CoolSculpting vs Liposuction: Which Choice Is Right for You?

You've done it all. Aerial yoga, detoxes, cleanses, extreme diets and yet you are still fighting the battle of the bulge with pockets of fat that refuse to budge.  Don’t throw down the gauntlet just yet. It's time to look at alternative ways to achieve the sleek body you want and believe us, you can.

Two options that are generating a lot of buzz when it comes to fat reduction are CoolSculpting and Liposuction. Our body experts in the Bay Area and Washington State, believe that each has a place in aesthetic treatment, and want to help you better understand the differences before booking a treatment. Let's begin with the overarching question: What is the cause of diet and exercise-resistant fat?

Not all fat is created equal

What most of us don’t know is that there are different types of body fat. There are essential fats - fats that are found in our hearts and bone marrow that are essential for our bodies to function - and there are also storage fats.

Storage fat is subcutaneous fat, or fat that is found under the skin. This fat is difficult to ditch because your body may be hanging on to this excess fat just in case it needs it.  Some reasons your body may need additional fat include childbirth, emergencies or just simply for energy. It is this subcutaneous fat that seems to take up permanent residence in our belly, abdomen, thighs, back, flanks, arms and underneath the chin and is so difficult to address.  Enter liposuction and CoolSculpting.

What is CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting is the only FDA-approved non-invasive fat reduction treatment that kills fat cells by freezing them away. The procedure only attacks fat cells and the frozen cells are naturally eliminated through the body. With no surgery, no downtime, and minimal discomfort, it’s no wonder CoolSculpting is taking the Bay Area and Washington State by a storm.

CoolSculpting addresses several problematic areas where fat is toughest to eliminate:

  • Abdomen
  • Love handles
  • Upper arms
  • Chin
  • Inner thighs
  • Outer thighs
  • Backside
  • Banana roll

What is liposuction?

Liposuction is an outpatient procedure generally performed by a plastic surgeon.  It requires anesthesia and longer recovery time to be effective. Large areas of the body requiring greater correction are typically addressed through liposuction. The surgeon inserts a cannula (a thin tube) the size of a knitting needle into the affected area. The fat is sucked out and the fibrous tissue is left behind. Laser-assisted liposuction may be used instead of or in conjunction with the cannula.

Recovery takes up to a week and there is likely to be bruising that will eventually fade. A compression type of garment must be worn to provide support to the tissue. You can return to a light exercise routine until the bruising disappears, usually within one to two weeks and then build up to your pre-surgical levels.  In the case of a tummy tuck, liposuction may also be used to drain off fat but the muscle will be tightened.

Lipo removes the fat but does not address the underlying muscle. If you gain weight, the removed fat will not return - rather the fat cells that remain will expand.

CoolSculpting vs Lipo

CoolSculpting is an ideal treatment for those looking to reduce body fat with no surgery and no downtime. But, it works best on targeted areas of pinchable fat, such as love handles, rather than larger, more substantial areas of fat that may be better suited to liposuction. SkinSpirit Body Services Manager Mercedes Tracy has a quick acronym she refers to as “STEPS” to help guide clients who are looking at CoolSculpting vs Lipo:

The Shape of the area:  Pinchable bulges do great with CoolSculpting, such as muffin tops and banana rolls, but larger areas of body fat, such as the entire thigh or the entire stomach area, may resolve better with Liposuction.

Time to see results:  Result times are similar, around two-three months after treatment.

Expectations: Pinchable areas of fat can be significantly reduced with CoolSculpting, while larger areas will see more significant results with Liposuction.

Pain/downtime: Depending on the extent of your Liposuction, you'll have swelling, possible discomfort, and limited activities for a short time. CoolSculpting, on the other hand, is a non-invasive treatment, requiring no downtime and minimal discomfort. Additionally, there is no anesthesia required with CoolSculpting.

Size: CoolSculpting is very effective for those looking to contour one or two areas, whereas Liposuction can provide more value when wanting substantial slimming in several areas of the body.

Here is a quick comparison between liposuction and CoolSculpting:

LiposuctionCoolSculptingSurgery requiredYesNoRecovery timeYesNoBody PartsBelly, thighs, buttocks, arms, chinAbdomen, Love handles, Upper arms, Chin, Inner thighs, Outer thighs, Backside, Banana rollPrice$2,500 - $7,000$2,000 - $4,000/td>AnesthesiaYesNoSwellingYesNoTightens musclesNoNoRepeat treatmentNoNo


Schedule a Complimentary CoolSculpting Consultation at SkinSpirit

When diet and exercise are not enough, CoolSculpting may be the answer you are looking for.  Banish that muffin top and trim those thighs for a great silhouette. We invite you to set up a personalized, complimentary consultation at one of our locations in Washington or California, so you can see how easy it is to get the body you want. Call us at (855) 383-7546 or click here to schedule your appointment online.

You May Also Be Interested In:


In the press

VogueWomen's HealthELLEstyleThe New York TimesUSA Today