It’s become a battle royale: Liposuction vs. Coolsculpting. Which one should you choose? Hopefully, you appreciate the significance of that choice, because that choice hasn’t always been around. In fact, for a long time, if patients wanted a body contouring solution, liposuction was the only game out there.
But patients do indeed have a number of non surgical solutions for body contouring. One of the most popular such solutions is called Coolsculpting, and it’s probably the primary non surgical competitor to liposuction surgery. This is partly because Coolsculpting is capable of getting noticeable results and partly because there’s usually no downtime required. And that’s all because Coolsculpting uses extreme cold to eliminate fat.
In other words, you get to get your results and you get to go about your day afterwards. For most patients, that’s the ideal situation. However, Coolsculpting might not work for everyone, and the results will never be as bold and as powerful as liposuction can provide. That’s why many patients struggle with choosing between the two.
The more information you have, the easier it will be to make the right choice for your body.
Am I a Good Candidate for Coolsculpting Procedures?
Coolsculpting targets fat. So the first criteria that any potential Coolsculpting patient must meet is having excess fat. Sometimes that isn’t as obvious as it seems. For some people, excess skin can feel (and look) a lot like excess fat, to the point where it takes a trained eye to tell the difference. To be a good candidate for Coolsculpting, you must have some excess fat that needs elimination.
Typically, good candidates for Coolsculpting tend to have at least some of the following characteristics:
- Stubborn areas of excess fat
- Distinct bulges of fat (most often around the belly)
- Fat is “pinchable”
- Areas of fat are located on areas of the body that are able to be treated
- Realistic expectations regarding what Coolsculpting can achieve
- Liposuction is either not a good fit for the desired results or the candidate wishes to avoid surgery
- Patient is not pregnant or nursing
- Patient does not have chronic pain or pain issues
- Patient does not have unhealthy skin or significant skin laxity issues
The best way to find out whether you’re a good candidate for Coolsculpting is to schedule an appointment with a cosmetic surgeon who offers the procedure. Coolsculpting surgeons will be able to determine whether this procedure will work in your particular situation.
How Does Coolsculpting Work?
One of the funny things about Coolsculpting is that it sounds too good to be true: it’s a procedure that gets rid of fat, but which produces (in most cases) no real downtime. You’re able to return to work right after. And what’s even better is that there’s no surgery required—no scalpels! So how does Coolsculpting work? In some ways, it’s right in the name.
Coolsculpting works because skin cells and fat cells have very different cold tolerances. Your skin is pretty tough when it comes to the cold. That makes sense seeing as how your skin is, generally, the closest to that cold. Your fat cells, on the other hand, have a fairly low threshold for cold.
So what Coolsculpting does is actually quite clever. The procedure generally proceeds along these lines:
- During a consultation with the patient, cosmetic surgeons will determine the area to be targeted. In general, no “preparation” needs to be done to the treated area (in other words, you don’t need to shave). However, the size of the area treated could influence the overall cost of your Coolsculpting or how many sessions it will take to achieved desired final results.
- A cosmetic surgeon or a highly trained technician will use the Coolsculpting handpiece to treat the targeted area. This handpiece does two things. First, it produces a certain amount of suction, pulling not only at your skin but at the fat beneath it. This allows the deepest penetration of cold possible. And that’s what comes next!
- The administration of cold does two things: It numbs the skin (diminishing the discomfort from the suction) and destroying the fat cells. When the fat is exposed to extreme cold, the cell wall becomes brittle and breaks down. This causes the fat to be reabsorbed into your body, with the end result being the slimming of the targeted area.
- Recovery: Patients are typically advised to take it easy for the next few days, though most are able to return to work immediately. There may be some bruising after a Coolsculpting procedure, but that bruising should subside within a few days after the procedure.
- Results: It may anywhere from several weeks to a couple of months to see your optimal results. The fat takes time to break down, and it may take several sessions to get your desired final results.
Comparing Liposuction vs. Coolsculpting
When it comes right down to it, liposuction vs. Coolsculpting isn’t really a fair comparison. The two procedures are just way too different. But let’s put it this way: Coolsculpting is a great way to generate subtle or incremental body contouring results. And the nice thing about Coolsculpting is that it can be used, pretty much, all over the body.
Liposuction is really reserved for generating bigger and bolder effects. Liposuction can get rid of a significant amount of fat, and it can contouring your body so that the results look incredibly natural. With liposuction, there’s a longer recovery period and significantly more discomfort involved—but the results are much bigger and more noticeable.
Ultimately, the liposuction vs. Coolsculpting battle royale will be determined by what you actually want out of the procedure. If you want subtle improvements in time for beach season, then Coolsculpting may be the way to go. If you want to go big (metaphorically), then liposuction will be your best possible choice. Much will depend, of course, on your individual body and the composition of fat within that body.
The best way to find out is to schedule a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon and get all of your questions answered in person—by someone who can actually see your body and determine which procedure will be better for you: liposuction vs. Coolsculpting.