Should I consider liposuction over cool sculpting?

I have had cellulite on the back of my legs and butt for as long as I can remember, I wouldn't mind reducing some fat on my thighs as well. Would I be better off going with liposuction over cool sculpting?

Doctor Answers 18

Treatment for Cellulite?

Neither liposuction nor CoolSculpting are a treatment for cellulite. Both procedures can achieve thinning of the fat layer, and liposuction is typically more effective, but it is a more invasive surgical procedure.

The two treatments that have been proven to deliver good long term improvement of cellulite are Cellulaze and Celfina. Cellulaze is a minimally invasive laser treatment which is usually performed under light sedation and tumescent anesthesia. Cellfina uses a special device to stabilize the skin while a fine scalpel blade is directed under the skin to release the attachments that produce the dimpling effect of cellulite. It is also generally done under local anesthesia. The uniquely designed laser that is used for Cellulaze treatment will smooth irregularities in the fat layer, release areas of dimpling, and increase the thickness of the skin. Cellulaze can also achieve a subtle thinning of the fat layer.

Cellfina treats smaller more localized areas of cellulite while Cellulaze can treat larger areas such as the back of the thigh or lateral thigh. There is typically a few days of downtime after a Cellulaze treatment, and while there is a noticeable initial improvement, the results from a Single Cellulaze treatment will continue to improve for six months or longer.

Cellulite and Body Sculpting

Liposuction is not a treatment for cellulite. Liposuction is great at reshaping the body and removing excess fat in target areas. Cool sculpting also falls into this same category but typically has a much smaller change in results. It's best to consult with a surgeon who is very experienced in body sculpting to find out the best option for you.  

Justin Yovino, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Cellfina™ is better for cellulite than lipo or CoolSculpting®.

The idea that liposuction can eliminate cellulite is a very common misconception, and the same goes for CoolSculpting®. Lipo and CoolSculpting® are body contouring treatments designed to target and remove fat, but cellulite is a more complex issue than just simply fat beneath the skin’s surface. Cellulite is caused by a breakdown in the connective, mesh-like tissues in the skin. As this mesh breaks down and gaps are created, fat pokes through these gaps to create the dimpling effect on the skin’s surface. Because the real problem is in the connective tissues, removing subcutaneous fat by liposuction or CoolSculpting® will not correct the dimply appearance. I suggest looking into Cellfina™ as an effective treatment for cellulite, which I've seen very positive long-term results from at my own practice. 

Freezing fat is great if you have money to waste and don't want to see any results.

True liposuction by the tumescent tech with the micro cannulas is the surest way to see results and often does improve dimpling and irregularities very nicely. There are many gimmicky techniques out there that  will waste your money and you will see min if any results at all.

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Treatment for Cellulite?

Liposuction is not a treatment for cellulite. Liposuction is great at reshaping the body and removing excess fat in specific areas. Cool sculpting is a non surgical treatment for removing fat but has a much smaller change in results. It would be best for you to have an in person consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon in order to get an exam and find out what treatment would be the best for you.

Best of luck,

Dr. Peter Newen

Peter Newen, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Liposuction or Cool Sculpting to Outer Thighs

Dear mgrover84, If you have saddle bag issues then Cool Sculpting is a nice option for small pockets of fat (9-13% reduction and often needs 2 treatments). Liposuction is superior to Cool Sculpting but is obviously surgical but volume reduction is better- it depends on where you are starting and what your goals are. 

Cellulite is not addressed from liposuction or cool sculpting. I would recommend seeking an in person consultation with a practice that offers all of those things plus maybe celfina.

In your area I highly respect Dr. Grant Stevens but I'm sure there are many great surgeons, just do your homework!

Robert Heck, MD, FACS
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 60 reviews


Thank you for your question in regards to liposuction. Coolsculpting nor liposuction are advertised to help treat cellulite. If you have unwanted fat on your thighs, depending on the amount would determine which treatment you would be a candidate for. To be sure, see two or more board-certified plastic surgeons in your area for a full and complete evaluation to make sure you are a good candidate and that it is safe for you to have surgery. I hope this helps.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 143 reviews

Liposuction or cool sculpting for cellulite

Thank you for asking about your liposuction.
  • Liposuction is predictable and effective in reducing fat in an area of the body.
  • Coolsculpting has less impressive results - some patients claim it did nothing at all.
  • But neither will affect cellulite which remains very difficult to treat.
  • I truly think you will get the best advice with a personal consultation to understand what can be done and what improvement to expect.
  • Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Best wishes - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Liposuction Time?

Thanks for your question.  Cool Sculpting while great may have a lessened results when compared to traditional liposuction.  However, if you are looking for minimal downtime Cool Sculpting may be your answer. It will not really treat cellulite though.

All the best,
Steven Camp MD

Steven M. Camp, MD
Fort Worth Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Treatment of Thigh Fat

Without an exam it is impossible to give specific advice. However, from your description, either weight loss or one of the non invasive fat loss methods, Zerona or CoolSculpting, would probably be best as they target fat in general and the non invasive methods remove the more superficial fat that causes "cellulite" better and safer than trying to liposuction superficially. Make sure you see someone with significant experience in both liposuction and the no surgical methods.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 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.