Liposuction vs. CoolSculpting

Are you frustrated by stubborn fat that just won’t go away despite your best attempts with diet and exercise? Fortunately, there are many belly fat removal procedures without surgery available that can produce amazing results. The two most notable procedures for permanent fat removal are Liposuction and CoolSculpting (also known as cryolipolysis). But how do they compare? What are the pros and cons of each body contouring procedure? We’ll discuss the costs, effectiveness, results, and side effects. Both liposuction and Coolsculpting treatments are effective in reducing excess fat and improving body contour, but these two cosmetic procedures have clear differences to consider. Let’s find out the best choice for you.

What Is Non-Invasive Liposuction?

Liposuction is an FDA-approved, minimally invasive procedure that is proven and effective for removing stubborn fat and tightening the skin. It’s also referred to as laser liposuction and is used for sculpting the body to reveal a smooth, more natural appearance. Gentle liposuction requires a local anesthetic and tiny incisions. A fiber optic laser within a small tube (called a cannula) is inserted into the incision. Laser energy from this device liquefies the fat cells. The unwanted fat is suctioned from the treatment areas and permanently removed to improve the body’s contour. The heat from the laser also does double duty by stimulating collagen production to tighten sagging skin. A laser liposuction procedure can treat large areas of the body, such as the abdomen and back, but also smaller areas such as a double chin and the upper arms.

Other procedures often complement Liposuction. Some of our patients decide to put their unwanted fat to good use in other areas. The fat collected from liposuction may also be used as filler for a facelift or transferred to the buttocks for a Brazilian Butt Lift procedure. In addition, we offer Renuvion® skin tightening, which uses plasma energy to further contract the collagen in your skin and tone fat deposits. This revolutionary minimally invasive procedure shrinks and sculpts mild to moderate sagging skin. When used with liposuction on the abdomen, it’s considered a non-surgical alternative to a tummy tuck.

What Is CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting is a non-invasive, FDA-approved treatment that safely delivers precisely controlled cooling to gently and effectively target the fat cells underneath the skin. Since fat cells freeze at a higher temperature than surrounding tissues, cryolipolysis is another technique that can be employed for fat reduction. The treated fat cells are crystallized (frozen) and then die. Over time, your body naturally processes the fat and eliminates these dead cells, leaving a more sculpted you.

While you relax comfortably in a chair, the CoolSculpting device is positioned on your target areas to deliver controlled cooling at the surface of the skin. Using specially designed vacuum applicators that mold around the contours of your body, they deliver extreme cold to the deep fatty layer. Treatments can be done on most areas of the body with “pinchable” fat, including the abdomen, love handles, thighs, and arms.

Who Is a Good Candidate?

If you are in good health, you are likely a good candidate for both treatments. Patients weighing Liposuction vs. CoolSculpting usually have an area or two of stubborn fat that they can’t eliminate with diet and exercise alone. They may also be seeking an overall improved shape for their body. It’s important to note that neither procedure is a solution for weight loss.

Following are some additional considerations to determine if you are a good candidate for each procedure. This list is not exhaustive, and there may be other conditions that may prevent someone from undergoing these procedures. We’ll complete a full health assessment during your consultation.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Liposuction?

Aside from being in good health, an ideal candidate for SmartLipo is someone who:

Laser Lipo may not be the best procedure if you:

Who Is a Good Candidate for CoolSculpting?

An ideal candidate for CoolSculpting is a healthy person who:

CoolSculpting may not be the best procedure if you:

Comparing Laser Liposuction and CoolSculpting

When choosing between Liposuction and  CoolSculpting, we consider your body goals and lifestyle. A key difference is that CoolSculpting is completely non-invasive – no anesthesia, needles, or incisions. SmartLipo is a minimally-invasive procedure that uses local anesthesia and tiny incisions that don’t require stitches. There are additional key points to consider, such as side effects, recovery, and cost.

Number of Treatments Required

Liposuction can be accomplished in one treatment session lasting approximately 3 hours, depending on the size of the treatment area. Conversely, CoolSculpting treatments can be performed on 1-8 treated areas, and sessions typically last 45 to 60 minutes. If repeat sessions are needed, they are given 1-3 months apart.

