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Aug 08, 2019

CoolSculpting® vs. Liposuction (What Treatment to Choose)

CoolSculpting® and liposuction are both methods of reducing excess fat in the body so you can get a trimmer figure that is more appealing to you. Liposuction has been around since the 1980s, and it remains a popular way of eradicating fat through various techniques as discussed further below. CoolSculpting®, on the other hand, is a more recent approach to eliminating unwanted body fat, and this non-invasive procedure does not require anesthesia. Fat Freeze Sculpting in Los Angeles provides excellent CoolSculpting® treatments, and we have prepared this article to help patients understand the differences between CoolSculpting® and liposuction and what each method entails.

What is CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting® refers to a method of freezing fat cells and is based on the premise that such cells respond to cold temperatures more than other cells. When these fat deposits are frozen, they become easy to metabolize along with other matter then they are excreted as waste. A 2013 study published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal found that CoolSculpting® – also known as fat freezing or cryolipolysis – is a safe method of removing localized subcutaneous fat. Apart from women seeking to address excess fat on the abdomen, flank, and the submental area, this procedure is also standard among male patients.

The Procedure for CoolSculpting

This non-surgical procedure can be done while the patient is sedated or by applying general anesthesia. CoolSculpting® employs a controlled device to solidify and destroy fat deposits by pinched the afflicted parts between the CoolSculpting® applicator. This device is responsible for cooling the area down to freezing temperatures to allow targeted fat cells to crystallize and dissolve.

This process with an applicator takes roughly one hour after followed by a gentle massage on the area. Each round of treatment destroys approximately 20% of unwanted fat so you may need several sessions to remove the amount of fat you are seeking to eliminate. Patients can resume normalcy without requiring any downtime so you can go back to work or running errands after leaving the surgeon's office.

Mild tenderness and swelling of the body parts are common, but these side effects usually subside within a couple of days. You will enjoy the full impact of coolsculpting within two or three weeks after the procedure, and if necessary, you can schedule a second round of treatment after eight weeks. The cosmetic surgeon will take baseline photos before commencing so they can use them to monitor progress with each visit and determine if you need more sessions or not.

Who is the Ideal Candidate for CoolSculpting®?

The above coolsculpting techniques are useful, but the choice you take depends on your unique circumstances. Consulting with board-certified plastic surgeons at Fat Freeze Sculpting helps you determine the most befitting procedure for your case. Ideally, coolsculpting is an excellent option for patients in these scenarios:

  • Patients with small areas of unwanted fat deposits
  • People wishing to avoid anesthesia or surgical invasion
  • Patients with underlying medical conditions that don't allow invasive treatments

What Are the Advantages of CoolSculpting®?

There are many reasons why people with excess fat may opt for coolsculpting method over liposuction techniques, as follows:

  • This procedure is non-invasive and very safe to execute
  • CoolSculpting® removes fat cells from afflicted areas permanently
  • It has a shorter recovery duration which means you can resume normalcy sooner
  • There are much fewer risks for patients

What Are the Disadvantages of CoolSculpting®?

Coolsculpting is endearing to many patients who don't want to undergo surgery, but there is a downside, as follows:

  • This technique often requires multiple visits to achieve the desired outcomes
  • Expenses rack up with every coolsculpting treatment, so it becomes costly in the end
  • There is a possibility of experiencing complications such as soreness, numbness, reddening skin, bruising, and even nerve damage.

What is Liposuction?

As the name suggests, liposuction is a surgical procedure that employs a suction technique to remove pockets of fat from certain parts of the body, usually the abdomen, buttocks, thighs, arms, hips, or the neck. This procedure shapes or contours these problem areas, so they are as trim as the patient desires without going overboard.

Caution, though, liposuction (otherwise known as lipoplasty or body contouring) should not be used as the primary weight-loss method. Overweight people are highly advised to use other ways of losing weight, such as following an appropriate diet and exercise or having gastric bypass surgery. Therefore, liposuction is ideal for people with relatively healthy body weight but wish to remove unwanted fat from various areas to achieve their desired body weight.

If you have tried weight loss methods, but some areas have failed to respond, then you are an ideal candidate for liposuction subject to a consultation with a qualified cosmetic doctor. Lipoplasty works by reducing the number of fat cells in your chin, thighs, abdomen, or other problematic areas with enduring results provided your body weight remains constant.

The amount of fat being eradicated depends on the volume of fat cells and how that specific body part looks. Once the procedure is done, your skin will mold itself as per the contouring and appears healthy and smooth. In extreme cases, the skin may not have enough elasticity, so it seems loose, and this may necessitate another procedure to deal with flabby skin.

Types of Liposuction Techniques

  1. Laser Assisted Liposuction (LAL)

This method uses energy in the form of high-intensity laser light to break down undesired fat cells before they are eradicated Laser assisted liposuction entails making a small incision in the affected part and then inserting a laser fiber to emulsify these fatty deposits. The surgeon will then suck the fat using a thin tube known as a cannula. Laser-assisted liposuction usually requires a smaller cannula for the face, jowls, and chin areas.

