A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

CoolSculpting or liposuction? Results and recovery explained

Two senior women jogging in the park - CoolSculpting vs. liposuction, results and recovery

Sometimes exercise is not enough to remove hard to get rid of fat cells. Compare CoolSculpting and liposuction to see which might be right for you.

Learn more about CoolSculpting® at our free event Tuesday, Nov. 13. Register here.

CoolSculpting® and liposuction are common procedures used to remove hard to get rid of fat cells.

CoolSculpting® uses cold temperatures to freeze and kill fat cells, while liposuction involves surgically removing fat from underneath the skin.

Faster recovery with CoolSculpting®

Since CoolSculpting® does not involve surgery, you do not need additional care after the hour-long procedure.

“Typically the worst side effect would be that the area treated feels like sunburn,” said Dr. Michael Harl, plastic surgeon with Marshfield Clinic Health System. “It is extremely rare, but you also can have a delayed pain manifestation.”

Liposuction on the other hand requires surgery and anesthesia, which could lead to complications. The next day you may experience nausea from the anesthesia, and would have activity restrictions along with being required to wear a compression garment. Liposuction is still an outpatient procedure so you would not need to spend a night in the surgery center or hospital.

Typically after a doctor performs CoolSculpting®, you can return to normal activities the next day.

Faster results with liposuction

While CoolSculpting® leads to a faster recovery, liposuction provides faster results.

“Liposuction is much quicker because you immediately remove the fat, whereas CoolSculpting® is a slower process,” said Dr. Brad Morrow, plastic surgeon for Marshfield Clinic Health System.

You can expect to see the results with liposuction as soon as the swelling goes down, whereas it could take 2-4 months to see results with CoolSculpting®. Harl also explains that CoolSculpting® may not work for all patients.

“The most common complication is that they just don’t respond,” said Harl. “It is common for you to have to treat an area twice.”

On rare occasions, you also may experience a paradoxical increase in the fat in a particular area. If that happens, CoolSculpting® purchases liposuction for you.

For both procedures, doctors recommend you take a before and after picture to see the results.

Both CoolSculpting® and liposuction are elective, meaning health insurance doesn’t cover the cost. If you would like more information about CoolSculpting® or liposuction, talk to a plastic surgeon.

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