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Home Blog Liposuction or CoolSculpting: Which Is Better for Your Goals?

Liposuction or CoolSculpting: Which Is Better for Your Goals?

You go the extra mile to eat a balanced diet and sculpt your silhouette through a mix of cardio and weightlifting exercises, but you still can’t seem to get rid of fat bulges on specific parts of your body. These concerns can affect your self-esteem and your motivation to continue pursuing your fitness and nutrition goals, leading you to research solutions.

You’ve likely heard that liposuction and CoolSculpting® can contour your shape and reduce pockets of excess fat. But which would be better for you, given your body and your objectives?

Find the answer to that question and more in a consultation with a skilled professional who offers both treatments. Here are some facts and considerations that can help you understand the differences between the two treatments before you schedule your consultation.


Liposuction is a minimally invasive procedure that suctions excess fat from areas of the body using a cannula — a thin surgical tube inserted through small incisions. In expert hands, precisely controlled liposuction can create smoothly contoured and natural-looking results.

We can use liposuction on virtually any part of your body where excess fat has accumulated, including the:

  • Abdomen
  • Chest and back
  • Hips and thighs
  • Upper arms
  • Buttocks
  • Calves and ankles
  • Chin and neck

A liposuction procedure can remove as much as 10 pounds of fat from a broad area of the body.

Another benefit of liposuction is that your surgeon can inject a portion of the removed fat into another part of the body in a fat grafting procedure. For instance, you might wish to trim the contours of one part of your body and use the “donor” fat to smooth wrinkles on your face, plump your cheeks, or add volume to your breasts or buttocks.

Liposuction involves some downtime for recovery, but a single treatment is usually all you’ll need to achieve your body-contouring goals.


CoolSculpting is a noninvasive treatment that uses controlled cooling to reduce pinchable bulges of excess fat. In the few months after your procedure, your body’s natural metabolic process will eliminate the frozen fat cells.

CoolSculpting has earned FDA approval for use on specific parts of the body, including the:

  • Abdomen
  • Back
  • Hips and thighs
  • Upper arms
  • Chin

There’s no downtime after CoolSculpting treatment, but results take a few weeks to be visible. A single CoolSculpting session can eliminate up to 25% of the fat cells in the treated area. The exact amount of fat loss depends on a several factors and can be less than that. People often need more than one CoolSculpting treatment to achieve their body-contouring goals.

What to Consider When Choosing Between Liposuction and CoolSculpting

How much fat do you want to remove and over how wide an area?

Liposuction and CoolSculpting are not weight loss treatments, but liposuction can remove more fat than CoolSculpting over a larger area of the body. If the fat you want to remove is concentrated in a pinchable area, CoolSculpting may be a good choice.

Do you want to add volume in another part of your body?

You can pair Liposuction with fat grafting to thin one part of your body and add volume to another. CoolSculpting cannot offer that benefit.

Do you have time for recovery from a procedure?

Liposuction is a minimally invasive surgical procedure and requires some downtime for healing, usually about a week. As a less aggressive procedure, CoolSculpting involves no downtime. Results take time to appear in both liposuction and CoolSculpting, typically two to three months.

What risks will you tolerate?

Liposuction requires anesthesia, which involves some risk, and small incisions, which require care to prevent infection. Redness, bruising, and numbness can be side effects of both techniques. Each procedure has other, rarer, risks. Liposuction can result in blood clots or accumulations of fluid. CoolSculpting can result in paradoxical adipose hyperplasia, a reaction in which the treated fat cells expand instead of leaving the body.

People with heart problems or blood clotting disorders and pregnant women are not candidates for liposuction. People with specific blood disorders are not candidates for CoolSculpting.

Are you OK with the need for repeated treatments?

Liposuction typically achieves desired results in a single treatment. CoolSculpting may require two or more treatments to achieve desired results.

Find Out More About Liposuction and CoolSculpting in Orange County

The best way to determine if either liposuction or CoolSculpting is right for you is to consult with a skilled and experienced plastic surgeon. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We’ll answer your questions and explain your body-contouring options. We have five Los Angeles-area offices: in OrangeCosta MesaTustinNewport, and Yorba Linda, CA. CoolSculpting sessions take place at our Orange County office.

The doctors at UCI Plastic Surgery are leaders in the field of cosmetic surgery. Through their teaching and lecturing roles at UCI, they stay current with state-of-the-art techniques and technology. With their advanced technical skills, they consistently produce better, more natural-looking results for their patients.