CoolSculpting vs liposuction

CoolSculpting vs Liposuction: Differences, Cost, Results and More

When researching the best cosmetic dermatology methods to remove stubborn fat, you’re bombarded with information comparing CoolSculpting vs liposuction. It can be a bit overwhelming, so let’s hit the highlights.

CoolSculpting vs Liposuction: What Are the Differences in the Procedures?

While both CoolSculpting and liposuction are fat reduction procedures, there are more differences than similarities. We’ll discuss both, but to start off, we’ll discuss the differences in CoolSculpting vs liposuction. The main difference between CoolSculpting and liposuction is that CoolSculpting is a non-invasive procedure, while liposuction is a surgical procedure.


CoolSculpting is a non-invasive procedure that contours the body by freezing stubborn fat. It is the only FDA-approved, non-surgical treatment for fat-reduction. Controlled cooling is used to eliminate up to 25% of the fat that just refuses to melt away using diet and exercise with each CoolSculpting treatment. CoolSculpting requires no anesthesia and there is little to no down time after a procedure. Although CoolSculpting does help reduce stubborn fat, it is not a weight loss procedure. It helps to remove stubborn fat from those areas that fat just seems to cling to – the abdomen, back, inner thighs, double chin, and upper arms.

So, how does CoolSculpting work? CoolSculpting targets fat cells underneath the skin using precisely controlled cooling. During the procedure, a gel pad and applicator are laid on the area to be treated.  A vacuum in the applicator will then suck the skin up until it touches the pad. This will last for about 30-40 minutes. During this time, the targeted fat cells become frozen and then die. Your body then naturally eliminates these dead cells, which produces a more sculpted you.


Unlike CoolSculpting, liposuction is a surgical procedure. A suction technique is used to remove fat from targeted areas. These areas are similar to those treated by CoolSculpting – the abdomen, thighs, arms, and neck. However, liposuction can be used to remove fat from more areas than CoolSculpting, including the knees and the face.

What should you expect from a liposuction procedure? Before surgery, the surgeon may mark the areas to be targeted during the procedure. There are different techniques used during liposuction, and the technique chosen will depend on your treatment goals, the area to be treated, and whether you’ve had liposuction in the past. The four liposuction techniques are tumescent liposuction, ultrasound-assisted liposuction, laser-assisted liposuction, and power-assisted liposuction.

Some liposuction procedures may require local or general anesthesia. Following the procedure, you’ll typically spend a few hours in recovery at the treatment center. Some pain and swelling is to be expected following liposuction. You may return to work after a few days but will need to recover for a few weeks before resuming normal activities such as exercising. During liposuction recovery, your doctor may also recommend wearing compression clothing to aid in healing.

Is Liposuction Better Than CoolSculpting or Vice Versa?

Determining whether liposuction is better than CoolSculpting will rely on your treatment goals, your budget, and your health. When comparing CoolSculpting vs liposuction you’ll learn that both options provide long lasting fat reduction as long as you are able to maintain your current weight. However, the process of both procedures is vastly different.

Both procedures do not boast immediate results. With CoolSculpting, results are gradual as your body processes and sheds the dead fat cells. With liposuction, there is often swelling immediately following the procedure. This swelling can take a few weeks to go down. As you can see, liposuction puts you out of commission for a longer period of time.

When comparing CoolSculpting vs liposuction, you’ll also want to consider possible side effects. Since CoolSculpting is a noninvasive procedure, there are minimal risks involved. Common side effects include slight bruising or tenderness following a CoolSculpting procedure. Liposuction is an invasive procedure, and, as with any surgery, there are more risks associated with liposuction. Some risks associated with liposuction include fluid accumulation, numbness, infection, as well as fat embolism.

Are There Any Downsides to CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting is best suited for removing small amounts of fat. While liposuction can remove up to 8 liters of body fat, CoolSculpting can eliminate up to 25% of fat cells in the treated area with each treatment. While you typically only need one liposuction procedure, it may take a few sessions of CoolSculpting to achieve desired results. People who have cold-induced conditions should not have CoolSculpting done, and areas with varicose veins, dermatitis, or open sores cannot be treated with CoolSculpting.

Does CoolSculpting Work on Belly Fat?

Yes, CoolSculpting works on belly fat. The belly is notorious for being the most stubborn area to hang on to fat cells, no matter how hard you work out or how clean your diet may be. If that sounds like your situation, then that makes you an ideal candidate for CoolSculpting. CoolSculpting was designed to knock out those stubborn areas of fat, especially belly fat. It also helps eliminate stubborn fat in the abdomen, back, inner thighs, double chin, and upper arms.

The Cost of CoolSculpting vs Liposuction

Of course, when you’re comparing CoolSculpting vs liposuction, the subject of cost is going to come up. The cost of CoolSculpting can range from $2,000-$5,000. The final fee for CoolSculpting will be based on your individualized treatment plan. This will be determined following a consultation with your dermatologist to discuss your treatment goals and the number of treatments required. The cost of CoolSculpting will increase as you add additional areas to be treated. Most areas treated by CoolSculpting will require two CoolSculpting sessions spaced eight weeks apart.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons found that in 2020, the average cost of liposuction was $3,637. However, this average price does not include the cost of anesthesia or operating room facilities. Your plastic surgeon will determine the final fee for liposuction, and this will be based on their experience and the office location.

CoolSculpting at Vujevich Dermatology Associates

We provide Coolsculpting here at Vujevich Dermatology Associates. If you’re still debating CoolSculpting vs liposuction for fat reduction and want to learn more about Coolsculpting specifically, schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained and board-certified dermatologists by filling out our form below. You can reach our team at 412-429-2570 or visit our contact page to see all of our locations. You can also follow us on Facebook to see what’s new in the world of dermatology.

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