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Laser Lipo vs Coolsculpting: Which One Should I Pick?

A CoolSculpting device in use, designed for non-invasive fat reduction by freezing fat cells, being applied to a client's body part covered with a protective gel pad.

What is Laser Lipo? (Laser Lipolysis)

Laser liposuction, also known as laser lipo, is a type of cosmetic surgery surgical procedure that manually sucks out excess, unwanted fat. It is an invasive surgical procedure that eliminates what is known as subcutaneous fat, which is the deepest layer of fat. This type of procedure can be performed under local anaesthesia, and involves a small incision made into the area where you have excess fat that you wish to have removed. Fat is removed with the use of power-assisted equipment, including lasers and ultrasound devices, which eliminate fat with less overall trauma and a shorter recovery time than traditional liposuction techniques. The laser fibre used in laser liposuction ruptures fat membranes and liquifies fat, which is then removed from the body using a suction device known as a cannula. 

What is Coolsculpting?

Like laser lipo, Coolsculpting is a cosmetic surgery procedure designed to eliminate unwanted fat. Coolsculpting is a type of procedure known as cryolipolysis, which uses fat-freezing to target and freeze unwanted fat cells. During the procedure, your surgeon will place paddles on the part of your body where you wish to have fat removed, and hold them there for about 35 minutes. During this time, the paddles cool, and freeze unwanted fat cells in the area. More fat cells will gradually die off in the three months following the procedure, at which time the results of your Coolsculpting will be fully visible. 

Differences between Laser Lipo vs. Coolsculpting?

Both laser lipo and Coolsculpting are excellent ways to eliminate stubborn, unwanted fat, and to tighten excess, loose or sagging skin on various areas of the body, including the stomach, thighs, hips, or love handles, and other areas. However, there are some differences between the two procedures. 

The main difference between laser lipo and Coolsculpting is that laser lipo is a minimally invasive procedure, requiring small incisions, while Coolsculpting does not require any incisions at all. 

Pros & Cons of Laser Liposuction vs. Coolsculpting?

Whether you choose laser liposuction or Coolsculpting for your fat-reduction procedure will depend on a number of personal considerations. However, knowing the pros and cons of each type of procedure may help you determine which is right for you.

With Coolsculpting, some of the pros include the fact that the procedure is non-invasive and non-surgical, likely less costly than laser lipo, is a relatively quick procedure with results that appear quickly as well, and has a quick recovery time. However, the procedure may be slightly uncomfortable at first, and does not reduce fat as significantly as laser lipo.

With laser liposuction, some pros include significant fat reduction and low discomfort. However, this type of procedure is invasive, can be costly, has results that take a while to appear and, because it is an invasive procedure, has a lengthier recovery time than Coolsculpting. 

Process Differences

Laser liposuction and Coolsculpting involve significantly different procedures. 

With laser lipo, you will be given a local anaesthetic, and your surgeon will make a small incision near the area where you wish to have fat removed. The surgeon will then use a concentrated laser to melt unwanted, excess fat, which will then be removed with a suction device. The incision will then be closed. Some swelling, bruising, or pain at the incision site is common, and results are generally visible within one week.

Coolsculpting is a non-invasive procedure, requiring no anaesthetic. Your surgeon will place specialised paddles on the part of your body where you wish to have fat removed. These paddles will cool the skin and fat, effectively freezing — and killing — unwanted fat cells. Only a portion of fat cells are killed during the procedure; the remaining unwanted fat cells die off over the course of several months, meaning it may take some time for full results to become visible. 

Laser Lipo vs Coolsculpting Results

In both instances, these types of procedures are not meant to result in significant weight loss; rather, they can reduce stubborn, unwanted fat and provide a smooth, sleek, contoured silhouette. Laser lipo results generally appear within a week, while Coolsculpting results are not fully visible for up to three months. 

Cost Differences

There are significant cost differences between laser lipo and Coolsculpting. At SpaMedica, Coolsculpting begins at $799, while laser liposuction begins at $6,999. 

Side Effects Differences

Because Coolsculpting is a non-invasive procedure, side effects tend to be minimal. Some possible side effects include a pinching or tugging sensation during treatment, stinging, pain, or aching after treatment, temporary skin sensitivity, and swelling, redness, and bruising. After laser lipo, patients may experience pain or numbness in the treatment area, loose or discoloured skin, or burning under the skin after treatment. 

Laser Lipo vs CoolSculpting Comparison Table

Laser lipo Coolsculpting
Procedure type Minimally invasive surgery Non-surgical
Cost Starting at $6,999 Starting at $799
Pain No pain during procedure due to local anaesthesia Some discomfort during procedure
Number of treatments One Several treatments needed, depending on desired results
Results Permanent results visible within one week Permanent results develop over three months
Disqualifications Obesity; pregnancy or breastfeeding; menstruating heavily; pacemaker or defibrillator; abnormal tissue growth; anticoagulant medications; blood clots; cancer; heart disease or other conditions; insulin-dependent diabetes; liver disease or other related conditions; medications that make you light-sensitive; multiple sclerosis; recent surgery; prosthetics; other vascular conditions Obesity; pregnancy; breastfeeding; anticoagulant medications; clotting disorders; cold urticaria; cryoglobulinemia; current or past hernia in or near the treatment area; infected or open wounds; neuropathic conditions (diabetic neuropathy, post-herpetic neuralgia); numbness or lack of feeling in the skin; pacemaker or defibrillator; paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria; poor circulation in or around the treatment area; Raynaud’s disease; scar tissue in the treatment area; some skin conditions; recent surgery
Recovery time 2-4 days No recovery time

You can also read more about the differences between tummy tuck and liposuction procedures in our detailed blog post.

Book An Appointment with Our Body Contouring Experts at SpaMedica

At SpaMedica, our team of experienced clinicians will work closely with you to develop a personalized body contouring plan, whether you choose laser liposuction or Coolsculpting. Contact the clinic to book your consultation today. 

Dr. Thomas Bell | SpaMedica

by Dr. Thomas Bell

Dr. Tom Bell, with over 25 years of practice experience dedicated to cosmetic plastic surgery, pioneered Avenue Road and Yorkville as Toronto’s Beverly Hills of plastic surgery with his first surgical center in Yorkville’s Avenue road corridor back in 1986. Named as Canada’s best plastic surgeon by W magazine and one of the world’s best, Dr. Bell returns home to join the SpaMedica Plastic Surgery team as the reigning King of Plastic Surgery.
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