Which is better, CoolSculpting or Liposuction?

It seems that a lot of people are more inclined to choose CoolSculpting to remove some unwanted fat since it is non-invasive, however I have heard that liposuction yields better results. I have some excess fat on my flanks that I would like to address. What is the best procedure to have?

Liopsuction is a much more powerful and guaranteed to give you a predictable result. non-invasive procedures will never be able to achieve a surgical result. That being said cool sculpting is a very good non- invasive fat removal system for patients who are not interested in surgery. We have cool sculpting in our practice and has a very high patient satisfaction. Find a plastic surgeon in your area to discuss the best options for you. Good Luck!

There is no "best" procedure. All depends on your desired results. Liposuction is more predictable, but, ultimately, you need to see a plastic surgeon to discuss your options.

If you want a surgical result then liposuction will be the best option. Non-invasive devices including Sculpsure and Coolsculpting, are effective for the proper patient and good expectations must be set. I offer Sculpsure in my practice and have been happy with the results. As always, you have to pick the right procedure for the right patient. 

While the Coolsculpting can tailor certain areas with multiple treatments, liposuction is more effective at removing the fat at a single setting. The time elapse for the fat destruction with Coolsculpting is efficient but can take upwards of 3 months.CoolSculpting or Liposuction, submitted image.

R. Brannon Claytor has 4 Coolsculpting before & afters:

Coolsculpting before image performed by Dr. R. Brannon ClaytorCoolsculpting after image performed by Dr. R. Brannon ClaytorCoolsculpting before image performed by Dr. R. Brannon ClaytorCoolsculpting after image performed by Dr. R. Brannon ClaytorCoolsculpting before image performed by Dr. R. Brannon ClaytorCoolsculpting after image performed by Dr. R. Brannon ClaytorCoolsculpting before image performed by Dr. R. Brannon ClaytorCoolsculpting after image performed by Dr. R. Brannon Claytor

» View R. Brannon Claytor's full profile

Liposuction is better, hands down. Liposuction allows the surgeon to selectively remove fat from your problem areas in a controlled fashion. See a BCPS for your care.

Despite our best efforts, sometimes stubborn fat clings to certain areas of the body even after a successful weight loss.

Coolsculpting is an FDA-approved non-invasive procedure for body contouring. It is indicated for reducing fat from small areas of the body such as the love handles, submental (under the chin), and the outer thighs.  It employs a vacuum device to reduce the temperature of the skin’s surface, encouraging the fat cells underneath to crystallize and die in a process called cryolipolysis.

Depending on the size of the region the fat is to be removed from, it can take multiple treatments to see improvements -- and the results are not immediately noticeable. Small changes begin to appear after approximately three weeks, but dramatic results can take as long as one to three months post-treatment to become apparent.

Since Coolsculpting is non-surgical, it requires virtually no recovery time after a session. There is little to no discomfort during or after the treatment and patients can return to their normal activities immediately afterwards.

Liposuction, on the other hand, is a surgical procedure employed for fat reduction. It involves making small incisions in the skin overlying the areas with excess fat and inserting a narrow vacuum tube called a cannula into these small wounds. The fat is then removed via suction through the cannula. Since it is an invasive treatment, it must be carried out under local anesthesia or general anesthesia. Additionally, liposuction can be used to remove fat over larger areas, including the abdomen, back, thighs, hips, buttocks, knees, chin, neck, and upper arms.

Unlike Coolsculpting, liposuction requires a recovery time of at least one week before regular activities can resume.  Bruising, swelling, and numbness are common and can take anywhere from a few months to a year following the surgery to completely resolve. For this reason, the final results of the liposuction may not be visible until that time.  However, improvements to body contour can be seen within days post-op.

Both Coolsculpting and liposuction are methods that improve body contour by removing excess fat from targeted areas. The results from Coolsculpting are more subtle than liposuction but require multiple treatments and can take months to appear, whereas liposuction produces dramatic results after one single treatment.

Another benefit of liposuction is the option for autologous fat transfer from one area of the body to another, such as to the lips, breasts, or buttocks. This allows liposuction patients to alter their body contour significantly in more than one area. It can also be performed with other cosmetic surgeries like tummy tucks or breast augmentation.

Whether you choose Coolsculpting or liposuction, be sure that you are treated by a board-certified plastic surgeon. Doctors certified by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) are obligated to operate under the highest ethics and safety standards.

Liposuction absolutely allows for more dramatic results than the nonsurgical fat destruction techniques. I personally prefer sculpsure over coolsculpting but both are non-surgical devices that can kill some fat. Liposuction had much more control to remove it from where you want and there's a limit to how much can be removed in a treatment. The advantages are less recovery or no recovery and less pain or no pain.

Dear DallasBabe; Thanks for the Zwivel posting. Best to understand these non invasive therapies take months to see results and still cost equal amounts due to the fact you will need multiple sessions. So expect also pain, swelling, redness, nerve issues. And finally only 25% obtain final results anticipated after at least 3 months. VS liposuction surgery is quick, fast recovery with result in less than 30 days. So you decide! The God Standard is ALWAYS surgery. RegardsDr B

Hi DallasBabe,

Thanks for your question!  Coolsculpting's benefits are that it does not require anesthesia and can be done in the office and may be more affordable than operative liposuction.  Unfortunately, it typically removes about 25% of the fat that traditional liposuction can and may need to be repeated, thus adding to the cost.

In addition, with traditional liposuction, the surgeon has control so he or she can sculpt the shape of your flanks precisely whereas there is no ability to do that with Coolsculpting.

I recommend you be evaluated by a board certified plastic surgeon that is familiar with both and discuss your concerns with him or her.

Hope that helps!

Dr. Horowitz