The most recommended and conventional method to achieve the desired physique is a healthy and balanced diet along with a regular workout routine however, no matter how much effort you put in achieving a lean and toned body, some areas are extremely resilient to change. Hence, to attain such goals many cosmetic procedures are suggested among which liposuction and CoolSculpting are considered as the most popular methods. Although Liposuction and CoolSculpting have been shown to be effective in reducing fatty tissue and improving body contour, these two cosmetic procedures are quite different. As liposuction is a standard surgical procedure, people who prefer less invasive measures would rather opt for cryo-lipolysis (also known as CoolSculpting).
Liposuction – Surgical procedure
It is the most performed surgical procedure in cosmetic and plastic surgery and as per the statistics from the ASPS, liposuction was the second most popular cosmetic surgery procedure in 2016, with more than 235,000 procedures performed in the United States alone. Liposuction effectively treats a wide range of areas of the body and is commonly performed to reduce fat in the abdomen, waist, back, hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, arms, chin, and neck. Depending on the number of targeted areas of the body and the amount of fat removed, it can be performed under general anesthesia, local anesthesia, or sedation. It is a simple surgical method to remove excess subcutaneous fat and improve the contour of the body within the range of 2 to 3 hours of time. During a liposuction procedure, a surgeon makes one or more very small incisions in specific areas of excess fat and a long, narrow suction tool called a cannula is inserted through the incisions to remove fat from the desired treatment area.
CoolSculpting – Nonsurgical procedure
Studies show that non-surgical fat reduction procedures have increased by almost 6% since 2015 – 2016. This relatively new method of CoolSculpting is FDA approved and has introduced the non-invasive device that uses cryo-lipolysis technology to reduce localized subcutaneous fat. This device uses a vacuum applicator to provide controlled cooling to the skin surface by exposing fat cells to extremely low temperatures, which induce crystallization and subsequent cell death in specific areas. CoolSculpting is currently indicated for use in the submental region (“double chin” area), thighs, abdomen, and flanks.
Which one to choose?
The potential patient should consider few key questions while choosing between Liposuction and CoolSculpting. The key questions are:
What to expect from the treatment?
The patients who prefer non-surgical methods to reduce fat in a localized area, such as the love handles or the outer thighs, CoolSculpting may be the appropriate treatment option for you as this method is designed to treat focal pockets of fat. Patients undergoing a CoolSculpting procedure should expect slight to moderate improvement in the area to be treated and it may require several treatment sessions to achieve the best results. The number of treatment cycles required depends on the treatment area. Furthermore, the results are not immediately noticeable after the procedure and changes in the treated area may become apparent as early as three weeks after CoolSculpting. However, the most dramatic results can be observed in one to three months after treatment, and it further continues to process damaged fat cells in your body for about four months after the procedure is done.
Liposuction may be the most suitable option for patients looking to treat excess fat in larger areas of the body and desire a more drastic change in body contour. It is considered an aggressive treatment option and allows you to shed more fat in one session. Liposuction can be performed in conjunction with other surgical procedures, namely autologous fat transfer, for patients who want a more extensive body contour. Moreover, the fat that is removed during liposuction can be injected back into areas of the body where more volume is desired, typically the breasts, buttocks, and face. Unlike CoolSculpting, there is an overall reduction in fullness and improvement in contour within days of the procedure.
How long does it take to recover from the treatment?
As, CoolSculpting is a non-surgical procedure and provides patients with rapid recovery, minimal discomfort, and low risk of complications are observed. Usually, patients can return to their normal routine immediately after the procedure. However, redness, slight bruising, tingling, numbness, or discomfort in the treated area can be observed in different cases but these signs and symptoms can be expected to go away in no time.
Recovery after liposuction is observed to be relatively quick. Typically, patients can return to work and resume most of their normal activities within a week of surgery. Swelling, bruising, and numbness are relatively common after liposuction and will go away within weeks or months of surgery. However, a few days after the liposuction procedure, you will notice an overall reduction in fullness and an improved contour.
What makes you an ideal candidate?
The ideal candidate for CoolSculpting must be in good physical health, have minimal skin laxity, and has realistic expectations from the procedure. Patients considering CoolSculpting treatment should expect slight to moderate improvement and understand that it is not designed for weight loss.
However, the ideal candidate for liposuction is generally healthy, has excess fat, and must have realistic expectations of the procedure. Liposuction is best suited for patients with minimal skin laxity, as liposuction procedures may exacerbate the appearance of sagging skin in the target treatment area. It is essential to stop the use of tobacco/nicotine for several weeks before and after a liposuction procedure, as tobacco/nicotine use can affect the healing process and increase the risk of complications.
It is highly suggested that during your surgical consultation, you must discuss your cosmetic goals with your surgeon to determine if liposuction is a good option for you or not.
Ultimately, the most suitable treatment option is one that matches the aesthetic goals and individual preferences of the patient. Consulting a knowledgeable and certified plastic surgeon to discuss your cosmetic goals is undoubtedly the best way to determine which procedure is right for you.