How Effective is Coolsculpting Compared to More Invasive Fat Removal Treatment Options?

Which parts of the body is coolsculpting recommended over liposuction just based on the results? Is it cost-effective to try a more conservative method before considering surgery?

Doctor Answers 21

CoolSculpting vs Invasive Treatments

While CoolSculpting may not be as effective as liposuction, it is a great non-invasive treatment with none to minimal downtime. CoolSculpting is ideal for patients within 20 lbs of their ideal weight with stubborn bulges of fat. Liposuction is more effective for fat reduction, but it can involve anesthesia, incisions, and some downtime. Pricing can vary for CoolSculpting depending on ho many cycles you will need. The best thing is to have a consultation so that the best treatment can be determined for your needs/goals and to assess if you are a candidate for treatment.

Coolsculpting versus Invasive Procedures

Coolsculpting is the best non-surgical method for reducing a bulge that currently exists.  Liposuction is the surgical alternative which can be very successful but is invasive and obviously carries certain risks.  If you are considering a fat reducing procedure and want something non-invasive and effective than coolsculpting may be the best option for you.  Please consult a board certified dermatologist with a great deal of experience with coolsculpting for the best cosmetic results.

Fat Removal with CoolSculpting

Results of CoolSculpting to treat stubborn pockets of fat have routinely been impressive. However, every patient is different and each person has different needs. Based on results, both liposuction and CoolSculpting can be really effective - it all depends on the kind of result you hope to achieve. Having an in-person evaluation with a board certified plastic surgeon who is highly experienced in both liposuction and CoolSculpting is a good way to find out what's right for you. It is most cost-effective to go with the method that will achieve the best results for your body and your goals, and to get it right the first time.

CoolSculpting vs. Liposuction

Whether CoolSculpting or liposuction is the better option depends on a patient’s anatomy and overall aesthetic goal. CoolSculpting is great for patients who want a non-invasive option for fat reduction. There is no downtime for patients, and fat can be reduced up to 25% incrementally. CoolSculpting is meant to reduce fat in typical problem areas that are stubborn to efforts of diet and exercise, such as the abdomen, flanks, inner and outer thighs, and underneath the chin. It is not meant to be a weight-loss solution for patients. Liposuction is another great body-contouring procedure. With liposuction, fat can be reduced at a higher percentage. It can be completed in one in-office appointment, but there is a compression period after the procedure that is necessary to allow tissues to heal and reattach. To determine which procedure is best, consult a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss your goals. Good luck in your research!

Jerome H. Liu, MD
San Jose Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Coolsculpting Provides an Alternative to Liposuction for Improvement in Body Contour.

Hello and thank-you for your question

Our office offers both liposuction (tumescent, ultrasonic assisted, laser assisted), which is a more invasive surgical procedure involving liposuction and the non-invasive alternative Coolsculpting. Liposuction involves more of a recovery and is prefered for larger volume of fat reduction and cases where more areas are treated.  CoolSculpting is a great, FDA-approved non-invasive alternative for fat reduction of the abdomen and flanks. Coolsculpting relies on Cryolipolysis due to the fact that fat cells are more sensitive to cold than are other tissues.  This technology can is best suited a means to produce reduction in inches when the issue is a few extra pounds. We utilize the new Cool Advantage applicators which are much more comfortable and reduce treatment time to 35 minutes.  We currently have 4 Coolsculpting machines and can offer "Dual Sculpting" which further reduces the treatment time.  It can be used safely for off-label treatment of the upper arms, inner/outer thighs, bra-strap area, chin, and above the knees. The advanced cooling technology selectively targets and eliminates fat cells gently and gradually without affecting the surrounding tissue. Patients in our office have seen an average fat reduction of 20-25% with each treatment. Depending on the patient's body composition and outcome goals, it generally takes more than one treatment to achieve optimal results. A second treatment is general scheduled 30 to 45 days after the initial treatment. It takes about 2-3 months to get a general idea of the final results. The results are long-lasting as long as you maintain a stable healthy lifestyle.  I recommend scheduling a consultation with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon well versed in all options for body contouring to determine if you an ideal candidate for Coolsculpting.


Best regards,

Andrew T. Lyos, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Liposuction generally achieves more dramatic results than CoolSculpting

While CoolSculpting is one of the best options for non-surgical fat reduction, the results do not really compare to liposuction. Liposuction can deliver dramatic results after one treatment, whereas CoolSculpting can only deliver a 20-30% reduction in fat and may require multiple treatments to reach a patient’s desired goal. CoolSculpting can be great for patients who only need a small reduction in fat or who are averse to more invasive procedures, but in terms of results, liposuction is generally the better option.

William Groff, DO
San Diego Dermatologist
4.8 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Coolsculpting versus Liposuction

If you are open to a surgical option, this will usually trump Coolsculpting in terms of results.  If you are not open to Surgery, then I would say that Coolsculpting is a great option for you, provided you understand the limitation of the procedure and you go through a thorough consultation to help manage expectations.  My recommendation would be to visit with a board certified plastic surgeon in your area to discuss what you can expect from each option you are considering.

Coolsculpting less effective than lipo but no surgery and minimal recovery

Coolsculpting is non-invasive treatment for permanent fat reduction on abdomen, flanks, back and thighs. With each treatment patients lose 20-25% of the fat on each area. Patients can go back to work immediate after the treatment and there is no recovery or downtime involved. For the best results we usually recommend two treatments a month apart. With more invasive procedures, such as liposuction, patients have longer recovery, healing and need to take some time off from work. However, the results are usually more dramatic and can remove large aount of fat in 1 session

CoolSculpting Vs. Liposuction for Fat Removal

                  Coolsculpting and liposuction are both excellent therapeutic options for managing localized fat collections. Both procedures offer advantages and the choice of procedure depends on a variety of factors.

                  Without pictures or a physical examination it’s hard to know which option is best for any given patient. In these cases, the location of the fat, is less important than the amount of fat and the patient’s aesthetic goals. When larger amounts of fat are present, liposuction will most likely yield a superior result. Unfortunately, this procedure may be associated with more pain and longer recoveries.

                  When smaller amounts of fat are present, excellent results can occur with coolsculpting with shorter recoveries and less pain in the post-operative period.

                  If you’re considering treatment of localized fat collections, consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon would be appropriate. This surgeon can advise you regarding which procedure is best for you. 

Coolsculpting Compared to Liposuction

Coolsculpting and liposuction are two very different techniques so patient’s need to select carefully in order to be satisfied with the result. Liposuction has been used since 1970. Simply explained the technique uses a cannula which is placed through a small incision and attached to a vacuum device. The vacuum and the motion of the cannula will displace fat cells which then are sucked into a cannister. Large volumes of fat can be removed with this technique and it is standard to achieve at least a 50 percent reduction in fat volume for nearly anywhere on the body. Patients with youthful, contractile skin which can redrape following the fat removal are the best candidates. Patients with non-elastic , stretched skin are not great liposuction candidates as their skin will not contour to the loss of fat volume and they are likely to develop irregular dips.

Coolsculpting is a nonsurgical technique using a device which cools select areas of the body most often the love handle area and the abdomen. The procedure takes one hour and there is no significant recovery time. Over the following 8 weeks, the patient will experience a 20 percent reduction in fat volume which is a more subtle change than what is achieve by liposuction. Patient’s must be realistic about the different degree of results achieved by these two techniques otherwise they risk being disappointed by the degree of change with Coolsculpting. Patients may also undergo Coolsculpting a second or third time in order to achieve a greater removal of fat.

Carlin Vickery, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 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.