Liposuction vs. Coolsculpting. Which is best for you?

I am frequently asked the question, “what is the difference between Coolsculpting and Liposuction”? Both procedures are proven ways of removing excess fat, but the mechanism and procedures are totally different. With the right patient each procedure can have excellent results and both continue to demonstrate a high level of patient satisfaction. Below is a summary of the differences between them. We offer both options in our Gilbert, AZ office near Phoenix and Scottsdale, AZ.


How does it work?

  • Liposuction – a surgical procedure requiring either general anesthesia or local anesthesia that uses blunt surgical instruments to break up and vacuum excess fat deposits, sculpting and smoothing areas of excess fat.
  •  Coolsculpting – a non-invasive FDA approved treatment that uses a cooling technique known as cryolipolysis to induce fat cell death and ultimately remove excess fat in the treated area. Click here for more information.

Who is a good candidate?

  •  Liposuction – any healthy patient without bleeding disorders or abdominal hernias who have excess fat that doesn’t respond to diet and exercise. Someone with a significant amount of excess skin is also not a good candidate.
  •  Coolsculpting – Previously we felt this was only appropriate for patients with small pockets of excess fat but with more treatments patients with even larger areas of fat can have great improvement. The current treatment applicators limit treatment areas to the abdomen, love handles, back (bra rolls), upper arms and medial thighs.


  • Liposuction – dramatically improve body contour and allow reshaping of the patient’s body.
  • Coolsculpting – non-invasive procedure with no downtime, minimal to zero discomfort, no needles or sedation.


  • Liposuction – a surgical procedure, therefore, risks of bleeding and blood clots, although rare.
  • Coolsculpting – similar to liposuction contour abnormalities may occur. You may need more than one treatment although improvement is seen in each treated area more than 80% of the time.


  • Liposuction – swelling and bruising can occur. A compression garment is recommended following the procedure. Pain and discomfort depends on the extent of the surgery.
  • Coolsculpting – No downtime! No garment is required and you may even exercise later that day. The area may be numb or sensitive for about a week, this varies.

Expected results?

  • Liposuction – loss of fat in treated areas for a better body shape and contour. Due to swelling and inflammation final results may take 1-3 months to see. Liposuction does not improve cellulite and may even worsen it. Skin may retract due to its natural elasticity but liposuction does not remove excess, saggy skin.
  • Coolsculpting – a 20-25% loss of fat in treated areas for a better body shape and contour. Results take about 8 weeks to see. Similar to liposuction, coolsculpting does not remove excess, saggy skin or stretch marks.

Call 480-466-7355 today or schedule a consultation online where Dr. Olson will create a specific body contouring plan with you.

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