doctor marking patient's abdomen for liposuction surgery
We love CoolSculpting® and so do our patients. What’s not to love about a treatment that can spot-reduce without surgery, requires little to no downtime, and you get to watch Netflix during your treatment? We’ve performed over 1,000 CoolSculpting procedures at LJCSC, and the 5-star reviews keep rolling in…but all the same, we’re not about to retire our liposuction cannulae anytime soon.

Even in the age of CoolSculpting, liposuction has remained one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures—more than 280,000 Americans had liposuction in 2018 alone. That’s because liposuction has unique benefits that make it a better option for many women and men.

Many people assume CoolSculpting will cost less than liposuction but repeat CoolSculpting treatments can add up. Which procedure is the most economical depends on your fat reduction goals.

Here are just a few reasons why liposuction is worth it, and why you should include it on your list when considering your body contouring options (even if you are reluctant to have surgery).

There’s no better way to sculpt an improved shape to the body

While non-surgical treatments like CoolSculpting and SculpSure can be great options for straightforward fat reduction, we can’t pick exactly how much fat goes away with these devices—nor can we precisely sculpt the shape of an area.

With liposuction, we can. That’s because liposuction isn’t just a technology, but a tool that a plastic surgeon can use to sculpt away fat in a precise pattern to enhance the shape of an area in addition to shrinking a stubborn bulge. Just a few examples of what our San Diego plastic surgeons can do with liposuction:

  • Sculpt the lower back, hips, and flanks to visually enhance the derriere and/or create an hourglass-shaped figure
  • Reveal muscular detail in the abs, upper arms, or back and shoulders with hi-definition liposculpture
  • Achieve smoother, more elegant transitions between the shoulders and breasts by removing that little fat pocket in front of the armpits
  • Reduce waist or thigh circumference by sculpting around the entire torso and/or thigh, respectively

Liposuction results are immediately noticeable, highly predictable, and only get better with time

If there is one downside to CoolSculpting, it’s that you’ll have to wait 2 to 3 months for your body to process and eliminate the affected fat cells. We can’t totally predict how much fat loss will occur either (although you can expect to see and feel the difference in how your clothes fit).

With liposuction, the fat is gone immediately after surgery, and your plastic surgeon has removed precisely the amount necessary to achieve a great result. While post-op swelling will be a factor at first, you’ll be able to see a real difference in your shape just a few days after surgery.

Liposuction recovery is pretty quick for most patients

While a highly-skilled, experienced plastic surgeon is key to getting a great liposuction result, advancements in liposuction technology over the years have resulted in a procedure with one of the shortest recovery times of any body contouring surgery. On average, our San Diego liposuction patients are back to work within 5 days, sometimes even after a long weekend.

CoolSculpting eliminates fat cells, but you might LOVE that fat if it were moved to another spot. With liposuction, we can remove your unwanted fat, purify it, then reinject it where you want it!

While some post-operative swelling, soreness, and/or bruising can be expected, these effects are usually mild and short-lived, requiring only over-the-counter pain relievers for comfort. Most patients are back to the gym in about a month.

With liposuction, you can use your fat in another place where you need it

CoolSculpting causes you to eliminate fat cells over time, but why get rid of fat and pay for separate fillers when you would LOVE to have that fat in another spot? With liposuction, we can remove your unwanted fat, purify it on the spot, and then put it to good use! For example, we can inject fat taken from the belly, hips, or thighs into the buttocks for a fuller derriere—or use fat as a long-lasting, natural facial filler.

Liposuction can actually cost less than CoolSculpting

Patients often ask us whether liposuction is worth it when non-surgical alternatives cost less per treatment. It’s a great question, but don’t assume CoolSculpting will cost less overall: which procedure is most economical depends on your fat reduction goals.

If you simply wish to spot-reduce one or two troublesome areas, but you don’t need major reshaping, then non-surgical fat reduction may be your most cost-effective option. Chances are, you’ll achieve your goals in just one or two treatments per area or side. However, if you have a larger area(s) or amount of fat to treat, you may need several additional treatments.

In contrast, liposuction can definitively achieve your fat reduction and sculpting goals in one procedure. While that one procedure may cost more than one CoolSculpting treatment, it may cost significantly less in the long run then a series of non-surgical treatments—not to mention you will be enjoying your results within weeks, not months.

The chart below offers an example of how you might compare the costs of liposuction vs. CoolSculpting, as well as expected results.

Liposuction or CoolSculpting: What’s Better for Me?

Liposuction Cost
(Belly & Hips)

CoolSculpting Cost
(Belly & Hips)

  • One time procedure to remove a moderate amount of fat from the hips and belly: = $7,500
  • Plus cost of one week’s time off work**
  • Three sessions: $1,500 belly* + $750 left hip + $750 right hip = $9,000
  • Minus 15% OFF with LJCSC GLAMfam membership: = $7,752
  • No cost of time off work**

Liposuction Results
(Belly & Hips)

CoolSculpting Results
(Belly & Hips)

  • You’ll notice an improved shape in the days immediately following surgery. Results get even better as swelling resolves.
  • You will have beautifully defined, sculpted contours as well as a more slender lower body
  • Results will last with weight maintenance and healthy lifestyle
  • Results gradually appear over 3 months after each treatment. With 3 rounds of treatment, you may need 9 months for final results.
  • You’ll experience overall fat reduction in the hips and belly, but your shape will not change as drastically as with liposuction
  • Results will last with weight maintenance and healthy lifestyle
*Belly qualifies as a large CoolSculpting area, each hip as a small CoolSculpting area.**depends on area(s) treated and the nature of your job

Liposuction can complement other procedures to enhance your overall results

Imagine you are getting a tummy tuck. Abdominoplasty alone can remove excess skin and tighten the ab muscles. You’ll have a flatter, firmer belly, and that’s great! But imagine if you also had a beautiful taper between your waist, hips, and lower back. By adding liposuction to your tummy tuck, you can get all that—most likely without any additional surgery or recovery.

Liposuction can put the finishing touches on many procedures, helping you achieve more satisfying, long-lasting results. Here are just a few more examples:

  • Liposuction + Cellfina cellulite reduction: enjoy slimmer, firmer thighs without the dimples.
  • Neck liposuction + chin implant: strengthen your chin, balance your facial features, and refine your neck contours all through a single, tiny incision.
  • Breast enhancement: liposuction near the armpits can enhance the curves of your breasts.

CoolSculpting is better than liposuction in a few ways

We couldn’t close this post without acknowledging a few ways in which CoolSculpting beats liposuction:

  • You will have almost zero downtime and won’t have a surgical recovery
  • If you want to keep your procedure on the down-low, the fact that CoolSculpting results appear gradually (and won’t dramatically reshape your body) may be a plus
  • There’s no anesthesia, no post-op pain medication needed, and no scarring
  • You can schedule and have your procedure within days—maybe even the same day as your consultation!
  • It’s easy to repeat CoolSculpting for further fat reduction

Want to get a closer look at both options?

If liposuction compares better than you expected after reading this, we aren’t surprised. Still, the best way to determine the right fat reduction procedure for you is to meet in person with an experienced, board certified plastic surgeon who will listen and explain what you can expect from each option, based on your natural shape, your starting point, and your goals.

At LJCSC, we have five plastic surgeons on our team who will be happy to help. Call 858-452-1981 or contact us online to request your appointment.

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