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 15

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 (retired)
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Coolsculpting vs liposuction


Thank you for your question. CoolSculpting is a non-invasive way to permanently reduce fat cells. It will remove 25-30% of the fat cells in the treated areas, and then it will take 3-4 months to see the full results. You will have some swelling and mild discomfort after the treatments, and possibly some numbness. Lipo may allow you to see a greater reduction of fat, depending on the area and what needs to be done. It will have a small amount of downtime, and the possibility of scaring. However you will see the results a little quicker than with CoolSculpting. It would be best to consult with a local physician to determine which treatment would be best suited for you. Good luck!

Janet Allenby, DO
Delray Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

The Best Option Will Depend On Your Desired Results

Both methods have been proven to be safe and effective in contouring the “love handles.” The optimal results will be based both on how much fullness there is in the areas and your unique goals. Coolsculpting is very effective for small to moderate depositions of fat and has the advantage of not requiring surgery or time off work/downtime. Multiple treatments may be required to achieve the results you are hoping for. Liposuction is highly effective at reducing unwanted fat deposits of any size in the lower trunk but can be more expensive, can be assocaied with more discomfort and is more invasive. It is best to see a plastic surgeon who offers both modalities, this will ensure that you are offered the choice that is most appropriate for your particular situation. It is important for you to know you have options, your satisfaction with the procedure will depend on whether you receive the treatment that is best for you. Good luck!

Kahlil Andrews, MD
Cedar Rapids Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

CoolSculpting or Liposuction

CoolSculpting has FDA approval for fat reduction since 2010. CoolSculpting freezes the fat cells. Fat cells are more susceptible to damage by freezing than the other cells, (nerve, vessel, bone, etc.), around them. The fat cells die via a process called apoptosis, (programmed cell death). The number of fat cells are therefore reduced. This happens over a period of time, so the body is not overwhelmed with dead fat cells. The body will take these cells up, process them and excrete them, just as any other cell. The remnants are filtered through the liver, and then excreted eventually via stool.  We have had good experience with the skin snapping back.  Each individual is different.  We usually see about a 25% reduction with CoolSculpting.  Liposuction gives more dramatic results, but is more invasive.  See an experienced CoolSculpting practice, they will determine if you are a candidate.  Moreover, would also consider seeing a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, who can give advice on both CoolSculpting and Liposuction.


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


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.

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

CoolSculpting vs. Liposuction: It Is Up to You

The decision to have CoolSculpting or liposuction usually depends on several factors. Liposuction removes more fat than CoolSculpting, but it is an invasive procedure that requires some time off to recover. CoolSculpting usually reduces fat by about 20 to 25% in a single treatment, and because it is noninvasive, it does not require any downtime. You can immediately return to work or other daily activities. Another difference is how fast you want to see results. CoolSculpting results emerge gradually as fat cells die and are removed from the body. It can take about 4 months to see the final results. Liposuction produces visible results once the swelling and bruising resolve within a couple of weeks. Therefore, the decision is really up to you depending on your priorities. There is no single "better" choice. Consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to fully explore the pros and cons of each procedure to help you reach a final decision.

Daryl K. Hoffman, MD
San Jose Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Both Effective, But No Downtime With CoolSculpting

This is a question I get often, as the flanks or "love handles" are an area of concern for many patients. Both procedures will lead to slimmer flanks, but at different rates. CoolSculpting will probably require multiple treatment sessions to achieve the desired result, while liposuction will be able to achieve your desired contour all at once (after swelling subsides). That said, CoolSculpting has no downtime, allowing you to go about your day as normal afterward. Liposuction, on the other hand, will involve at least a few weeks of recovery time, with the normal range of discomfort associated with surgical procedures. CoolSculpting is also likely to be a more affordable option, even factoring in the need for multiple sessions. I hope this is helpful; good luck with your decision!

Richard Chaffoo, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

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.

Frank Lista, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 111 reviews

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 Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 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.