits

The problem areas for men and women also differ. Women store more fat around their hips and thighs while for men the problem area is the stubborn belly fat. The breakdown of stored fat into free fatty acids which can be transported in the bloodstream is easier in the belly area as compared to the hip and thigh area, as fat cells of the belly area are more responsive and release fat easily.

Some other causes of fat gain in women are listed below:

  • Pregnancy 
  • Hormonal changes
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Perimenopause and menopause
  • Medications such as birth control pills or antidepressants

Therefore, getting fat deposits area greater challenge for women. At times even consuming low-calorie or healthy food and exercising regularly does not seem to work. You are likely to feel demotivated after months. To help you achieve your ideal physique and improve your body contour, modern technology has introduced different fat reduction treatments. Liposuction and Coolsculpting are currently the most popular fat reduction treatments available. When stubborn fat does not melt, you can opt for the latest fat reduction treatments to improve body contour and proportion. This also helps you maintain an more youthful appearance.

Liposuction and Coolsculpting are some of the latest and best body contouring treatments available today. However, it is important to remember that both are completely different procedures and the only certified plastic surgeon can recommend the best treatment for you, after analyzing your problem areas and personal goals.

All About Liposuction 

Liposuction, also known as lipoplasty or lipo, is a type of plastic surgery used to increase body aesthetics. It is an effective and safe method to improve body contour and proportion. The procedure starts with a consultation with a certified plastic surgeon. You can simply consult with them and inform them about your problem area. After consultation, if your surgeon advises liposuction as the best option for fat reduction treatment for you, surgery can be considered. The fat is removed using thin, blunt-tipped, hollow tubes called cannulas. A cannula is inserted under the skin via tiny incisions. The time required for surgery depends on the factors such as area, size, amount of fat to be reduced and type of anesthesia. The type of anesthesia is decided after analyzing the size of the area to be treated. Local anesthesia is used for the liposuction of smaller areas while general anesthesia is required for the liposuction of larger areas.

Liposuction can remove fat from certain areas of the body, which may include:

  • Abdomen
  • Chest
  • Waist
  • Back
  • Hips
  • Neckline
  • Face 
  • Thighs 
  • Upper arms
  • Lower legs

Types of Liposuction

The general procedure of liposuction involves thin, blunt-tipped, hollow tubes called cannulas connected to a vacuum. These hollow tubes are inserted through tiny cuts in the skin; it loosens the excess fat and then the fat is sucked out of the body. The plastic surgeon moves the tubes around under the skin to target specific fat deposits. 

In the last few years, with the introduction of new technologies, liposuction techniques have improved drastically. Liposuction is now more secure, easier and less painful. These newer techniques are mentioned below.

Tumescent Liposuction

This is the commonly used liposuction technique. The first step is numbing the area to be treated by giving local anesthesia (it is done by an anesthesiologist, the surgeon is not involved in this step). In this step, a solution of lidocaine and epinephrine is mixed with saline solution and injected into the specific area. The solution numbs the area making the procedure less painful. Then your surgeon will insert a cannula via small incisions and sucks out the fat. 

Ultrasound-assisted Liposuction

In this type of liposuction, your surgeon will make use of high-frequency sound waves that create high amounts of energy in fat tissues of a specific area. This dissolves fat cells, which makes them easier to remove through suction. This type of liposuction is used in areas that involve stubborn fats. It is minimally invasive. This type of liposuction is also called liquid liposuction.

Laser-assisted Liposuction

It is also called smart lipo. In this type of liposuction, laser beams are used to break down fat. The surgeon makes small incisions and inserts a cannula. The laser probe is inserted through the same cannula. To control pain and bleeding, a lidocaine and epinephrine solution mixed with saline solution is injected into the desired area. The laser breaks down fats and changes them into liquid form. It is sucked out of the body through a cannula. Like ultrasound-assisted liposuction, laser-assisted liposuction also involves minimal invasiveness.

