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CoolSculpting: Surgical vs Nonsurgical Liposuction, Know the Differences

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Shedding fat via exercise is difficult enough – compounded by the fact that targeting specific stubborn zones is not possible, it becomes intensely frustrating.

by Bharat Kothakota, MD MPH

Shedding fat via exercise is difficult enough - compounded by the fact that targeting specific stubborn zones is not possible, it becomes intensely frustrating.

When you have done the best you can with diet and exercise, and still find yourself unhappy with how you look and feel, there are other options available to you. Two specific options - one surgical and one not - are highly effective in targeting stubborn fat in specific zones.

Liposuction is a surgical procedure and allows you to target localized areas of fat. The results are permanent. The same is true for CoolSculpting, except it is a nonsurgical procedure.

The differences between CoolSculpting and Liposuction are considerable.

  • CoolSculpting is noninvasive and the side effects are minor and don't last as long, whereas Liposuction is invasive, it includes the use of anesthesia and side effects can be greater.
  • Recovery time is shorter with CoolSculpting.
  • CoolSculpting is done as an outpatient procedure. Each session takes about an hour. Multiple sessions are often needed. Liposuction is often outpatient surgery, it typically takes 1 to 2 hours, and you usually only need one session.
  • You'll begin to see results from CoolSculpting after a few weeks. Full results from liposuction may not be noticeable for a few months.
  • CoolSculpting is typically starts between $2,000 - $4,000. Please note prices vary based on the size of the zone you are treating and your geographic location.
  • CoolSculpting eliminates up to 25% of the fat cells in any zone that is treated. With Lipo, you may be able to remove up to 5 litters, or about 11 pounds.
  • Both procedures will permanently destroy fat cells in the treated areas, please be aware you can still develop fat in other areas of your body.

If you are looking to have fat removed surgically and then want to do some contouring to even out any lumps and bumps, Liposuction and CoolSculpting will make a great one-two punch.

You should wait about six months after Lipo, to ensure you are fully healed, before you undergo CoolSculpting.

The best way to determine the action plan that will get you the outcome you are looking for is to have a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon that offers the technology at their facility. Be sure to share your medical history, be specific about your desired outcomes. Your doctor can only help you reach your goals if you work together to determine what is realistic and what is needed to accomplish it.

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