LAL is an effective lipoplasty technique that also stimulates the production of collagen, a protein that is essential in keeping a strong skin structure. Patients who opt for LAL have better chances of recovering without sagging skin afterward. 

  1. Ultrasound Assisted Liposuction (UAL)

This approach utilizes ultrasonic sound waves to break fat deposits and convert them into liquid after which the cells are vacuumed out. Ultrasound-assisted liposuction can be executed in two ways; externally which is atop the skin using a particular emitter, or internally, which is beneath the surface using a tiny heated cannula.

UAL is effective in getting rid of excess fat from dense, fibrous parts like the male breast tissue or the upper back. This technique happens along with a tumescent procedure for better outcomes or during subsequent treatments.

  1. Power Assisted Liposuction (PAL)

 This technique applies a thin surgical tube moving it back and forth rapidly in the target area, thus creating a vibration. A qualified plastic surgeon uses these pulsations to pull out fat cells with more precision. Power assisted liposuction is suitable when dealing with huge volumes of excess fat or if you already had another lipoplasty treatment. A great benefit of PAL is that you experience less pain and swelling post-procedure.

  1. Fluid-Assisted Liposuction (FAL)

Fluid injection, otherwise known as tumescent liposuction, is by far the most frequently used technique of body contouring. FAL entails injecting a large amount of medicated solution into the targeted parts before fat removal. This fluid is usually a combination of a drug for constricting blood vessels (epinephrine), an intravenous (IV) salt solution, and a local anesthetic like Lidocaine.

The IV solution assists with faster removal of fat deposits while epinephrine controls blood loss, bruising, and swelling. Fluid-assisted liposuction works like a water jet and usually takes longer than other techniques, but you get amazing results with minimal discomfort post-procedure.

In summary, the following things happen during liposuction, regardless of the particular technique your surgeon is using:

  • The surgeon indicates the target areas by drawing with a marker pen
  • He or she injects this part with a solution of anesthetic and medication, to control blood loss and bruising.
  • They break up fat deposits as per the specific technique they are using
  • They make one or more small incisions into the target part and insert a suction tube connected to a vacuum machine
  • He or she moves the suction tube to loosen the fat and suck it out then drain any excess fluid and blood
  • The final step is stitching up the area and covering with a bandage to curtail the bleeding and ward off infections

Who is the Ideal Candidate for Liposuction?

Surgical procedures usually come with a certain degree of risk, and liposuction is no different. A reputable plastic surgeon will advise prospective patients of these requirements:

  • No history of health conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes
  • You must be within 30% of your ideal body weight
  • You are not a smoker
  • Your skin is firm and elastic to allow for better healing post-treatment

Consult with an Expert Surgeon

If you are contemplating having a liposuction procedure to remove undesired fat deposits, the best course of action is consulting with a qualified cosmetic surgeon to discuss your challenges and goals. Do extensive research to find the best surgeon in your area or beyond, as the case may be, and don't forget to ask for referrals from people within your networks.

The surgeon will take you to step by step, so you have an inkling into the process and then discuss the possible outcomes of liposuction concerning the volumes of fat in targeted areas. They will also explain how the treatment will affect you and the risks involved so you can make an informed decision.

How to Prepare for Liposuction Treatment

After a fruitful consultation with an experienced cosmetic surgeon, they may determine you are qualified for this treatment then proceed to explain how you need to prepare for it. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons suggests you get a formal medical evaluation complete with laboratory tests. Bring these results to the cosmetic doctor for their consideration.

You also need to candidly share details about existing allergies, herbal supplements you are currently taking, as well as prescriptions. The surgeon may ask you to discontinue specific dosages such as anti-inflammatory drugs and blood thinners like aspirin. The latter is detrimental in that they may cause excessive blood loss during surgery. You will also refrain from smoking in the weeks leading up to surgery.

Plan for someone to drive you home after the procedure, but if you are having huge volumes of fat eradicated, make arrangements to have the process done in a hospital. Being in a bigger facility allows you to spend the night and a day or two until the surgeon discharges you. Also, extensive lipoplasty could trigger complications like respiratory failure, and these require immediate intervention.

Recovery After Liposuction Treatment

 The recovery period is usually two weeks, and you can resume work in a couple of days after a simple body contouring. If you had extensive surgery, you might need about ten days of rest before you can return to work and other responsibilities such as coaching the kid's little league team.

Refrain from strenuous activities like going to the gym for at least one month to allow your body to recover fully. After one week of recovery, the stitches are ready for removal, and within four weeks, you can return to the demanding activities you usually do, including jogging and running.

You will start noticing the outcomes after the swelling and skin reddening subsides. The attending surgeon will inform you that the full effect of liposuction may not be realized for up to six months.

What are the Risks Involved with Liposuction Procedures?

Cosmetic treatments help restore our bodies to their youthful self – or at least getting close – and eradicating natural and acquired flaws such as excessive weight gain. Nonetheless, these procedures come with a variety of risks that can potentially breed more problems for you down the road.

