Liposuction vs coolsculpting is actually a common concern of patients desiring improvement in contour. Liposuction is a surgical procedure that involves removing fat from localized or generalized areas of the body using hollow cannulas that are placed in the deep fat layer. Liposuction can be performed with and without general anesthesia depending on the extent of fat removal desired. In contrast, coolsculpting involves the elimination of fat from localized areas by the placement of cooling paddles on the skin. The fat is literally frozen to death without killing the overlying skin. In essence, cooling therapy or cryotherapy is used to freeze off the superficial fat layer; once the fat cells die, they are reabsorbed by your own body without any further intervention. The obvious advantage of coolsculpting is that it can be performed in the office setting with no need for anesthesia! Unfortunately, the disadvantages of coolsculpting are numerous. First, patients are limited to treating focal areas that can fit under the cooling paddles. Some patients have also complained about the treatment being painful. Another disadvantage is that improvement in concerned areas is only partial with studies claiming a 20% correction. The worst disadvantage remains the fact that a few patients who have observed weight gain following the procedure may see a paradoxical growth of fat in the areas treated! This overgrowth of fat cells in treated areas has been characterized as paradoxical adipose hyperplasia or PAH. PAH has now been studied and isolated the overaggressive growth of deep fat cells that are now void of the overlying protective superficial fat layer. It seems that once the superficial fat layer has been removed by coolsculpting, the underlying fat has no pushback and will grow preferentially to the deep fat with a preserved superficial fat layer. In contrast, liposuction surgery is typically performed in the deeper fat layer. When patients experience moderate weight gain following liposuction surgery, they do not observe the same localized weight gain in the areas that have been liposuctioned. In fact, they notice only a modest increase in prominence in areas not liposuctioned.
If you are wondering if you should have liposuction vs coolsculpting, I have your answer. I would only undergo coolsculpting if I had a localized problem area that I wanted partially improved and if I was disciplined enough to avoid future weight gain. If you are considering liposuction vs coolsculpting, let our specialists offer you their expert advice following a complimentary consultation.