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Better Results for Love Handles, Coolsculpting or Liposuction?

What are the pros and cons of liposuction and coolsculpting when used for love handles?

Doctor Answers 9

Procedures to Improve Love Handles

The truth is, both CoolSculpting and liposuction can be great for treating excess fat in this area. It all depends on the patient, what they hope to achieve, and what will work best for their body type while providing the lowest risk. For some patients that's non-invasive CoolSculpting, while others will have their goals better met with liposuction. The best way to know for sure is to have a consultation with a highly experienced, board certified plastic surgeon who has a significant familiarity with both liposuction and CoolSculpting.

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Cool sculpting for the love handles!

This is a favored treatment for dual Sculpting with Cool sculpting.  Absolutely works with no downtime.

Body reshaping can be performed with a cannula that removes fat via liposuction or with noninvasive technology like Cool Sculpting. With Cool Sculpting there is no cannula inserted into your body. All treatments are performed on the surface from the outside in using technology that freezes the fat. Don’t hesitate to give us a call in Austin regarding a Body Reshaping Consult at the Upper Room. On our Facebook Page there is an Interview I recently did with KVUE, a local news station in Austin, that was picked by affiliates around the United States, including Miami. During the Interview we discussed the technology of Cool Sculpting as well as it application process.

Coolsculpting & Liposuction Pros and Cons

Both Coolsculpting and liposuction are great techniques for the love handle area. The pros for Coolsculpting in the Love Handle area is that the procedure takes one hour and is an office procedure that does not require anesthesia. There is minimal post procedure discomfort so essentially this could be a “ Lunchtime” procedure and then you could go back to work -- well , a long lunch time as it takes an hour for each side.
The limitations of Coolsculpting are that it will maximally reduce the love handle area by 20 to 25 percent. It may be that you require a second round of Cool Sculpting to achieve your desired result.

Liposuction by comparison will remove at least 50 to 75 percent of your excess fat in one sitting. Because it introduces a cannula into your fat tissues it must be done in a sterile environment. Most patients require some form of sedating anesthesia in order to tolerate the procedure and allow the surgeon to achieve the optimal result. Sedation should never be given without a preoperative medical clearance and intraoperative monitoring. The recovery period from liposuction will include some well tolerated swelling and discomfort. It takes about six weeks to see the final result. The final result from liposuction is much more certain and dramatic than what can be achieved with Coolsculpting.

In short: Coolsculpting is very user friendly, less expensive for one treatment, but will only achieve a 20 -25 percent reduction of fat.

Liposuction requires a great investment in pre-op preparation and a greater expense, but will give you a more certain result.

Carlin Vickery, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

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Liposuction is more effective for one treatment than CoolSculpting for love handles

There is no doubt that liposuction removes more fat cells in one treatment than the amount of fat cells that are destroyed in one treatment, and even a few, with Zeltiq's CoolSculpting.  Liposuction involves local anesthetic, and some other medicaton often, to help you relax and there are surgical risks, although it is a very safe procedure when done according to the standard appraoach.  Zeltiq has virtually no down time. You can go out to dinner that night, and often, with your doctor's permission, resume strenuous activity within a day or two but there can be brusiing and swelling temporarily, and much less than liposuction usually. There are no small insertion sites that need to heal with Zeltiq.  CoolSculpting can be repeated every couple of months but the time it takes to have a considerable improvement is longer than that from liposuction.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Liposuction or Cool sculpting (Zeltiq)?

Thank you for the question.

Liposuction surgery involves incisions and an invasive procedure to directly remove adipose tissue. Some form of anesthesia  is necessary. The procedure is effective with approximately 60 to 80% of adipose tissue removed from the treated area. Like any surgical procedure some recovery time (time off work etc.) it is necessary. It generally takes several months after the procedure to see the end results.

However,  cool sculpting is a noninvasive ( with no downtime) technique of removal of isolated adipose tissue that results in 20-25% reduction of the fat in the area treated. Repeated treatments may be necessary/ helpful.

For example, if  a patient presents  as a good candidate for liposuction surgery ( diet and exercise resistant adipose tissue with overlying good-quality skin elasticity),  then  liposuction surgery is probably the best way to go if the patient is interested in a single procedure.

If the patient presents with isolated adipose tissue “pocket” and is interested in a noninvasive procedure(s)  with no  downtime ( but with less effect)  then cool sculpting may be an option.

As always, direct physical examination is necessary to determine if the patient is a candidate for any modality of treatment.

Best wishes.

Coolsculpting and Liposuction: Both Great for Different Purposes

When it comes to choosing a method for fat reduction, the amount of unwanted fat a patient desires to remove is a major consideration. Coolsculpting® is great for very small amounts of undesired, diet- and exercise- resistant fat. Liposuction works better on more substantial amounts of fat. However, there are many additional factors to consider like results and recovery. While Coolsculpting® is non-invasive and doesn’t require down time, two treatments are necessary for optimal results, which will be evident after 4 to 6 months. Coolsculpting® applies extreme cold to the target area, which causes the body to respond by eliminating the fat within fat cells over time. Liposuction requires more significant recovery time as it is a surgical procedure, but can produce noticeable results that will be evident immediately after the swelling from surgery goes down. Both of these fat reduction techniques, however, can be used to treat love handles. 

Edmond Griffin, MD
Atlanta Dermatologic Surgeon

CoolSculpting vs Liposuction for love handles

Liposuction is a surgical procedure that requires local or iv anesthesia.  There is more downtime due to the more invasive nature of this procedure.  Patients have to wear compression garments for several weeks and exercise is prohibited for an amount of time following the procedure.  If a patient has very large amounts of fat and wants to undergo a single procedure, liposuction is likely the best choice.

Cool Sculpting is a non-invasive. non-surgical procedure that is ideal for smaller areas of exercise resistant fat.  There is no down time and no anesthesia required.  Each treatment results in a 20% reduction of fat.  Some patients may require more than one treatment and individual results may very.  If a patient is unable to undergo a surgical procedure for medical reasons, Cool Sculpting may be a great alternative to surgery.

Lori Stetler, MD
Dallas Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Better Results for Love Handles, Coolsculpting or Liposuction?

Liposuction and Coolsculpting can both sculpt and improve the appearance of the love handles.

In general, liposuction can remove a significantly greater amount of fat (eg. 60%) compared to Coolsculpting (eg. 20%). Liposuction is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that can be performed under local anesthesia and has a short recovery time.

Coolsculpting is a noninvasive procedure that does not require any downtime. The results, however, are much more modest than liposuction.

Overall, for those patients seeking the best contouring result, liposuction remains the gold standard. On the other hand, for patients who are willing to accept a much more modest improvement and do not wish to undergo a minor procedure, Coolsculpting may be an appropriate treatment option.

I would seek the counsel of a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon for more information and an evaluation.

Larry Fan, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Coolsculpting results can be very disappointing.


Our impression is that patient expectations are not often met because this technique removes only small amounts of fat.

Liposuction of the love handles does require some anesthesia,and a few days of recovery, but the results are dramatic.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.