Fat embolism – in 2017, BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) deduced that liposuction complications such as fat embolism syndrome (FES) are becoming increasingly frequent as doctors perform treatment on high-risk patients. FES occurs when parts of loose fat are trapped inside blood vessels and make their way to the brain and lungs. Overlooking this differential of FES is a disservice to patients as they could suffer dire consequences going as far as requiring organ support, and death in extreme cases. You need emergency medical intervention to address a fat embolism.

Numbness – it is common to feel numb in the troublesome area momentarily or even permanently as well as some degree of nerve irritation, but this is temporary.

Outline irregularities – even the best liposuction procedures stand the risk of abnormalities on the treated area, leaving it bumpy or appearing withered if the skin is not elastic enough. Uneven fat removal and healing problems can also lead to irregularity of those parts.

Skin infections – these risks are not an everyday occurrence, but we cannot rule it out. Being at the hands of a qualified cosmetic doctor can make all the difference between battling infections after treatment and remaining healthy.

Lidocaine toxicity – body contouring requires anesthesia and Lidocaine is a popular drug for this, and it is administered to manage pain during the process. This anesthetic is safe, but it is not atypical for Lidocaine toxicity to happen, and it could trigger problems with the central nervous system or heart.

Interior puncture – depending on the body part undergoing lipoplasty, there is a risk of a cannula going in too deep and puncturing a vital organ, thus necessitating surgical repair promptly.

Dealing with Loose Skin after Liposuction

Loose skin is a common outcome for lipoplasty, and it can leave feeling too self-conscious to enjoy the new size and appearance. Apart from not achieving the aesthetic appeal, you were looking for, these folds of unwanted skin are the perfect hiding spot for dirt and sweat, thus leading to sores. You can deal with excess skin through these ways:

  • Hydrating after liposuction by drinking about 12 glasses of water per day tightens the skin and keeps it properly hydrated
  • Pulse light skin tightening treatment, which uses radio-frequency waves to tighten skin from inside and is especially useful in dealing with flabby skin on the buttocks and thighs.
  • Strength training exercises such as an hour of resistance training per day can help tighten loose skin over time

Limitations of Liposuction Treatment

If done correctly, you can get rid of unwanted pockets of fat and have a tout skin on these troublesome areas. While body contouring does wonders on areas with excess fat, it has certain limitations as explained below:

  • Lipoplasty does not eradicate cellulite dimpling

If you have battled cellulite for a while, removing excess fat on the afflicted areas does not mean the annoying dimpled and lumpy appearance goes away as well. You are not alone; reports derive that 80% to 90% of women have cellulite at one point or another. Laser treatment, subcisions, radiotherapy, and acoustic wave therapy are some practical ways of handling cellulite.

  • Liposuction does not remove abnormalities on the skin's surface

Skin irregularities are yet another problem that many women – and men – grapple with daily, but these issues cannot be addressed with liposuction procedures. Dermatologists suggest trying chemical peels to enhance the appearance of acne scars, varying pigmentation, injury scarring, and wrinkles.

  • Liposuction cannot remove stretch marks

If you have been stricken with stretch marks due to pregnancy, fluctuating weight, or other reasons, liposuction cannot remove them. There are ways to address this affliction such as taking vitamin A supplements, rubbing sugar to exfoliate the area, applying coconut oil as it has healing properties, etc.

Questions to Ponder Before Deciding on Cosmetic Surgery

If you have been exercising and trying just about any diet fad out there to no avail, a cosmetic procedure might be the only feasible way of shifting the unwanted fat from your thighs, love handles, and other parts. Ask yourself the following questions at the onset of this wondrous journey:

  1. What areas do I wish to change, and what procedure is best to achieve these aims?
  2. Have I investigated this prospective procedure enough?
  3. Do I expect this procedure and treatment to improve my situation (my job, relationships, etc.)?
  4. Do I want this cosmetic treatment for self-fulfillment or due to other pressures?
  5. Are there other methods of achieving the desired changes?
  6. What are the costs involved and can I afford them and any extra fees in the foreseeable future?

Mistakes to Avoid with Cosmetic Procedures

  1. Don't sign up for time-limited offers or deals urging you to have the procedure before the sale expires – only unscrupulous doctors would do this
  2. Don't yield to the pressure of having additional treatments that you have not researched or even considered as necessary – cosmetic clinics make money this way!
  3. Under no circumstances shall you have liposuction or coolsculpting through mobile services that perform surgeries in private homes or hotel rooms
  4. Refrain from group treatments or related events where alcohol is on the menu as the surgeons could merely be pushing sales when your reasoning is undermined

Find the Best CoolSculpting® Expert Near Me

Liposuction and coolsculpting are both viable options for dealing with body fat that refuses to shift no matter how hard you try. The choice between the two procedures mainly depends on how much fat volumes, you have to get rid of, and the status of your health, among other factors. If you are opposed to surgery, coolsculpting is the best option even if you may need more than one session to remove the excess fat. While results from fat freezing may take a while to come forth, there is no recovery time required so you can return to work immediately.

Fat Freeze Sculpting in Los Angeles has proven track record of delivering the best results to every client who walks through our doors. Contact our Los Angeles CoolSculpting today at 310-919-5296 to speak with our expert team.

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