When people search for body contouring in targeted areas, CoolSculpting® Elite and liposuction are usually the first treatments that come to mind. Before you decide which is the right solution for you, it’s essential to know the differences between the two to achieve your desired result of reducing fat in targeted areas.
What Is CoolSculpting Elite?
CoolSculpting® Elite is a treatment for fat removal that became popular in the 2010s. It is cleared to eliminate stubborn fat under the jawline, under the chin, the upper arms, back fat, bra fat, the flank area (love handles), the abdomen, thighs, and under the buttocks (banana roll).
The treatment utilizes non-invasive technology known as cryolipolysis (or fat freezing) to eliminate fat cells without any incisions. During a CoolSculpting Elite treatment, a gel pad is placed on the area to be treated. A vacuum in the applicator will then deliver controlled cooling to the skin’s surface to address excess fat. The body then naturally eliminates the frozen, dead fat cells to reveal a more contoured physique within days and weeks after treatment.
What Is Liposuction?
Liposuction is an invasive surgical procedure that involves cutting and stitching and can be performed almost anywhere on the body to reduce fat permanently. A Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon completes it in an outpatient surgery center or hospital where local or general anesthesia is used.
During a treatment, a small incision is made with a scalpel around the treated areas. The surgeon then uses a long, narrow cannula to loosen fat cells. A vacuum attached to the cannula sucks the dislodged fat cells out of your body.
Main Differences | CoolSculpting Elite vs Liposuction
|Is it invasive?||Permanently removes fat?||Recovery time||Risk of scarring?||Requires anesthesia?|
How Long Does Each Procedure Take?
Each CoolSculpting Elite session takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour. Some people only receive one treatment, but your Medical Aesthetician may recommend having a few sessions spread over several weeks to achieve your desired results. Liposuction, on the other hand, takes about 3 to 4 hours, depending on the size of the treated area.
Does Either Procedure Hurt?
CoolSculpting Elite should cause minimal pain. Most patients describe a mild tugging, aching, or stinging feeling. However, these sensations generally subside as the area becomes numb. After the treatment, your Medical Aesthetician will massage the treated area to help break up frozen tissue. Some people find this massage causes a small amount of pain.
You’ll receive anesthesia when undergoing liposuction, so you shouldn’t feel pain during the surgery. You might have moderate pain for about three days after the procedure. Your doctor will give you pain medications to help reduce your discomfort. Soreness around the treated area should completely disappear about four weeks after the procedure.
What Is the Recovery Time?
After a CoolSculpting Elite treatment, there is little to no downtime, which means you can resume your daily routine immediately after your treatment. Patients will occasionally experience redness, minor bruising, tingling, numbness, or discomfort in the treated area. These side effects can be expected to resolve quickly.
With liposuction, there is recovery time — requiring time off work, wearing compression garments, and temporarily discontinuing your daily exercise or other physical activities. It will take approximately one to three months to see the full results after surgery.
Are There Risks of Scarring?
Coolsculpting Elite treatments are facilitated with external applicators that target and freeze excess fat, meaning that the skin’s surface always remains intact. Liposuction, however, is a surgical procedure that involves putting the patient under local or general anesthesia while a surgeon physically facilitates a fat removal process. As such, liposuction patients risk permanent scarring, such as dimpling or scar tissue forming under the skin.
When Will I See Results?
CoolSculpting® triggers the body to flush fat cells naturally through the lymphatic system. CoolSculpting treatments can require multiple, spaced-out treatments in the same area for optimal results. Patients can start to notice reduction within four weeks and obtain optimal results after four months of regular treatment.
As liposuction physically removes fat directly from the body, patients generally only require one procedure to achieve expected CoolSculpting® results.
How Much Does CoolSculpting Elite & Liposuction Cost?
The cost of CoolSculpting Elite varies based on how many body parts you choose to have treated in order to reach your body contouring goals. It can cost between $2,000 and $4,000. Since liposuction is a surgical procedure, it can be slightly more expensive than CoolSculpting Elite. The average cost for a liposuction procedure was $3,637 in 2020.
Who Is a Good Candidate?
The ideal candidate for CoolSculpting Elite is in good physical health, has minimal skin laxity, and exhibits localized fat deposits. Patients considering this treatment should expect mild to moderate improvement and understand it is not designed for weight loss. Liposuction is best suited for patients with minimal skin laxity, as liposuction intervention can exacerbate the appearance of loose skin in the targeted treatment area.
Making Your Final Decision
There are endless solutions to choose from when it comes to achieving your goal, especially with new technology emerging every day. As always, choosing the right treatment should be done after extensive research & consulting with professionals who have been trained on the topic.
It’s important to mention that neither CoolSculpting® nor Liposuction should be facilitated as a means of weight loss. For either treatment, it is recommended that patients get as close as they can to their goals by means of healthy eating & exercise. Body contouring should only be considered when looking to “fine-tune” areas resistant to all other solutions. Otherwise, weight loss programs like those at Red Mountain should be considered.