CoolSculpting or Liposuction: Cost, Benefits, Side Effects & Results

There are so many body contouring procedures, all of which promise quick results or your money back. Your biggest dilemma is weeding out the duds from the real deal. This article will help you make the best decision between the two frontrunners in the market today.

CoolSculpting and Liposuction are both result-oriented methods to get rid of unwanted body fat. The demand for the former has been surging recently as CoolSculpting in WNY is a great non-surgical fat reduction technique that is significantly more affordable than Liposuction.

Overview of CoolSculpting

Also referred to as Cryolipolysis, CoolSculpting is a non-invasive method of freezing the fat cells in targeted areas by anywhere between 20-25%. The operative word is “non-invasive” meaning that the suction is applied on the surface of the skin.

Do you lose weight when you do CoolSculpting? Absolutely. The fat cells are suctioned by the CoolSculpting applicator’s regulated cooling plates. This crystalizes them, thereby damaging the cells irreparably, following which they are deconstructed by the liver and eliminated from the body.

If you’re happy with your overall body shape but are looking to remove fat bulges, CoolSculpting is a great option.

Developed in 2010, CoolSculpting has had extensive success in over 3 million treatments across the globe.

Overview of Liposuction

Liposuction, on the other hand, is a surgical technique that also uses suction to extract surplus fat from under the skin. Incisions (a quarter of an inch long) are made for this purpose. The fat is extracted with a hollow apparatus which is connected to a high-pressure vacuum. People who opt for Liposuction are of a stable weight but want to eliminate undesirable pockets of fat from certain areas.

Over and above being a weight loss technique, Liposuction is more inclined towards contouring and sculpting. Because it is surgical in nature, Liposuction can remove more fat (40-60%). If you’re looking for more a precise sculpting outcome to dramatically change the body shape, Liposuction is a good option.

Liposuction is one of the most well-known cosmetic procedures in the U.S. with over 300,000 treatments occurring yearly.

Cost: Which One is Easier on the Wallet?

The cost per CoolSculpting session essentially boils down to the number of areas that must be treated and the extent to which they are to be treated. If we were drawing broad strokes, we could estimate the cost per session based on the size of the applicator used:

Small Applicators ($750-$900)
Medium Applicators ($600-$800)
Large Applicators ($1,200-$1,500)

Liposuction is offered by a number of reputed clinics, all with varying pricing solutions. Again, drawing broad strokes, we could estimate the cost per session to be around $2,000 to $3,500.

Is CoolSculpting cheaper than Liposuction? It most definitely is. CoolSculpting sessions are more affordable than Liposuction with the average cost of the former going up to $1,500 and the average cost of the latter going up to $3,500.

Treatment Areas

CoolSculpting is suited for those areas that the pre-sized applicator can access. This includes outer and inner thighs, lower abdomen, chin, flanks, armpit puffs, banana rolls, mid-back fat, and the neck. If you have a couple of problem areas, CoolSculpting is a more viable technique than its counterpart.

Liposuction is suited for treating larger and more expansive areas of the body. The surgeon will adjust the tools to extract copious amounts of fat from the abdomen, knees and upper thighs. This technique is great when there are many areas to treat.


CoolSculpting doesn’t require the administration of anesthesia nor is there any downtime or scarring post-treatment.

Liposuction is administered under local/general anesthesia or intravenous sedation.

Number of Sessions + Time Per Session

Most patients will have to attend more than one CoolSculpting session to bring their vision to fruition. It really depends on the number of areas that are to be treated. Each session runs anywhere between 35 minutes to 1 hour.

Liposuction yields more dramatic results in a single session. One session can run anywhere between 1 to 4 hours.


Is CoolSculpting as effective as Liposuction? CoolSculpting is a safer and more affordable alternative than Liposuction. It reduces fat cells by about 20-25% in treated areas but does not tighten the skin or reduce stretch marks.

Liposuction is more expensive being that it is a surgical technique. It reduces fat by about 40-60% but it’s mostly for contouring and sculpting of the overall body frame, over and above simple weight reduction.

Side Effects

Are there any side effects of CoolSculpting? After undergoing a CoolSculpting treatment, a majority of patients have reported that there is no pain, scarring, swelling or weakness. Treated areas may feel sensitive to the touch due to being exposed to the cooling plates, however, this sensation quickly wears off. Patients often occupy themselves with other hobbies during their session such as reading a book, working on their laptop or even taking a nap.

Liposuction involves tiny incisions being made near the treatment areas into which a slim tube is inserted to shake loose and remove the surplus fat. Patients may have an adverse reaction to the anesthesia and experience bleeding. A few patients have also reported bruises and swelling after their Liposuction session. The risks related to Liposuction are higher than those of CoolSculpting.


CoolSculpting does not involve incisions, therefore, the patient is able to get back to life as usual after their session. There is little to no downtime whatsoever.

Liposuction is a whole different ball game. The patient is likely to be put out for a couple of weeks following the surgery. They might have to deal with bruises and swelling for the next couple of days and some patients even skip work to recover during this time.

Insurance Coverage

Is CoolSculpting covered by insurance? Since CoolSculpting is a cosmetic surgery that is not medically mandated, most insurance policies do not cover the ensuing costs. However, many CoolSculpting clinics have flexible payments options that allow you to defray their fees over time rather than in a lump sum.

Unless you’re undergoing Liposuction to treat subcutaneous lipomas (tiny fat tumors), insurance does not cover it either as it is a cosmetic surgery.

This is perhaps why a lot of patients opt for CoolSculpting as it’s much more affordable than Liposuction; ergo paying out of pocket doesn’t set them back as much.

CoolSculpting is a Safe, Precise and Effective Weight Reduction Technique

Are you interested in learning more about CoolSculpting? Our team is happy to answer any questions you have. Contact us to find out if you’re a good candidate for the procedure.

Share This Content

About The Author

Dr. Armen Kirakosyan

Armen Kirakosyan, MD, FACOG, FPMRS, FRCSC, FACS is an obstetrician/gynecologist, certified by American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, American College of Surgeons, and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He has received subspecialty certification in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery (former Urogynecology).

Do not use the Blog to make medical decisions

All information provided in our blog should only be used to start a discussion, it is by no means to be used for any medical decision without consulting a doctor first.