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Liposuction vs CoolSculpting

Medically reviewed by Mr. Omar Tillo MD, MS, EBOPRAS, FRCS (Plast)

On the surface, liposuction and CoolSculpting serve the same purpose of sculpting your body by getting rid of excess fat. However, the two procedures differ in several ways, including the final results. In this article, we’ll explain liposuction and CoolSculpting in further detail to help you choose the best procedure for your needs.

Liposuction

Liposuction, or suction-assisted lipectomy, is a surgery that can remove up to 5 litres of fat from targeted areas of the body. Our plastic surgeons use many liposuction technologies to perform the procedure, including PAL (Power-Assisted Liposuction), Vaser (ultrasound-assisted liposuction), and BodyTite (radiofrequency assisted liposuction). 

Each of these technologies is suitable for different purposes. For instance, PAL removes larger volumes of fat, Vaser can increase definition in areas with stubborn fat pockets, and BodyTite removes smaller amounts of fat while tightening the skin. Depending on your cosmetic needs, the surgeon can customise the procedure with the right technologies to produce an optimal outcome.

Treatment Areas

Some common areas that patients wish to treat with liposuction include the abdomen, flanks, and thighs, as many people accumulate fat in these areas. However, liposuction can be performed on almost all areas of the body, as shown in the below diagram:

Procedure

A liposuction procedure takes between 1-3 hours to perform under sedation or general anaesthesia, depending on the size of the treatment areas. The surgeon will make small incisions in the area, usually a few millimetres long. We take great care to place the incisions in discrete areas of the body to avoid any visible scarring. Afterwards, they will insert a thin suction cannula to break up and extract the fat. Finally, they will stitch close the incisions.

Safety

As an invasive surgery that involves sedation or general anaesthesia, liposuction carries some risks, including infection, nerve damage, and blood clots. Such complications are rare if you are healthy and don’t smoke or have underlying health conditions. Our plastic surgeons will openly discuss all risks with you during a consultation, do a thorough examination and take a detailed medical history to ensure that you are suitable for the surgical procedure.

Liposuction Recovery Time

After surgery, you will experience swelling, soreness, and bruising in the affected areas. You can ease these side effects by taking prescribed pain medication, wearing the compression garment, and following other aftercare instructions. In general, most patients feel comfortable enough to return to office work and light activities after one week and gradually begin more strenuous exercises and activities after 2-3 weeks.

Number of Treatments Needed

You will only need one liposuction treatment to sculpt and define a given area of your body. When liposuction extracts the excess fat cells, you will permanently have less fat in that area. We can perform the surgical procedure on multiple areas of the body in one session. 

Cost

The cost of liposuction at the CREO Clinic starts from £3,900 for small areas such as the neck and £4,500 for larger areas such as the hips. Additionally, we charge £5,900 for two large sections, £7,900 for three, £8,500 for four, and £1,000 for each additional area. Liposuction costs may vary depending on your unique surgical needs, which your surgeon will discuss with you during a consultation.

Results

It may take 6-12 weeks for the results from your liposuction procedure to emerge, as the post-surgical swelling will at first obscure the results of your liposuction surgery. Once the swelling dissipates, the treated area will appear slimmer and more contoured. You may notice some skin laxity in the area, which should contract over time or with a BodyTite treatment. Additionally, you can expect the resulting scars to fade in 1-2 years.

CoolSculpting

CoolSculpting is a technology that uses a method of fat reduction known as cryolipolysis, which removes fat by freezing and destroying excess fat cells in a targeted location. The lymphatic system then gradually eliminates the frozen fat to contour the area. It is a non-invasive procedure that can remove up to 20-25% of fat in targeted areas of the body.

Treatment Areas

CoolSculpting works by applying pre-sized applicators to specific areas of the body. As a result, it can only treat areas where the physician can easily position the applicators. The most common areas include the upper arms, back, saddlebags, thighs, and abdomen. In contrast, liposuction is effective on harder-to-reach areas such as the knees, calves, ankles, and neck.

Procedure

CoolSculpting takes 1-3 hours to perform and does not require anaesthesia or sedation. The procedure involves minimal pain, with patients experiencing some discomfort akin to the sensation of being pinched. 

First, a physician or trained practitioner applies a gel pad to protect the skin in the treated area. They will then lower the applicator onto the targeted area for 30-60 minutes in order to freeze the fat cells. Finally, they will massage the area to break up any frozen deep tissue to help the fat absorption process.

Safety

As a non-invasive procedure, CoolSculpting carries little risk, and many studies show that cryolipolysis is a safe and effective treatment. However, as with any cosmetic procedure, it has some risks, such as nerve pain and the development of paradoxical fat hyperplasia, where the number of fat cells increases rather than decreases (this affects less than 1% of patients).

Coolsculpting Recovery Time

As a non-invasive procedure, CoolSculpting doesn’t entail any downtime. Some patients may experience minor redness and soreness in the treated area, which should completely dissipate after a few weeks. However, most patients can carry on with their daily routine immediately after the procedure.

Number of Treatments Needed

The number of CoolSculpting treatments required will depend on your cosmetic goals, the size of the treatment area, and the amount of excess fat you’re carrying. Typically, areas such as the arms and thighs can be sculpted in 1-2 sessions, whereas parts like the stomach where people tend to accumulate the most fat will require 2-3 sessions to achieve the desired result.

Cost

The average price for a CoolSculpting session in London starts from £600. The prices will vary depending on the number of treatments required and the size of the area. You will receive the exact cost of your treatment after consulting with your physician or practitioner.

Results

With one session, you can expect to see some definition in the area with a 20-25% reduction in fat deposits. As with liposuction, you may be left with some loose skin which should contract with time.

Unlike liposuction, the fat reduction from CoolSculpting is a gradual process. In general, most people begin to see results after one month of their treatment, with the final results taking up to 6 months to appear. From our experience, the results from CoolSculpting are mild, unlike those from a liposuction procedure. 

The contouring effects will depend on the number of treatments and body fat you have. Additionally, the procedure works on some clients better than others, depending on their figure.

Which Procedure is Better?

At CREO, we consider liposuction to be a superior method of fat reduction and therefore do not provide CoolSculpting treatments. Liposuction can remove a larger volume of fat in one session, deliver quicker results, treat more areas with better precision, and in some cases, be more cost-effective for the patient. Additionally, liposuction can be combined with BodyTite to improve skin quality.

Schedule a Consultation at Creo Clinic Today

Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr Omar Tillo performs all liposuction and BodyTite procedures at the CREO Clinic. As a double board-certified plastic surgeon specialising in body contouring surgeries, he has extensive training in using all liposuction technologies. Having performed the surgery on hundreds of patients, he has the skills and expertise to customise the procedure to deliver optimal natural-looking results for each patient. 

If you are interested in fat reduction to gain a more sculpted figure, book a consultation with Dr Tillo to discuss a bespoke surgical solution. 

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