Liposuction and CoolSculpting are body contouring treatments aimed at the permanent removal of stubborn areas of fat that have not shifted with diet and exercise alone. Both types of treatment are designed to give a more sculpted, contoured appearance. At Centre for Surgery, our plastic surgeons agree that liposuction is the most effective method of removing stubborn fat from any part of the body to achieve optimal body contouring results. Here we cover the key differences between CoolSculpting and liposuction and why liposuction is a far more effective treatment.
What do liposuction and CoolSculpting involve?
Both CoolSculpting and liposuction are designed to eliminate resistant fat from many parts of the body in people who have tried dieting and exercising with no success. Both procedures should not be considered as weight loss treatments but as treatments designed to improve the shape of body areas where excess fat is located.
Liposuction can be carried out under a general anaesthetic or local anaesthetic; however, in our practice, a general anaesthetic is most common to permit effective extraction of fat cells without discomfort. Areas of excess fat are accessed via small incisions with a specialised aspiration cannula connected to vacuum suction to remove fat gently. Typical body areas amenable to liposuction include the abdomen, arms, breasts, size, buttocks, flanks, calves and ankles. Our surgeons are skilled in performing liposuction using the power-assisted technique known as PAL Lipo or Microaire. Other types of liposuction include SmartLipo, VASER liposuction, Tickle Lipo using Lipomatic and Body-Jet liposuction. In expert hands, all these Leiper suction techniques effectively remove stubborn areas of body fat.
CoolSculpting utilises the principle of cryolipolysis. The theory behind the technique is as follows. A specialised adapter is applied to the skin surface. Ultra-low temperatures are applied to the superficial fat cells, which cause them to crystallise and break apart. These fat cells are then removed by the body naturally over the next 2 to 3 weeks. Many patients often come to us after having had cool sculpting elsewhere and our very unhappy with the procedure’s outcome. Any body contouring effect is minimal; in some instances, fat can grow back in the exact location, which is known as paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH).
At Centre for Surgery in London, we do not offer CoolSculpting to our patients as we believe the results do not live up to the hype of the treatment, with many patients left unhappy and considerably out of pocket due to the costs associated with the procedure.
What are the benefits of having liposuction?
Liposuction results in the long-term elimination of fat cells with an associated improvement in contour and physique. Results can be considered permanent as long as patients maintain a healthy diet and carry out regular exercise, which helps keep liposuction results over time. We commonly get asked if fat cells grow back after liposuction. Fat cells do not grow back after liposuction.
Liposuction can achieve far superior results compared with cool sculpting due to the ability to remove significant amounts of fat from targeted body areas. At Centre for Surgery, patient satisfaction rates after liposuction in the UK exceed 95%, with many patients recommending their family and friends to us.
Compared with liposuction, CoolSculpting is a non-surgical procedure which does not involve incisions, scars or an anaesthetic. CoolSculpting and many devices which mimic it are widely carried out across beauty salons and Medi spas by aesthetic practitioners who are not healthcare professionals. There are recognised risks to having cool sculpting carried out by non-medically qualified practitioners. We would always advise having any type of body contouring treatment by a fully registered medical practitioner.
Liposuction is considered a one-and-done treatment with no need for further treatments to produce dramatic results. CoolSculpting, on the other hand, often requires a series of treatments spaced several months apart to produce very modest results which differ significantly between patients. Liposuction is considered the most effective method of fat removal with the ability to achieve impressive results, which can last many years as long as patients maintain a healthy lifestyle.
How long does liposuction last?
Liposuction results in the permanent removal of fat cells that do not grow back. We recommend that patients keep a healthy lifestyle to ensure liposuction results are maintained over time. Fat cells do not grow back. Liposuction and CoolSculpting are not recognised treatments for weight loss. For the first two weeks after a liposuction procedure, patients may even notice their weight slightly increase due to temporary fluid retention, which is a normal response to surgery. It is still important to eat healthily and exercise regularly with both treatments.
What are the side effects or risks of CoolSculpting and liposuction?
Liposuction side-effects mainly involve bruising, swelling and temporary numbness, which will rapidly settle down during the first two weeks after the procedure. Other recognised risks of liposuction include allergy, minor bleeding and infection. When performed by an experienced liposuction surgeon, the procedure is safe with minimal risk of complications. Our surgeons have been performing liposuction procedures with excellent outcomes and patient satisfaction rates regularly exceeding 95%.
CoolSculpting is a non-invasive technique but still carries a significant risk of side effects, especially when performed by an unregistered aesthetic practitioner. Patients commonly get told they may experience stinging, extreme cold, tingling, tagging, pulling or cramping at the site where cool sculpting is carried out. Other side effects include skin sensitivity, firm feeling skin, skin blanching, excessive swelling, redness and an aching sensation.
One significant risk of CoolSculpting, covered in the national media recently, is the potential development of paradoxical adipose hyperplasia or PAH for short. This serious complication of CoolSculpting results in fat cells regrowing in the area where treatment was carried out, going against the intended aim of the procedure. Patients often come to us highly distressed and anxious, having had multiple treatments of cool sculpting and find that not only is there no improvement whatsoever, that there are areas of excess fat that have increased in size. Liposuction does not result in paradoxical adipose hyperplasia, and any fat removed with liposuction is permanent and long-lasting. Liposuction does not result in fat cells getting larger in size after the procedure.
How much do liposuction and CoolSculpting cost?
Liposuction is considered a minimally invasive surgical procedure with the ability to give outstanding body contouring results compared with cool sculpting. Although liposuction costs more than cool sculpting, the procedure is a one-off treatment. Liposuction at the Centre for surgery starts from £3500 for one body area. Our surgeons are experts in 360 liposuction, which involves circumferential liposuction of the whole thighs to effectively contour the thighs resulting in slimmer and more toned thighs. CoolSculpting treatment in London typically starts from £800 per treatment, although you will need multiple treatments of CoolSculpting, with some patients requiring up to 6 treatments to achieve modest results at best. The overall cost of CoolSculpting treatment can significantly exceed the cost of liposuction. With such subtle results achievable with CoolSculpting, we recommend a tried and tested procedure that produces consistently good results, such as liposuction.
Which is better – liposuction or CoolSculpting?
At Centre for Surgery in Marylebone, we focus on providing tried and tested treatments which produce consistently good outcomes. Having examined the technology in detail, we believe CoolSculpting cannot achieve significant results, especially given the treatment’s cost. We would always recommend patients choose evidence-based treatments proven to work, and liposuction has been carried out for over 30 years with an excellent safety record. If you want to get an idea of what liposuction can achieve, view liposuction before and after photos here.
We carry out hundreds of liposuction procedures yearly at our Baker Street clinic and are proud to be home to some of the UK’s leading liposuction surgeons. If you would like to learn more about liposuction and its potential benefits, please contact us today and speak to one of our patient coordinators to book a one-to-one consultation with a liposuction expert in London.