If you’ve been trying to hit your weight loss goals, then you probably don’t need us to tell you that achieving your dream body can be hard work. That’s because some areas just don’t respond to diet and exercise, leaving stubborn pockets of fat in the way of your ideal contours. However, if there’s one area of the cosmetic industry that’s full of options, it’s treatments to reduce fatty pockets and put the finishing touches on your new body. At Reflections, we know that there’s an ideal solution for everyone, so we can find the right procedure for you and your goals. In the meantime, here’s what you should know about two of our most popular options: CoolSculpting® and liposuction.
Who is a candidate?
With either treatment, the first thing to consider is whether it’s the best option for you. The best candidates for CoolSculpting are those who lead an active lifestyle but have pinchable folds of fat that don’t respond to diet and exercise. We recommend that you be at or near your ideal weight (within about 20 pounds) so that you can maintain your CoolSculpting results after treatment. Additionally, you should be able to undergo a package of treatments for best results, and we can recommend the right amount for you during a consultation.
Candidacy for liposuction can be a little more specific. This is because liposuction requires some small incisions and local anesthetic, meaning you’ll need to discuss your health and medications during a consultation with our cosmetic physicians who can determine whether liposuction is a safe and effective option for you. Liposuction can come with a few days of recovery, so it’s important to factor in your schedule and lifestyle when looking at your options. You should also count on establishing healthy habits so you can maintain your results in the long-term— as with CoolSculpting, you should be at or near your ideal weight. It’s important to keep in mind that liposuction is not a weight loss procedure.
While the ideal candidates for both of these procedures are already at, or very close to, their ideal weight, we do treat patients who have bigger goals and want a little help along the way. What’s most important is to talk with our cosmetic physicians about your goals and what you would need to be happy with your liposuction results. It’s different for everybody, and it’s our job to give you honest recommendations about what we can actually achieve.
What are the risks? Are these procedures safe?
Any cosmetic procedure comes with risks, and it’s important to discuss them with your cosmetic physician during your consultation. CoolSculpting has been FDA-approved for many years now, meaning it has a safe track record and reputation for great results. Because CoolSculpting is non-invasive, it comes with fewer risks than liposuction. There are some common risks, however, like discomfort or unsatisfactory results. These can be easily mitigated by selecting a skilled and licensed CoolSculpting provider who can monitor changes and make sure you stay safe.
The risks that come with liposuction can be a little higher due to the fact that it requires incisions and anesthetics. However, liposuction has also been performed for many years by cosmetic physicians and comes with an equally-as-safe record (provided you select a trained and experienced cosmetic physician with lots of experience performing liposuction). One of the most important ways we keep risks low with liposuction is through using Comfort Calm Local Anesthesia. This anesthetic option provides so many advantages, like being bacteriostatic (helps to prevent infection) and removing the risks of being “put under” general anesthesia, while also making the procedure very comfortable for our patients.
Does it hurt?
Neither procedure comes with anything more than some mild discomfort, but for different reasons. Because CoolSculpting is non-invasive, there are no incisions or need for anesthetics. Most patients notice a cooling sensation at first, after which the skin becomes numb. You’ll then be able to relax and catch up on your work or entertainment during the treatment session. Afterwards, you might notice some redness or sensitivity, but this goes away within a few weeks at most.
There are many different types of liposuction that exist and offer different benefits. However, the many different types of liposuction follow the same general technique. We offer both power-assisted liposuction (also called SAFE liposuction) and laser liposuction, which are two of our most popular options. Both are performed using a local anesthetic solution which means you won’t feel anything other than some slight pressure at the treatment site. Afterwards, most patients require only a few days of downtime. You might experience some soreness during your recovery, but this can easily be managed with painkillers (usually patients need nothing more than a little Tylenol at most).
What is the time commitment like?
One of the main differences between these two procedures is what your timeframe and treatment sessions will look like. CoolSculpting generally requires a package of treatments (we usually recommend 2 treatments spaced about one month apart) which gives the cryolipolysis method ample time to take effect. This means your results will continue to emerge over the course of this time period and beyond. Good things come to those who wait, so if you’re okay with being patient, CoolSculpting can fit nicely into your schedule and lifestyle.
If you want more immediate results, then liposuction can achieve them. Liposuction is one of the best ways to achieve long-term results within a short timeframe. Unlike non-surgical fat reduction which requires a few treatment sessions and some months of patience, liposuction can produce refined and natural-looking results that settle in within a few weeks. Of course, this comes at the cost of a few days of downtime and taking it easy, but you can achieve results quickly and with only a little bit of discomfort.
Which costs more?
Although it would seem that CoolSculpting is the cheaper option because it’s non-surgical, this can vary greatly. This is because CoolSculpting is usually performed in packages for best results, and this can mean you may need more sessions than usual to treat your specific areas. If you don’t achieve the results you want within this timeframe, you might require more treatments. Most patients can expect to pay about $3,000 per CoolSculpting session (depending on the treatment areas and handpieces used – this average price includes 2 large handpieces), and we usually recommend two or more sessions for best results.
The cost of a liposuction procedure will also be dependent on your treatment areas and the types of liposuction used. Generally, you can expect your cost to run between $3,500-$6,500 per treatment area, making a liposuction procedure comparable to one or two CoolSculpting sessions (and you’ll likely only need one liposuction procedure per area). This means that, in some cases, liposuction can be the cheaper option. Of course, this doesn’t mean liposuction is the best option for everyone, so it’s important to consider whether the cost is worth the downtime and higher risks.
CoolSculpting Before & After
Which is best for me?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a standard answer to this question since each patient is unique. However, the best way to decide is to assess what factors are most important to you. If you’re okay with minimally-invasive techniques and some downtime, liposuction can be an excellent way to shape your contours and achieve results quickly. If you prefer quick and easy treatment sessions that can gradually boost your weight loss goals, then CoolSculpting can help you put the finishing touches on your figure. Your amount of fat to be treated and its location can also be a deciding factor, since certain areas can respond better to one treatment than the other. During a consultation with our cosmetic physicians, we can assess your goals, preferences, and lifestyle to guide you to the treatment that suits you best.
Schedule a consultation
If you’ve begun looking at your options for fat reduction, you should know that there are plenty of excellent options. Regardless of your preferences, fat reduction procedures are a great way to refine your contours, shape your body, and boost your confidence. At Reflections, we believe that each patient deserves to feel like their best self, and our cosmetic physicians can create the best treatment plan to get you there. To begin discussing your options, contact our Martinsville and Livingston offices by calling or filling out our online form.
Dr. Renata Wix-Harris has extensive experience as a general surgeon and work in the plastic surgery department has helped to her to become an excellent laser liposuction surgeon. She is also skilled at laser and energy-based skin therapies, injectables, and non-invasive body contouring.