One of the most perplexing aspects along the CoolSculpting journey is around CoolSculpting vs. liposuction. When thinking about body contouring, the real question for most people is how to choose between surgical and nonsurgical options. CoolSculpting is the safest and best choice when it comes to nonsurgical options, but how do you know if CoolSculpting vs. Liposuction would be better for you?
The age old question: CoolSculpting vs. Liposuction?
Traditional liposuction for body contouring – The American Society of Plastic Surgeons says that liposuction aka “lipo” can “slim and reshape specific areas of the body by removing excess fat deposits and [improve] your body contours and proportions.” Liposuction can be combined with other surgical procedures, and for Dr. Dauwe, that’s most common a tummy tuck and/or breast surgery. (You can read up on lipoplasty according to ASPS here.
Dr. Dauwe believes that fat removal surgery is a great option for those who are at their ideal weight but have troublesome areas that are tough to get rid of. Sound familiar? That’s basically the same description as CoolSculpting, right? Yep.
Surgical Technique – Expect to be put to sleep (general anesthesia), then a tiny incision being made so a cannula can be inserted (it’s a tool that makes it easier to work loose the fat that’s being sucked out). Surgical time will depend largely on the areas that are being targeted, along with the skill of your surgeon. Typical surgery time is between 1-3 hours for liposuction alone. Then, you’ll move to a recovery room with a post-operative nurse who will take care of you until you’re sent home.
Recovery and Downtime – Expect some serious downtime after liposuction. To be honest, you’ll feel completely wiped for several weeks. We’ve had friends who have had liposuction and love their results but are still hesitant to recommend jumping all in, unless you could easily take a month off. You’ll have bruising and swelling for a couple of weeks, you’ll need to be seen to remove stitches after a week. It’ll take about 6 months for your new body to totally settle in after surgery and your “shape” to be complete.
Cost – Cost varies based on technique and the areas being treated, much like CoolSculpting. And just like CoolSculpting, you’ll need to meet with our team at a consultation to create a personal treatment plan that meets your goals and needs. While nonsurgical options are great for mild to moderate fat pockets, surgical options are ideal for people seeking a more dramatic transformation, and can go under the knife (ahem, did we mention 3 weeks of downtime?)
CoolSculpting – CoolSculpting is the treatment most doctors use for non-surgical fat reduction, and it’s owned by the gold-standard business in the beauty world, Allergan. Allergan is the clear market leader in the aesthetics industry, owning products like Botox and CoolSculpting.
CoolSculpting cools and kills about 20-25 % of the fat that’s treated, so your results are more subtle. Results take anywhere between 3 and 4 months to fully develop, but you can continue freezing fat until your final goal is achieved. CoolSculpting vs. Liposuction is ideal for people who are at or near their ideal weight but have stubborn, localized fat they’d like gone. Our best description? CoolSculpting is about improvement and subtle changes to help take you further. You’ll do the hard work, too.
Nonsurgical technique – CoolSculpting uses either suction or surface cooling plates to selectively target and kill subcutaneous fatty deposits. Treatment times last as little as 35-minutes, but multiple applications could be needed to achieve full coverage of the body area. Most patients spend somewhere between 1-3 hours to treat 1 area of the body at Element Body Lab.
Recovery and Downtime – The suction can feel intense, but not unbearable. The cold is hyper-focused and annoying, but the sensation is temporary because cold is a natural anesthetic and you go numb after 5-7 minutes. The rest of the treatment is comfortable, until the handpiece is removed. Once the treatment applicator is removed, there’s a sensation of the warm room hitting the frozen fat (imagine cold foot in a hot bath) that feels intense, amidst a technician massaging the tissue to break up the tissue. Pain is subjective, and we’re not here to say that it’s a cake walk, but you’re uncomfortable for about 5 minutes with no pain meds. You’re fine. You’ll live. It’ll feel intense like we’re rubbing right on top of a bruise, but it’ll pass.
Cost – CoolSculpting can vary in cost based on your treatment plan. Treatment plans are customized to your body and your goals, exactly like surgical quotes. We know, it’s frustrating to be tossed around and not know what to expect with price. That’s why we make it easy – we charge $600 per “cycle”, or every time we place a CoolSculpting paddle on your body. How many of those applications we will need depends on your body. It’s impossible to know without a physical exam. Really. But you can find examples of popular CoolSculpting treatment packages and prices on our website.
So how do you choose? …
Really, it depends upon your goals, your anatomy, and your expectations. The best way to understand what the best option for you will be is to have a deep understanding of the procedures themselves. Again, CoolSculpting kills between 20-25% of the fat with each treatment, whereas liposuction may be a better option for larger fatty deposits. Additionally, if you’ve got loose skin, liposuction can be paired with a lift surgery (like a tummy tuck, thighplasty, or arm lift) to give you the best results. CoolSculpting does have an FDA-clearance for improvement in skin laxity in the submental area (under the chin), but it’s primary aim is at fat-reduction, so don’t bet your bank on it.
There are obvious selling points around the no-downtime option, CoolSculpting. There are great reasons to opt for surgery too! For example, if your expectations can’t be met with CoolSculpting, or if you’re going under the knife anyways, why not choose lipo? If you’re looking for improvement and can’t take the time off work, why not choose CoolSculpting? Whatever you do, make sure you meet with some qualified and experienced people – we recommend a plastic surgeon with training and understanding in CoolSculpting, like Dr. Dauwe (#shamelessplug).
We’re here to offer honest, no-pressure, and no-judgement conversations to the customers in Dallas looking for body contouring. We know it can be confusing, and we’re here to help. We’ve had those questions ourselves. We’ve been in your shoes, wanting answers. It’s the foundation of why we do what we do.
Give us a call to learn more about the differences between CoolSculpting and Liposuction. We’re here to guide the decision in body contouring. Contact us at 214-897-3006 to schedule your complimentary consultation with the Dallas CoolSculpting Experts.
Element Body Lab