Eat right and exercise. We’re sure you’ve been told that time and again as the surefire way to lose weight. It’s true. There really isn’t a magic pill or tonic that will do it for you. Sure, some supplements can aid in hunger management and can boost your metabolism a touch but it’s good old diet and exercise that are the key to losing weight and firming up.
However, sometimes there are parts of your body that absolutely refuse to change. There’s the tummy bulge, the loose areas under your arms (also known as “bingo wings”), the thighs, butt areas. You could have lots of muscle hiding under there that won’t show because of the bit of fat covering them.
Luckily, there are surgical and non-surgical procedures that are available to you. Liposuction is the grand-high gold standard go-to surgical procedure for those who wish to lose body fat. There are non-surgical treatment options such as cryolipolysis, aka “Coolsculpting.” Both are treatments that offer fat loss and body contouring but they are very different cosmetic procedures. Here’s the skinny…
Liposuction is the most common procedure within aesthetic plastic surgery. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports liposuction was the second most popular cosmetic surgery procedure in 2016 with over 235,000 procedures done in the U.S. alone. You can see all of the stats HERE.
To put it simply, liposuction removes excess subcutaneous (under the skin) fat and improves you body’s contour. During the procedure your plastic surgeon will make one or more small incisions in the area’s where you want to remove fat. A long, narrow suction tube called a cannula is inserted and literally sucks the fat out. Depending on where on your body and how much fat you want removed the procedure can be done under local anesthesia, general anesthesia, or under full sedation. Liposuction is safe and the most common places it is used is the stomach, waist, back, hips, buttocks, neck, chin, thighs, knees and upper arms.
Coolsculpting is an FDA approved device that uses cryoliposis technology to diminish localized areas of fat. The contraption uses a vacuum applicator to deliver controlled cooling to the surface of the skin. The extremely cold temperatures will freeze and crystalize your fat cells which causes cell death. Coolsculpting is currently used to treat the “double chin,” abdomen, thighs, and flanks.
WHICH OPTION IS THE BEST ONE FOR ME?
That all depends on a few things.
One, beware of clinics that offer only one choice. There is no single treatment for everybody. From time to time you will see a clinic that has one new machine that can treat all your problems. Bottom line (heh, bottom) is these places are trying to make the patient fit the machine. That’s not good for the patient.
WHAT TO YOU ULTIMATELY WANT?
Coolsculpting is designed to treat focal pockets of fat. If you’re looking to ditch your love handles or some “saddlebag” areas of your thighs then this is what it is made to do. You can expect some mild to moderate improvement in the treated areas. It is worth noting that it may take several treatments to achieve these results and the number of treatments depends on how much you need to lose in those areas. Also, Coolsculpting results are not immediately noticeable. You will probably start noticing the results after about three weeks and the best results in about three months. It takes about that long for your body to remove the injured fat cells.
Liposuction is better for the patient if they are seeking to remove fat from a larger area, looking for more dramatic results, and is generally a more versatile procedure because of the other areas it can treat that Coolsculpting cannot. Liposuction is an invasive surgical procedure but it allows for more fat to be removed during your session. It can also be used in conjunction with other procedures at the same time, such as autologous fat transfers. That’s where a surgeon can remove fat from one area of the body and plae it in another area to create more volume, like the breasts, buttocks, and face. As opposed to Coolsculpting, liposuction results are noticeable within days after the procedure.
Coolsculpting is non–invasive. It has minimal discomfort and patients can usually go about their day right after a procedure. Some patients may experience redness, small bruising, tingling, numbness, or discomfort in the treated areas. These symptoms usually go away rather quickly.
Liposuction recovery is also relatively quick. Patients can usually return to work and their daily lives within a week of surgery. As with any surgery there can be swelling, bruising and numbness in the treated area that will subside within a few weeks of the operation. It can take several months to a year to see the full results because your body will be ever-adjusting to the changes made but you will notice an overall reduction in size and better body contouring within days of surgery. It is important to point out that the results also depend on how much fat was removed.
WHICH ONE ARE YOU A CANDIDATE FOR?
Patients for Coolsculpting should be in good health. They should have localized fat pockets and rather good skin tightness, and have realistic expectations of the outcome. Coolsculpting IS NOT for weight loss. Results from Coolsculpting are only mild to moderate. It’s designed to get rid of small, stubborn areas of fat that haven’t disappeared after diet and exercise.
Like Coolsculpting, the ideal person for Liposuction should be in good health and have realistic expectations of the outcome. You should have good skin laxity because if you don’t and you get the procedure excess skin will droop. You should also refrain from all tobacco/nicotine ingestion as it will hinder your healing process and could cause complications. During your consultation with your doctor it is important to discuss your aesthetic goals so you can determine if your goals are attainable. Please be aware that Liposuction is not a substitute for proper diet and exercise and is not an alternative to weight loss or a solution for obesity.
When it comes down to it, it really depends on what your ultimate goals are. Liposuction is more versatile and is more common and widespread. Plastic surgeons provide Liposuction but Coolsculpting machines can be found in salons/spas. It’s up to you to determine who you want treating you.
Ortega Plastic Surgery has board certified plastic surgeons who will meet with you and discuss your aesthetic and contour goals and together will decide what is the best way for you to go.