Is cool sculpting or regular liposuction better? (photos)

I am wanting to know if regular liposuction or CoolSculpting would give me better results. I am wanting it done on my stomach/love handles and my arms. I know that after lipo I will have some downtime and that's ok with me. From my research I think I will have to get multiple treatments of cool sculpting done to get the same results of lipo. Wouldn't it be better to just get the lipo done? I am also wanting to have a baby in 2-3 years.

Doctor Answers 13


Coolsculpting is an excellent form of non-invasive  fat reduction for the right patient. Some applicators take 1 or 2 hours but the new advantage applicators take only 35 minutes and have significantly less risk for delayed onset pain (especially in the abdomen). Results are seen at 2 months and typically 1-3 treatments will be necessary on each area to achieve ideal results. The number of treatments depends on the amount of fat there and the patient's goals.  There is not downtime and the results can be impressive in the right patient.  We also use the Zimmer Z-wave for improved patient comfort and added results. The best candidates are those who are in pretty good shape with areas of stubborn fat that won't go away no matter what. In office evaluation is necessary to evaluate what procedure would be best for you.

My best,

Sheila Nazarian, MD, MMM

Beverly Hills, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 51 reviews


I appreciate your question.
The best way to assess and give true advice would be an in-person exam.
Please see a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in aesthetic and restorative plastic surgery.

best of luck!

Dr Schwartz

There is another option besides CoolSculpting or liposuction: Liposonix.

Permanent fat reduction can be achieved a number of ways.  Traditionally liposuction ( a surgical procedure done with anesthesia that  sucks fat out) has been and still is a great way to remove fat.  Many people would prefer to avoid the risks of anesthesia and surgery as well as the down time.  CoolSculpting came along and does a good job especially when you see how easy and painless it is.  There is also a third FDA approved permanent fat reduction treatment called Liposonix.  It is completely non invasive and gives fat reduction %  similar to CoolSculpting.  It would be helpful to see a physician who specializes in both CoolSculpting and Liposonix for an individual evaluation and recommendations.

Susan Van Dyke, MD
Paradise Valley Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

You're a Good Candidate for Either — Time to Decide

Hi there. From your photos, it appears that you would be a good candidate for both procedures. CoolSculpting will do the same thing as liposuction but will not do it as aggressively. CoolSculpting is the best choice for anyone who does not want an operation and the associated downtime. Liposuction will absolutely remove more fat and get you a "better" result that is immediately apparent. You have to decide whether you want to undergo the liposuction procedure and its associated downtime, recovery, and possible complications. If you don't want to have the operation, and you are willing to accept a result that is not as dramatic and not immediate, then CoolSculpting would be a good option. The choice if yours.

Coolsculpting vs. Liposuction

I have done liposuction for over 15 years, but I have to say coolsculpting (and Ultrashape) have impressed me and I am a skeptic!
For small localized ares, non-surgical fat reduction is great.  
The more areas you desire addressed, the more likely you should lean toward liposuction.
Liposuction is definitely more thorough in contouring, but there is a significant amount of downtime as you do higher volumes (4-5 liters).  
You need to decide whether downtime is an issue.  If you can afford the downtime and your goals are more toward 80% fat removal, and you want to treat your abdomen, hips, bra line, and arms for example, you are probably looking at over 10 coolsculpt treatments to adequately treat each area 2 times which is recommended.  The cost may be comparable to liposuction which would then be preferred.  But if you do not have the extended downtime and could do 10 separate sessions easier, then coolsculpting may be the better option for your lifestyle and goals.  In either case, you should get a good result with your anatomy (based on your picture).  

Kimberly Short, MD, FACS
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Coolsculpting Versus Liposuction

I have so many patients that are sent to me for liposuction because they are unsatisfied with coolsculpting or other noninvasive treatments since their expectations was for contouring and reduction in size but they only got 20-30% improvement (which is the typical results from a series of any noninvasive treatment).  If you want true body shaping , you can get 80-100% results with properly performed liposuction and fat transfer. There is so little downtime with the more advanced techniques and no general anesthesia needed.  I suggest a body contouring consult with someone who is an expert and has a practice dedciated to this type of surgery.  Do not compromise your care for distance or price.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 165 reviews

Coolsculpting vs liposuction for abdomen and love handles

I think that the liposuction gives more predictable, consistent results and better fat removal than coolsculpting. Tumescent liposuction is done without general anesthesia and is a very safe, in-office procedure. The downsides involve having a minor surgical procedure, a few small skin scars, and the downtime of liposuction. Also after even the very best liposuction, you can have some irregularities in contour - or surface skin irregularities after liposuction of the abdomen (really not common after hips or flanks). The skin irregularities may be troubling to you.
Regarding cost of procedures - you may end up spending just as much or more on Coolsculpting as several treatments are needed for best results.

Coolsculpting vs liposuction

You could choose either treatment as each has its advantages and disadvantages. The coolsculpting would require many treatments and may cost more than liposuction. Liposuction would be more immediate but can have complications. I would recommend liposuction especially if you want some fat grafting.

Is cool sculpting or regular liposuction better

Everyone has a different goal and tolerances of what they want to achieve with body contouring. If you are going to do CS on multiple body areas, multiple times then the cost of CS and liposuction are about the same. Liposuction will definitively give you the most complete result in one treatment. So if you want to be completely effective and efficient, lipo may be the best choice. If you want to minimize downtime, incisions and discomfort at the price of completeness, then CS may be the best choice. good luck

Robert Graper, MD
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

CoolSculpting vs Liposuction

Hi Lisa. CoolSculpting and Liposuction can both be very effective in fat reduction when performed by experienced physicians. Which would be better for you really comes down to your goals and how aggressive you are willing to be. You are correct that you will require multiple treatments of CoolSculpting to achieve the optimal results, but this may still end up being more cost effective than doing Liposuction on all those areas. Liposuction is also a surgical procedure, and comes with the risks of any surgical procedure: downtime, scars, fluid build up, etc. If you are willing to accept those risks then it may be the option for you. I think the best thing to do is to get an in-person consultation. During a consultation your goals can be discussed in detail with your provider to determine which option would be best for you. Hope this helps!

Michael A. Zadeh, MD, FACS
Sherman Oaks General 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.