Power-assisted Liposuction

In the first step, a solution of lidocaine and epinephrine is mixed with saline solution and injected into the specific area. In the second step, a power-assisted device is used to break down fat that is then extracted through the cannula. This type of liposuction is very effective in eliminating stubborn pockets of fat. It also tightens skin for better contouring. The pulsating power-assistance is capable of stimulating the production of collagen underneath the skin, so with the production of more collagen, the treated area appears firmer and toned. This type of liposuction is also called PAL liposuction.

All About Coolsculpting

Coolsculpting uses non-invasive, fat-freezing technology. It is FDA approved. Through Coolsculpting technology, you can reduce fats from problem areas such as:

  • Abdomen
  • Thighs
  • Under the chin 
  • Flanks 
  • Bra bulge 
  • Upper arms
  • Back rolls 
  • Lower buttocks

Coolsculpting involves a procedure known as cryolipolysis. It is a simple process that can be done ​​at a doctor’s office or at an outpatient clinic. The procedure does not require anesthesia and the patient remains fully conscious. 

Coolsculpting achieves fat freezing by placing a gel pad on the target area to numb and protect the skin. Fat cells are frozen by a vacuum-like Coolsculpting applicator. The applicator is placed on the targeted area to freeze your fat cells. This eventually causes them to die. The dead cells are then naturally expelled via your body’s lymphatic system.

Differences Between Coolsculpting and Liposuction

It is essential to note the differences between coolsculpting and liposuction.

a surgical procedurea non-surgical procedure 
an invasive procedure a non-invasive procedure
requires local or general anesthesia does not require anesthesia 
needs recovery time does not need recovery time 
immediate dramatic results noticeable results appear after 2 to 3 months 
a single session is needed need multiple sessions
may cost more than Coolscuptingcomparatively cheaper than liposuction
higher risks and complications 
bleeding, contour irregularities, blood clot in lungs or legs
risks and complications are rare: redness, bruising, swelling, numbness
great for large-scale fat loss capable of removing up to 5 liters of fattreats specific pockets of fat; it is only for a trim upcoolsculpting can remove up to 25% of fat cells in the target area
cannot be repeated before 6 months in the same multiple sessions can be taken within days

Similarities Between Liposuction and Coolsculpting 

Both procedures are permanent

Both fat reduction treatments are permanent. Coolsculpting kills fat cells through cryolipolysis, while liposuction removes excess fat tissue through incisions and suction. 

Remove only subcutaneous fat

Both procedures remove subcutaneous fat only. They do not target visceral fat. 

Both procedures only treat specific target areas

Both procedures are used to treat only specific target areas. They do not reduce fat from the whole body.

Both are not a treatment for obesity

Liposuction and Coolsculpting procedures only remove fat from the selected areas.

They do not remove cellulite or eliminate stretch marks

Both procedures can not fix loose skin or stretch marks, which are typically on the stomach, thighs, hips and buttocks as neither treatment tightens the skin or removes stretch marks.

Which Fat Reduction Treatment is Right For You

Once you have decided that you want to opt for fat reduction treatment, the next step is to decide the type of fat reduction treatment. There are some important factors listed below that must be considered to choose the type of treatment.

  • The area of the body that you wish to be contoured 
  • The amount of fat that you wish to be removed 
  • Your budget
  • Whether you want treatment with anesthesia or without it
  • Your pain tolerance
  • Skin elasticity
  • Recovery time (how much time you have for the recovery period)
  • Your health (it is not recommended to go for fat reduction treatments with specific health issues or being on specific medications) 

The third step will be finding a reliable surgeon for consultation near you. You can discuss all your priorities and concerns regarding fat reduction in detail with your surgeon. The surgeon can examine you and help you to choose the type of fat reduction treatment that is appropriate for you. However, like all cosmetic procedures, the decision to undergo liposuction or Coolsculpting is only yours.  We hope this guide will help you decide the most suitable Coolsculpting or liposuction treatments near you. 

At the Advanced Institute for Plastic Surgery, our board certified team of plastic surgeons would love to meet you and go over everything you need to know about fat reduction treatments. Just give us a call or schedule a consultation with us.

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