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CoolSculpting vs. Liposuction: What is the Right Choice for Me?

CoolSculpting vs. Liposuction- What is the Right Choice for MeMost people are familiar with the basics of liposuction but what about other similar procedures available?

With the advances of technology, alternative procedures to liposuction provide more opportunities for targeted weight loss and more precise body sculpting.

This includes the “CoolSculpting” procedure.

Which one is the right choice for you? CoolSculpting or liposuction?

Let’s take a closer look at these procedures so that you understand what they involve and what they can realistically achieve for you and your body.

We’ll consider who might be best suited to each treatment and the factors you need to weigh up before selecting the right option.

Who Are These Procedures For?

If you’ve been following your gym plan and cutting out the carbs or fatty foods but are still not able to squeeze into last year’s pair of jeans, help may be at hand.

Cosmetic procedures are available which, when carried out by dedicated professionals, can help you shed fat painlessly and enduringly.


Liposuction has been available for decades as a method for removing unwanted pockets of fat from the body and to help shape its contours.

With liposuction, fat is literally sucked from the targeted areas of the body.


CoolSculpting, on the other hand, uses new technology to freeze fat cells, which are then eliminated from the body by the immune system.

It is a more targeted approach, aimed at shaping specific areas of the body and sculpting the body shape you desire.

Important Factors to Consider

Which areas do you want to treat?

Are you looking to remove large pockets of fat from the buttock area? Or is the main goal to shape those thighs or remove the “love handles”?

Liposuction is a diverse technique that can remove fat from almost any area of the body. This includes:

  • The abdominal area
  • Waist
  • Upper or lower back
  • Thighs
  • Knees
  • Neck

A skilled liposuction surgeon will be able to remove large or small pockets of fat quickly and painlessly.


CoolSculpting, on the other hand, uses a system of pre-sized “applicators”. These are applied to specific target areas, freezing the fat cells there evenly and uniformly.

This procedure is more suited to the areas of the body where applicators can be positioned easily.

Most commonly, these are:

  • The inner or outer thigh area
  • The lower abdomen area
  • The flanks
  • The area underneath the chin
  • The underarms

Your choice when considering the areas you want to treat largely comes down to:

  • Whether you want to tone up or reshape a specific area of your body (as with CoolSculpting); or
  • Whether you are aiming for more general fat removal in multiple areas of the body to dramatically change your shape (as with liposuction)?

Which procedure is more invasive?

Liposuction is a surgical procedure, whereas CoolSculpting does not involve scalpels or needles and leaves no scars after treatment.

Liposuction requires:

  • A general anesthetic
  • Healing of surgical wounds
  • More planning beforehand
  • Downtime to recover after the procedure

What should I do if I am anxious about the procedure?

With liposuction, a general anesthetic should relieve some of the stress and there should be very little pain or discomfort.

However, any surgery comes with greater risks and some people are considered to be at higher risk during surgery (for instance, those with medical conditions or who smoke).

With CoolSculpting, you will not require sedation before the procedure. This makes it less concerning and stressful for most patients.

There will be no damage to your skin whatsoever, so this also reduces concerns for most people.

Many people read books or chat online while undergoing a CoolSculpting session. Some arrange sessions during lunch breaks!

How much downtime does each treatment require?


Because of the invasive nature of liposuction, it requires up to four weeks to heal after surgery.

This means that you may need to make arrangements for time off work or seek help to look after children, in order to facilitate the necessary recuperation time.


With CoolSculpting, there are no wounds to heal and no downtime is necessary. You can go back to work on the same day or resume your workout program.

Does CoolSculpting tighten loose skin?

CoolSculpting will not cause any damage to your skin.

If you have loose skin, the procedure itself will not tighten it but your skin may tighten naturally over time.

How your skin reacts after CoolSculpting treatment depends on its natural elasticity.

The targeted fat cells gradually die after the procedure and the skin is usually able to spring back and gain elasticity, reducing the risk of sagging skin.

Which is cheaper: Liposuction vs CoolSculpting?

As a single procedure, liposuction is more expensive than CoolSculpting because:

  • It involves a surgical procedure
  • You need an anesthetic
  • There are associated operating room charges

CoolSculpting involves lower upfront costs, increasing its attraction to many men and women who are looking to moderately reduce fat in one or two targeted areas.

If multiple CoolSculpting sessions are required, the costs may mount up and exceed the costs associated with liposuction.

Speak to your plastic surgeon for advice if you are concerned about your budget, as financing may be available.

Is CoolSculpting as effective as liposuction?

The big question!

The answer depends on what you are trying to achieve, your timeframes for results, and your attitude towards surgery.

CoolSculpting is most effective when:

  • You want to target specific body areas to “trim up” in a gentle and even manner
  • You do not expect immediate or dramatic changes to your body (it may take up to three months for fat cells to be eliminated from the body)
  • You don’t want any downtime
  • You cannot or will not undergo a surgical procedure
  • You have restrictions on your upfront budget
  • You are prepared to undergo more than one session

Liposuction is most effective when:

  • You want to achieve large-scale fat loss in a single procedure (liposuction cannot be repeated within around six months, generally)
  • You are aiming for a dramatic change to body shape after one session
  • You are prepared to give your body time to heal and for the swelling to subside
  • You can plan for the necessary downtime
  • You are not anxious about undergoing a surgical procedure
  • You have few budget restrictions upfront

Considering CoolSculpting or Liposuction?

The only real way to find out if CoolSculpting or liposuction is right for you is to discuss your unique requirements with a highly experienced plastic surgeon.

The Calgary Institute of Plastic Surgery is here to help you achieve the body you want.

Book a consultation with Dr. Lee.