CoolSculpting vs. Liposuction: Which One is Best?

woman smiling on a beach after liposuction

Do you remember that goal bikini you have sitting in the drawer? Well, this summer is your time to finally pull it out! Why? Because both CoolSculpting and liposuction can help you gain that toned tummy you’ve always wanted. 

While each procedure works phenomenally to flatten your midsection (and other areas), some people lean toward one or the other. Our surgeons and aesthetic professionals at Southlake Plastic Surgery & Medspa always strive to steer our patients in the right direction to reach their goals, meaning you will get the best fat reduction treatments in Southlake. 

If you’re deciding between CoolSculpting vs. liposuction, keep reading and hopefully we’ll help make the choice a little bit easier. 

Why is it so hard to target fat loss? 

Oftentimes people turn to either invasive and non-invasive body sculpting procedures to get rid of stubborn fat because they’ve struggled with getting rid of fat on their own. If you’re one of those people, you’re definitely not alone. 

Here’s the truth: When burning fat at the gym, you’re not actually destroying fat cells; you’re simply shrinking the ones you have. 

From infancy to about your mid 20s, the number of fat cells in your body increases. After that, the number typically won’t change (fat cells may increase if you gain a significant amount of weight). So if you’re noticing some extra pudge and unwanted fat, it’s because the fat cells you have are expanding. 

While fat cell growth can be due to genetics, how much energy you consume versus burn also plays a major role. When you eat too many calories without burning them off, that unused energy gets stored into your fat cells.

Here’s another kicker: you cannot target fat loss with diet and exercise. 

When you eat in a caloric deficit and workout on a regular basis, you will notice fat loss (and you should be proud of yourself!). However, where you lose fat depends on your genetics. No amount of salads and crunches will give you a six-pack right away, and you might find that your legs and arms get thinner before your stomach does. 

Fortunately, there are procedures that can actually target fat and take it away from your body for good. Combine that with healthy habits and you’ll find that you can maintain your new slim figure for years and years!

What is CoolSculpting? 

coolsculpting machine

CoolSculpting uses cryolipolysis technology to target, freeze, and destroy fat cells throughout your body. CoolSculpting results in a 25% reduction of fat cells each time the area is treated; therefore, the best results occur after a series of treatments (typically 2 to 3).

Your Guide to CoolSculpting in Southlake →

The idea behind this non-invasive procedure isn’t new. In 1970, scientists noticed that kids who ate popsicles lost fat in their cheeks. Coined “popsicle panniculitis,” the phenomenon led to the discovery that lipid-rich fat cells were more susceptible to cold injuries than the water-rich cells that surround them. As a result, the freezing cold temperatures of CoolSculpting can eliminate fat cells without harming the surrounding tissue. Once those fat cells are gone, they’re gone for good! 

CoolSculpting works great for your:

  • Stomach
  • Buttocks
  • Thighs
  • Muffin tops
  • Chin
  • And more!

During the procedure, excess fat is sucked into a cooling device that freezes fat cells. Of course safety always comes first, so the device comes with a built-in safety mechanism that shuts down the device if the skin gets too cold. 

A huge benefit of CoolSculpting is that it is a fairly painless fat-reduction treatment. Initially, you may feel some intense cold, but that goes away after 5 to 10 minutes once the area numbs. As the device goes over the treatment area, you may also experience a tugging, pulling, or a mild tingling sensation. Still, you won’t experience any intolerable pain or discomfort.

After your treatment (or series of treatments for the best results) you may not notice the results right away. That is because it takes the body time to get rid of the dead fat cells. However, after about 6 to 8 weeks you’ll start seeing your dream physique peak through, with the best results showing around the three month mark. 

Warning: Many people turn to at-home cryolipolysis devices that claim to work the same way as a professional CoolSculpting procedure. However, that is simply not true. At-home devices usually include ice or other frozen materials with the idea that running something cold over the area will lead to fat loss. In all actuality, you’re just freezing your skin. True cryolipolysis requires suction to keep in the fat in place; otherwise, the cells will retreat when the temperature gets too cold. To avoid adverse effects like pain, frostbite, and even tissue damage, it’s best to always stick to a professional CoolSculpting procedure instead of a DIY treatment. 

