Coolsculpting vs. Liposuction

coolsWe’ve been offering CoolSculpting here at the San Francisco Plastic Surgery & Laser Center for a few months now, and we get a lot of questions from patients about how it differs from liposuction. Today, I thought I’d give you a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of each procedure and settle the debate once for all! I hope this comparison helps you figure out which procedure is your best option: Liposuction is a surgical procedure during which suction is used to remove excess fat deposits are from specific areas of the body, including the chin, neck, and cheeks; the upper arms and above the breasts; the abdomen, buttocks, hips, and thighs; and the knees, calves, and ankles.

Pros: Liposuction results in a dramatic improvement of body contour and shape, as long as you maintain a healthy lifestyle. The fat cells removed during liposuction will not regenerate in your body once they’re gone, so you should not develop pockets of fat in the areas treated ever again.

Cons: Liposuction is a surgical procedure, so there are possible risks involved, including bleeding or reaction to anesthesia. Liposuction has a good safety record, but these risks are present in any surgery. After surgery, some swelling and bruising is to be expected, and you’ll probably need to wear a compression garment for two to six weeks to reduce the swelling. It may take a several months before the swelling subsides enough for the extent of the results of your procedure to become apparent.

If you have cellulite or loose, sagging skin, you will need to pursue other procedures in conjunction with liposuction to address them; liposuction on its own will not fix those issues.


CoolSculpting is an innovative, non-invasive technology that uses targeted cooling to attack fat cells, thereby reducing fat in targeted areas.

Pros: CoolSculpting is a nonsurgical procedure; it does not require anesthesia, is generally comfortable for patients, and—perhaps most importantly—is very safe. Because it is non-invasive, it does not require the kind of downtime liposuction requires; you can go back to work, or even exercise, immediately following treatment. As with liposuction, fat cells are eliminated from the body, so fat should never deposit again in the same area that was treated. Most patients see noticeable, natural results in around six to eight weeks.

Cons: Unlike liposuction, you may need more than one CoolSculpting treatment before you achieve the results you are looking for. CoolSculpting will not tighten skin or improve stretch marks.

I hope these pros and cons have helped you understand the difference between liposuction and CoolSculpting a little better! Remember, neither of these procedures is a weight loss solution—but both are great options for people with hard-to-get-rid-of fat deposits (like love handles or “saddlebags”)

If you’re interested in learning more about either of these procedures, contact us today!