CoolSculpting® Elite and liposuction are two of the most popular cosmetic treatments for reducing excess fat. Both treatments have proven successful in fat removal but there are distinct differences between the two. CoolSculpting is a non-surgical procedure designed to freeze stubborn fat cells. In contrast, liposuction is a surgical procedure that suctions fat deposits out of the body. While it can address larger pockets of fat, it is a minimally-invasive procedure that requires local anesthetic and a few days of recovery time.

Non-Surgical Body Contouring With CoolSculpting

CoolSculpting Elite is a non-surgical fat-reduction procedure that utilizes cryolipolysis or controlled cooling to freeze fat cells in the target area without damaging surrounding tissue. It delivers precise temperatures that cause fat cells to crystallize and die. The body eliminates the treated fat cells through natural processes, resulting in a slimmer, more sculpted physique. This treatment is best suited for patients with small areas of stubborn fat that have not responded to diet and exercise. It can be used on areas such as:

  • Under the chin
  • Abdomen
  • Back
  • Thighs
  • Love handles

During the procedure, patients sit or lie down for optimal access to the treatment area. The handheld device creates vacuum-like pressure pulling the skin into the machine for a mild tugging or pinching sensation. Once the tissue is in place, you will feel extreme cold, which will numb the target areas after 5-10 minutes. Patients may use electronic devices or watch TV during the procedure to comfortably pass the time.

Coolsculpting Recovery & Results

Coolsculpting recovery is minimal after the treatment because it uses a non-surgical fat-reduction device. Most patients return to regular activities shortly after treatment. Patients may experience mild side effects after a CoolSculpting treatment that can persist for 1-2 weeks, including:

  • Redness
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness or muscle spasms
  • Numbness
  • Very rarely, an increase in fat can occur by stimulating fat stem cells.
cosmetic laser dermatology coolsculpting before and after san diego ca

After a treatment session, it can take several months for the body to fully eliminate the treated fat cells. The body will become more contoured as more fat cells are flushed out. CoolSculpting Elite should not be used as a primary fat-loss method, but the results can be permanent with proper diet and exercise. While many patients see up to 25% fat reduction in the treatment area after a single treatment, more dramatic results can be achieved with a second session.

Zimmer Z Wave is an effective treatment immediately following the CoolSculpting procedure. This device delivers sound waves deep into the tissue to minimize bruising afterward and enhance CoolSculpting results. 

We often incorporate CoolTone treatments, which deliver electromagnetic muscle stimulation, after CoolSculpting and the Zimmer Z Wave. We call this our proprietary Cool³ procedure, which offers more comprehensive body contouring results than CoolSculpting alone.

Surgical Fat Removal With Liposuction

Liposuction is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure that uses a suction device to remove fat cells in targeted treatment areas. This technique works by breaking up fat deposits and using a suction device to eliminate them from the body. It is often used to treat areas that are resistant to diet and exercise, such as:

  • Abdomen
  • Buttocks
  • Inner and outer thighs
  • Back
  • Ankles
  • Breasts
  • Knees
  • Hips and love handles
  • Calves
  • Upper arms
cosmetic laser dermatology liposculpture before and after san diego ca

Liposuction is a more effective procedure for patients with larger areas of stubborn fat and can provide more significant results in a single session. During the procedure, the treatment area is filled with an anesthetic solution to numb the area and separate fat cells from the other tissue. A tiny cannula is placed under the skin through a surgical incision to gently suction out fatty deposits.

Liposuction is a more effective procedure for patients with larger areas of stubborn fat and can provide more significant results in a single session. During the procedure, the treatment area is filled with an anesthetic solution to numb the area and separate fat cells from the other tissue. A tiny cannula is placed under the skin through a surgical incision to gently suction out fatty deposits.  

Liposuction Recovery & Results

Liposuction recovery takes longer because it is a surgical procedure. Patients can expect to have at least 2-3 days of downtime before returning to their daily routine. A compression garment is worn around the treatment area for 3-7 days to reduce swelling and promote healthy blood flow for optimal healing. Potential side effects can include:

  • Pain or tenderness
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding at incision
  • Redness

Though results may be visible within several weeks, the body can take 3-4 months to heal and show complete results. Patients may expect to take an oral antibiotic after surgery for ten days and avoid taking aspirin or ibuprofen, as they can promote bleeding. 

More information on recovery and aftercare can be found here.

Which One is Right For You?

Choosing the right treatment for you depends on your unique goals and body type. CoolSculpting Elite is an excellent option for those who want to target small areas of fat with minimal downtime, while liposuction is better suited for those with larger fat deposits. It is best to consult a board-certified dermatologist for an evaluation and recommendation. Your doctor can provide insight into the best treatment option for achieving your desired results.

cosmetic laser dermatology coolsculpting and cooltone before and after san diego ca

Schedule a Consultation with a Body Contouring Expert in San Diego Today

Cosmetic Laser Dermatology is a world-class practice with seven board-certified dermatologists, a physician assistant, and a medical aesthetician. Our experts combine in-house research with the latest technology, and custom treatment plans to provide patients with exceptional results. We also participate in frequent studies to ensure we remain at the forefront of procedures and techniques.

We offer the innovative CoolSculpting Elite, which provides even better results than the original CoolSculpting device. Our physician assistant, Leysin Fletcher, is 1 of 2 Master CoolSculpting Elite specialists in the San Diego area. 

As more people turn to fat removal procedures to achieve a contoured body, Cosmetic Laser Dermatology has experienced physicians and advanced devices for optimal fat reduction. Cool³ Body Sculpting is our proprietary treatment that combines body contouring methods like CoolSculpting Elite, CoolTone, liposuction, and ThermiSculpt for unparalleled body shaping.  

Contact us to schedule a consultation and learn more about CoolSculpting vs. liposuction. 

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The information available on this website is provided for informational purposes only. This information is not intended to replace a medical consultation where a physician’s judgment may advise you about specific disorders, conditions and/or treatment options. We hope the information will be useful for you to become more educated about your health care decisions.

*Please note: Free in-person consultations are available with Dr. Loyal, Leysin Fletcher, PA-C, and medical aesthetician Farzaneh Momeni-Salami, while all consultations with Drs. Goldman, Butterwick, Groff, Fabi, Wu, and Boen are subject to a $250 fee that will be applied towards your treatment. Promotions are not available with Dr. Goldman. We do not accept insurance for any of our procedures. Any questions – feel free to call us at 858.943.2113.