Side Effects

Mild associated discomfort, swelling, and bruising are common side effects after the Liposuction procedure. Scarring is minimal, and taking proper care after your procedure will help you reduce the chances of scarring.

Common side effects after CoolSculpting include redness, swelling or bruising, aching, pain or a tugging sensation in the treatment area, and temporary skin sensitivity.


While both treatments are effective in fat reduction, they vary in the amount of fat that can be removed. In the case of Liposuction, it can remove up to 90% of subcutaneous fat in the treatment area. CoolSculpting can remove 20-25% of fat in the targeted areas.

Results and Duration of the Results

Most patients see the results immediately after the procedure since the fat is removed outright during the procedure. Certainly, after one week, the results of the procedure are noticeable, and your new body has begun to take shape. The skin will continue to tighten, and final results can be seen in 4-6 months.

CoolSculpting results take more time to see progress. Because the fat cells need to metabolize, it can take up to 3 weeks to start seeing results. And since multiple CoolSculpting sessions may be needed, final results can take 3-6 months. 


After laser liposuction, most patients need a long weekend of recovery time and are back to work in 3-4 days. A compression garment will also need to be worn for 1-4 weeks during your recovery period to help your new body take shape and minimize swelling. Since CoolSculpting is a non-invasive procedure, it requires no downtime, and normal activities can be resumed immediately.


Both Liposuction and CoolSculpting costs can vary widely depending on the size and number of treatment areas. Generally, laser lipo costs $3,000-$5,000 per treatment area but can cost up to $10,000 depending on the geographic location and if other costs and fees aren’t included in your quote. An average CoolSculpting treatment plan can cost $2,000-$4,000. It’s always best to get a customized treatment plan and ensure that your proposed price includes all procedure-related costs.

Which is Right for You?

When weighing the options of liposuction and CoolSculpting, it’s important to ask yourself a couple of key questions:

What are your treatment goals?

CoolSculpting is designed to treat localized areas of fat, so it’s good if you want to shrink one or two stubborn fat bulges. Most people can expect a mild to moderate improvement in the treatment areas. However, you may need multiple CoolSculpting sessions to achieve the desired results. Changes will not be noticeable immediately, and it could take 1-3 months to start seeing progress.

Conversely, Liposuction allows patients to treat excess fat over large areas and remove a substantial amount of fat, providing a more dramatic change in body contour with just one session. Results are noticeable within a week after the procedure. Liposuction can also be performed with other procedures such as natural breast enhancement, Brazilian Butt Lift, Renuvion skin tightening, and facelift procedures.

How does your lifestyle align with the recovery time needed?

Since CoolSculpting is a non-invasive procedure, there is no downtime, and you can return to life immediately. The procedure also offers patients minimal discomfort and a low risk of complications.

While recovery is relatively quick after liposuction, it typically requires a long weekend of downtime. Side effects may take up to a month to subside following your surgical procedure. It’s important to note that the recovery period also depends on the number of areas of the body treated and the amount of fat removed.

Schedule a Complimentary Body Sculpting Consultation Today​

At The Lumen Center, we offer liposuction exclusively for body contouring procedures. While CoolSculpting is effective, it provides a minimal fat reduction result. Whereas Liposuction can produce an excellent, natural-looking result for larger and multiple areas. In addition, more patients are candidates for Liposuction, but patients with only small bulges or areas are candidates for CoolSculpting.

Contact The Lumen Center today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about Liposuction. Dr. Andrew Kwak, founder and renowned cosmetic surgeon, takes a holistic and artistic approach to body contouring procedures. During your complimentary consultation, we’ll discuss your goals, questions, and concerns. We’ll learn about the specific areas you want to target and your lifestyle to craft your customized plan to give you the best results possible.

During your consultation, you’ll also learn about our unparalleled support from pre to postop. Our goal is to make sure you are prepared and comfortable with your cosmetic surgery procedure through all stages of the process. You’ll have a series of follow-up appointments and access to your care team to ensure you are healing and your outcome is progressing. We’re with you every step of your body contouring journey.

Schedule a Complimentary Consultation

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