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The Best Way To Remove Fat – CoolSculpting vs Liposuction6 min read

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Picture of Phillip Chang, MD

Phillip Chang, MD

Board Certified By The American Board of Plastic Surgeons.
Voted Top Plastic Surgeon in Loudoun, Virginia
Offices in Leesburg, Virginia.

Best of Loudoun 2019
real self top doctor virginia

Sometimes the most frustrating part about losing weight isn’t the process: the exercise, the dieting, and the food-watching. Sometimes, the most difficult part is knowing how to deal with those stubborn fat areas that refuse to go away, no matter what you do. 

These stubborn spots can be annoying, frustrating, and quite disheartening for anyone who’s working to tone their bodies. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with this stubborn spots! CoolSculpting and liposuction have been the tried and true, go-to, most effective options for ridding stubborn fat. So how do you know which is best for you? CoolSculpting or Lipo? Read below for the full breakdown! 

The Summary:

To put it briefly, here are the pros and cons between CoolSculpting and Liposuction: 

CoolSculpting Pros And Cons


  • Very low risk of complications
  • Decreases targeted fat on average 20-25%
  • No recovery time, non-invasive, non-surgical
  • Costs on average between $1,000-$4,000


  • Cold can cause slight discomfort or pain
  • Results can take months
  • Can take multiple treatments

Liposuction Pros And Cons


  • Generally low risk of complications
  • Destroys up to 12lbs of fat
  • Results visible shortly after
  • Costs on average between $2,000-$3,500


  • Can leave marks or scars
  • More difficult full recovery
  • Must undergo surgery

Of course, each treatment varies from patient to patient. It is important to have a solid grasp of each procedure in order to understand what you are looking for and which procedure is best for you. Our staff can help you through this process! 

Keep in mind that Liposuction and CoolSculpting are NOT meant as major weight loss surgeries. They are meant to help contour the body and reduce problem areas, NOT lose significant weight or help with obesity.

It is important to have a solid grasp of each procedure in order to understand what you are looking for and which procedure is best for you. Our staff can help you through this process!

What Is CoolSculpting?

Coolsculpting (aka, cryolipolysis) freezes fat off of stubborn fat areas of the body.

Before and After CoolSculpting

CoolSculpting is an FDA certified procedure that uses a vacuum with below freezing temperatures to cool the fat cells and break them down. Since the tool is cold, it numbs the skin when placed over it, which means minimal discomfort. Some patients report feeling a cold, painless, tingling sensation. The procedure takes about an hour from start to finish, and there is no recovery time since the procedure is non-invasive and non-surgical. Some patients do report feeling minor soreness after the procedure, similar to post-workout soreness.

Since the fat cells are frozen off, they’re broken down within a few weeks post-recovery and are flushed through the liver. It can take up to 2-6 months to see full results, which is generally a 20-25% decrease in the targeted fatty area. Since the fatty cells are destroyed, those cells do not return. However, in order to achieve maximum effectiveness, a healthy lifestyle must be adopted in order to avoid new cells from forming and re-creating the problem spot. 

According to the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, only 12 out of 1,445 patients reported complications during or following their CoolSculpting treatments – that’s less than 1%. Even then, the most common reported complication was less sensation in that area post-treatment than pre-treatment. 

The cost of CoolSculpting varies on doctor, geographic location, targeted area, and other factors. In general, the cost for CoolSculpting aimed at the chin and/or neck costs around $700-$1,200 while CoolSculpting aimed at the abdomen, thighs, or other larger areas can cost $2,000-$4,000.

What Is Liposuction?

Liposuction is a procedure that breaks up fat and suctions it from the body.

liposuction censored

Liposuction (aka, poplasty, lipectomy, lipo, or liposculpture suction) is a procedure that uses a hollow tool called a cannula to suction fat out from underneath the skin with a powerful vacuum. Since an incision is made for the cannula, the 1-4 hour operation is performed under either general or local anesthesia, depending on the area of lipo. Sometimes, an epidural is used. There are various different liposuction techniques, but the most common are: tumescent liposuction, power-assisted liposuction (PAS), and laser-assisted lipolysis (LAL).

The recovery can include an overnight stay at the hospital depending on the procedure, but usually involves support bandages, antibiotics, painkillers, stitches, bruising, numbness, and swelling. While exact recovery varies from patient to patient, full recovery is generally achieved in 3-6 months. However, the results are visible once the swelling goes down, which can be around 3-4 weeks.

How much fat liposuction removes varies from patient to patient. The widely-accepted maximum amount of fat lipo can remove is 12 pounds, although this does not mean 12 pounds is the norm, nor that this amount will or ought to be removed. Instead, surgeons take into account the patient, the targeted area, the health risks, and other factors before determining how much fat will be removed. Similar to Coolsculpting, both procedures need a healthy lifestyle in order to keep lasting results.

There are various risks that may occur during and/or after liposuction. While complications make up a small percentage of liposuction treatments, it is important to keep them in mind. Intense bruising, blood clots, infections, kidney or heart problems, allergic reactions, skin burns, and lung problems are all possible.

The cost of liposuction varies on doctor, geographic location, targeted area, and other factors. In general, the cost for liposuction ranges around $3,500.

The Bottom Line:

Both methods are very efficient in ridding of unwanted fat and body contouring. Whichever procedure you choose will help you achieve the results you desire. However, it is ALWAYS important to discuss your decision with your doctor.

If you’re looking for a non-invasive, non-surgical, less recovery procedure, CoolSculpting may be for you! It is proven to be effective and low-risk with minimal discomfort.

If you’re looking for a way to remove unwanted fat with more drastic, instant results, liposuction may be for you! It is proven to be effective and long-lasting.

At Aesthetica, we help you find the procedure that is best for you. We want to work with you to customize your results and make you feel as beautiful and confident as you can be, whether through CoolSculpting, Liposuction, or another one of our procedures. Come talk to us! We invite you to simply come in for a complimentary consultation with Dr. Chang or one of the cosmetic laser and injection nurses to explore whether you would make a good candidate.

Ready to lose the fat?

To find out more whether Aesthetica can help you, contact us online or at 703-729-5553 to arrange an appointment. Dr. Phillip Chang is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Northern Virginia near Leesburg, Virginia and an expert in a wide variety of cosmetic treatments.

Let Us Help You!

Our office can provide you will helpful information, schedule a free consultation, and walk you through the variety of procedures we offer.

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