What is liposuction?

southlake plastic surgery treatment room

Liposuction is a surgical procedure that eliminates stubborn pockets of fat using cannulas (small suction devices). When you go in for lipo, your surgeon will put you under general anesthesia. From there he or she will make small incisions in the treatment area(s) to insert the cannulas. This allows for contouring and sculpting while the fat is removed.

Liposuction is commonly used to contour areas such as the:

  • Stomach
  • Thighs
  • Buttocks
  • Hips
  • Knees
  • Neck 
  • Chin
  • And more!

At Southlake Plastic Surgery, we offer two different types of liposuction procedures:

  1. SAFELipo
  2. VASER lipo

SAFELipo: SAFELipo is an innovative liposuction technique that removes fat and equalizes the thin layer of fat just below the skin. This improves the chances of a smooth, even contour once your body heals. 

VASER lipo: If you really want to go above and beyond, you might want to look into VASER lipo. VASER lipo combines traditional liposuction with ultrasonic sound waves. The ultrasonic waves liquify fat cells before removal to make the overall process easier and more accurate.

Liposuction recovery process

You won’t see your results right away since your body needs time to heal. Right after surgery, you’ll notice some swelling, bruising, and uneven contouring. After 8 to 10 days, bruising should be minimal if not gone. Swelling can last for 6 to 8 weeks, so don’t get discouraged if your body isn’t where you want it to be the first few months. 

For the first two weeks following your surgery, you’ll wear a compression garment 24/7 (yes, even when you’re sleeping). The next two weeks, you can wear the garment off and on in 12-hour increments. 

After about 6 to 9 months you’ll notice a permanent improvement in the contour and proportion of the treatment area(s). Plus, with your new physique you may notice your clothes fitting better, and you can even try on outfits you may have been too nervous to wear before!

5 Liposuction Recovery Tips to Get You Through the Healing Process →

What you should consider before choosing between CoolSculpting and liposuction

The most important thing we want to emphasize is that you shouldn’t consider CoolSculpting or liposuction as weight loss treatments. Both treatments are meant for healthy men and women who are already close to their ideal weight. With that in mind, here are a few considerations to help you choose between CoolSculpting vs. liposuction. 

Do you want a non-invasive or invasive procedure?

CoolSculpting is a non-invasive procedure that doesn’t require incisions, anesthesia, or downtime, so if you’re on the go, this might be the better option. On the other hand, liposuction is a surgery. That means your body will have to heal, and that will require you to stay home from work. You may also need someone with you to help you for the first few days. 

What kind of results are you looking for?

Since liposuction is a surgical procedure, you will have more dramatic results than with CoolSculpting. People with a little more fat to lose may opt for liposuction over CoolSculpting to achieve the look they’re after. If you ever have questions about which procedure will help you reach your unique goals, we highly recommend you schedule a consultation with an experienced surgeon. 

What is your budget?

Liposuction surgery pricing is fairly straightforward, because your provider will charge per area of the body operated on. CoolSculpting varies depending on the amount of fat in specific areas; some areas may require multiple treatments due to the amount of fat necrosis (death) each time it is treated. CoolSculpting treatments are highly individualized per patient and require an in-person consultation for an honest cost quote. CoolSculpting is not necessarily less expensive than liposuction surgery; it is a non-surgical option to surgery. In some cases, it may end up costing more than surgery, so it depends on the patient’s priorities regarding down-time, amount of fat loss needed, and cost.

Do you want to get both procedures? 

If you absolutely can’t make the decision, why not do both? At the end of the day, CoolSculpting and liposuction are great complementing procedures that can work hand-and-hand to give you the body of your dreams. For many people, starting off with liposuction, then going through a series of CoolSculpting treatments after recovery can make a world of difference. 

Schedule your CoolSculpting and/or liposuction with Southlake Plastic Surgery today.

For the best fat reduction treatments in Southlake, Southlake Plastic Surgery is your place to go. We are an award-winning facility that always puts the needs of our patients first, ensuring that you get the sculpted and toned body you’ve been wanting! 

During a free consultation, we’ll talk to you about your goals and what you hope to gain from your treatment. From there we can help you determine whether CoolSculpting or liposuction (or both!) will work best to give you the look you’re after. 

Dr. Mason is one of the most experienced plastic surgeons in the area and is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. So with us, you’ll always get the gold standard of treatments. 

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