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 14

CoolSculpting vs. Liposuction

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CoolSculpting: It is important to have a face-to-face consultation with the provider in order to determine if you would be a candidate for CoolSculpting and how many treatments you may need. It is important to keep in mind that CoolSculpting is not a weight loss method and in no way replaces diet and exercise. It also is not meant to help tighten loose skin. CoolSculpting only targets the subcutaneous fat under the skin, not the internal visceral fat.
During the consultation, the health care provider will visually assess the fat in order to determine if the person needs debulking or sculpting. The physician will physically assess the orientation of the fat by pinching and feeling it. There is a 20-25% fat reduction in the treated areas. Patients are usually brought back at the 30 days mark to assess their results. At the point, the patient and physician can communicate and determine if additional treatment might be needed for optimum result.

Liposuction: If you're a healthy person at a stable body weight, you can consider liposuction in Portland to help remove localized areas of fat. The procedure can improve the contours and proportions of your body, but it cannot help you achieve substantial weight loss or significantly reduce cellulite.
Liposuction can improve the appearance of many areas of your body. Liposuction cannot treat cellulite. You can choose to have liposuction to improve the contours of your body following weight loss. Liposuction can also treat local fat deposits in areas where your genes cause you to gain fat.
Depending on how much fat will be removed, your liposuction can be performed under IV sedation (i.e. twilight anesthesia), local anesthesia or general anesthesia. You may be in twilight sleep or awake and heavily sedated.
Liposuction begins when the fat is infused with tumescent fluid, a mix of sterile water and electrolytes. The tumescent fluid helps maintain the proper fluid balance when the fat and fluids are removed during surgery. The doctor makes small incisions, through which he will insert the liposuction tube, the cannula. The cannula is then used to remove the unwanted cells. After the proper amount of fat is removed from all the areas being treated, these small incisions will be closed.
After your liposuction procedure, you will be sent home to rest and recover. You will be tired from the anesthesia. You will need to care for the small incisions and wear a compression garment for about 2-4 weeks. These compression garments help the skin to contract and minimize the risk of blood clots. You may see swelling or bruising in the area following liposuction, but these are temporary side effects.
Most people will be able to return to work after 3-4 days, but this depends on the amount of fat you had removed. You should see initial results in two weeks and the final results in 3-4 months. Liposuction does not remove all the fat cells in the treated area. It would still be possible to gain weight in an area following liposuction. The results of liposuction are long-lasting if you keep your weight stable.

CoolSculpting and Liposuction are both great treatments. However, it is up to you what kind of result you are looking for, and whether or not the downtime will be an issue for you.

CoolSculpting or Liposuction for abdomen, flanks, and arms.

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Thank you for the question. They are two different modalities.  CoolSculpting can get a 25% reduction.  We have found it to be very effective for the love handles, and other areas. We have found that treating the area twice usually improves the fat cell kill significantly.  Other physicians I have spoken to have found similar findings.  Liposuction is a surgical modality that is usually more dramatic, with a greater reduction.  Again, the CoolSculpting is non invasive, no surgery, no downtime.  As always, the modality should be appropriate to the individual patient.  Best to see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, who can evaluate for both modalities.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews


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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

Sheila S. Nazarian, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews


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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.

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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 36 reviews

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

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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

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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

Coolsculpting Versus Liposuction

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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
4.8 out of 5 stars 207 reviews

Coolsculpting vs liposuction for abdomen and love handles

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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

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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.

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.