Liposuction vs CoolSculpting: Which is Right for You?

Written by Fareesa Sandoval, MD, Board Certified Dermatologist on August 15, 2017 6 Comments

liposuction vs coolsculpting

Are you struggling to shed fat from your problem areas even though you work out regularly and eat a healthy, well-balanced diet? Many individuals find that that no matter what they try there is no getting rid of stubborn fat in certain isolated areas (such as belly pouch or love handles). Often, cosmetic intervention is the only way to address these specific areas of the body.

This post will cover the differences between liposuction and CoolSculpting, two of today’s best surgical and non-surgical body contouring treatments.

Video: CoolSculpting Overview


Liposuction is a surgical procedure that removes fat through a hollow tube with the help of an aspirator (suction device) in order to contour the body. The procedure starts with a large amount of a dilute local anesthetic being injected into the area. Next, a small suction tube, called a cannula, is inserted through a tiny incision placed in an inconspicuous location on the skin. With a high-pressure vacuum, fat cells are extracted through the tube, sculpting bulges into more attractive contours.

Advantages of Liposuction

  • Ability to remove large “pockets” of fat
  • Immediate results (fat is removed in a single treatment session)
  • Yields more dramatic results
  • More aggressive fat reduction
  • Can be performed simultaneously with other surgical procedures (i.e. mommy makeover)

Disadvantages of Liposuction

  • Requires time to recover (typically a week before returning to normal daily activities)
  • Possible surgical risks (although rare)
  • Potential for post-procedure skin irregularities


CoolSculpting is a non-surgical body contouring treatment that uses specialized cooling technology to eliminate fat cells through the process of cryolipolysis, or destruction of fat cells through freezing. During the procedure, a non-invasive applicator is applied to the surface of the skin in order to precisely freeze adipose (fat) cells in a targeted area without damaging skin. After the treatment, fat cells are gradually eliminated from the body through normal metabolic processes. This results in a reduction of visible fat bulges in as little as 3 weeks.

Advantages of CoolSculpting

  • Completely non-invasive procedure (no surgery required)
  • No downtime
  • Minimal risk of unwanted side effects
  • Ideal for addressing small bulges

Disadvantages of CoolSculpting

  • Requires multiple treatment sessions (takes longer to achieve desired result)
  • Results are often less dramatic than liposuction
  • Treatment area must be “pinchable” (there must be enough fat present to be able to be suctioned into applicator)


Cost is often a factor to consider for patients. The cost of liposuction or CoolSculpting, like many other cosmetic procedures, can differ from individual to individual based on unique body characteristics and desired outcome. Patients should keep in mind that CoolSculpting often requires multiple treatments which can be estimated by your provider. Thus, the “total procedure cost” of CoolSculpting is the aggregate of all estimated individual treatments sessions.

Learn more about procedure costs

Sagging Skin Issues

One important note: both CoolSculpting and Liposuction are often unable to properly address issues stemming from loose skin or muscles. Patients with those concerns may require a surgical lifting procedures (such as abdominoplasty) or the concern may be addressed with a laser procedure (such as Thermage).


Fareesa Sandoval, MD

Dr. Sandoval is Board Certified by the American Board of Dermatology and is a member of the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS), the American Academy of Dermatology, the Dermatology Foundation, the Texas Medical Association, and the Travis County Medical Society. Dr. Sandoval’s interests include adult and pediatric medical dermatology, skin cancer management, and cosmetic dermatology.

6 Responses to “Liposuction vs CoolSculpting: Which is Right for You?”

  1. Avatar John says:

    LIPOSUCTION is the best option to reduce fatty tissues from your body!

  2. Avatar Joy says:

    I, like most women, am unhappy with my body. I have looked into cosmetic procedures but I am not sure what I would like. I think that something non-surgical, like coolsculpting is more attractive to me. I will have to consult a professional about the many options that are available to me.

  3. Avatar Piper says:

    Is it possible to do both?

    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Piper,

      Great question! Most of the time the patient should only need one or the other. However, there are cases where we recommend lipo for one area (say the abdomen) and CoolSculpting for a different body area.

      As always, every patient is different and requires an individualized treatment plan. So we encourage you to visit a licensed and experienced provider of both CoolSculpting and lipo to find out which would be best for your needs.

      WD Staff

  4. Avatar Anne says:

    Thank for posting this, I’m stuck between choosing the two. I want the benefits of lipo but not the surgery part 🙂

  5. Avatar Matt says:

    Thank you Dr. Fareesa for sharing this great information about Coolsculpting vs liposuction. I have a lot of leg fat and was stuck between the two. But this solved all of my doubts and now I know that I want to go for coolsculpting as it doesn’t involve much risks. This helped a lot!

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