CoolSculpting® vs. Liposuction—Which Is Right for Me?

Woman in white loungewear resting on a bed

Most people have heard of liposuction, a surgical option for fat removal. However, CoolSculpting®—the new kid on the block—has been gaining popularity as an effective body contouring option as well. So, how do you decide which path to take? I offer both liposuction and CoolSculpting here at my plastic surgery center in Idaho Falls and Jackson Hole. I believe it is my duty to educate my patients and help guide them toward a treatment plan that fits their specific needs.

CoolSculpting Overview

CoolSculpting is a nonsurgical, noninvasive treatment. On top of that, it requires no anesthetic, incisions, or needles. Instead, CoolSculpting uses a patented fat freezing process to target and eliminate unwanted fat cells without harming the surrounding tissues. A treatment session takes about an hour, and most patients describe the procedure as being very comfortable. In fact, patients typically check emails, read a magazine, or nap during their appointments. Find out more about what to expect before, during, and after CoolSculpting in our related blog post.

  • Candidates: CoolSculpting works best for patients who have small, stubborn pockets of fat around their midsection, thighs, or love handles. CoolSculpting is not a replacement for good diet and exercise. Instead, it is meant to give your already healthy lifestyle that extra push it needs to smooth out any of your most persistent bumps and bulges.
  • Recovery: CoolSculpting requires no downtime. Yes, you heard that right—you can return to your normal daily routine immediately after your appointment. Some patients experience slight redness or swelling, but this normally resolves on its own. In fact, many patients schedule their treatments during their lunch breaks and return to work right after their treatment is done.
  • Results: CoolSculpting results are not immediate, but most patients begin to see changes after a few weeks. After about 2 to 4 months, CoolSculpting can reduce up to 25% of fat cells in a treated area. Some patients opt for multiple treatments per area to achieve more noticeable results. Take a look at my patients’ CoolSculpting before-and-after photos to see their results.

Liposuction Overview

Liposuction is a surgical procedure that takes about 2 hours and is typically performed using general anesthesia, depending on the number of areas treated. The surgeon inserts a small suction tube called a cannula through tiny incisions to break up and suction away fat. The incisions are then closed, and compression garments are applied. Additionally, liposuction can be combined with other body contouring options such as a tummy tuck to achieve optimal results. The Aesthetic Society offers additional information about liposuction on its site.

  • Candidates: Liposuction patients should be close to their goal weight and have good skin elasticity. Liposuction can treat pinchable fat on areas like the back, midsection, arms, neck, and thighs.
  • Recovery: Most patients can return to work in less than a week, depending on the extensiveness of the procedure. Soreness and discomfort are usually manageable with prescribed medicine. It is important to follow post-op instructions carefully for a speedy recovery.
  • Results: Patients often are able to see a reduction in treated areas almost immediately after surgery. However, it can take several months for the results to develop fully. Liposuction can typically achieve more dramatic results than non-surgical options.

If you want to discuss your options for reducing unwanted fat with liposuction or CoolSculpting, and you’re in the Idaho Falls; Pocatello, Idaho; or Jackson Hole areas, request a consultation online or call our office at (208) 881-5351.

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