Previously, one of the most popular ways to reduce fat in the body quickly was to opt for liposuction. However, this procedure literally sucks fat from the body and thus involves surgery, meaning certain risks of complications and side effects can occur.

In recent years, other methods of fat removal have appeared. Some of these are non-invasive, while others are minimally invasive. They are all effective in their own way at reducing and destroying fat cells. Among the less invasive procedures, two very popular options are laser liposuction and CoolSculpting. CoolSculpting is the brand name given to fat freezing or cryolipolysis.

But what are some of the differences between these two methods of fat removal? And is one better than the other?

What Is CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting or cryolipolysis is an FDA approved non-invasive procedure to remove fat from the body. This procedure was developed at Harvard Medical School by doctors after they noticed the effects of cold on fat cells. It was noted that children who regularly sucked on popsicles have pockets of fat loss in their cheeks. The doctors decided to investigate the effects of cold on fat cells and discovered that cold could kill them.

After this discovery, they developed a machine that could freeze fat cells without damaging a patient’s skin, tissues or organs. This machine is what makes CoolSculpting possible. The patient attends a med spa or clinic for the procedure and needs no anesthetic. A cloth is placed on the skin to conduct the cold and keep the applicator from touching the skin directly. A gel is also used along with the vacuum applicator. This machine then uses cold temperatures to freeze the fat cells underneath the skin, which will kill them. Once the fat cells are dead, the body will metabolize and eliminate them.

It can take up to 6-12 weeks for the full results to appear, but studies have proven this to be a permanent and effective way to reduce fat cells and get rid of stubborn bulges.

What Is Laser Liposuction?

This procedure can be performed in a medical spa or at a doctor’s office. A local anesthesia will be used to remove any discomfort.

A small incision is made, and then a tiny laser is inserted under the skin. This laser will liquefy the fat. Your practitioner will then insert a cannula, which is a tiny tube, to suck up the melted fat from under the skin. This minimally invasive procedure does have some downtime, but the side effects are usually minimal.

Laser Liposuction Versus CoolSculpting

Laser liposuction or laser lipolysis is a minimally invasive technique that can leave bruising and scarring. In contrast, CoolSculpting or cryolipolysis is a non-invasive procedure that has a minimal risk of side effects, including some soreness and swelling.

What Are the Recovery Times?

With laser lipo, a local anesthetic is administered, as the procedure is once again minimally invasive. There are usually a few days of downtime after the procedure, and the patient should avoid strenuous activities, such as sports, for up to three weeks. There may be some minimal mild bruising, pain and swelling as well.

In contrast, CoolSculpting requires no downtime. After the cryolipolysis procedure, the patient is fit to continue with any normal activity, including exercise and sports. There is no anesthesia involved, and the patient can drive themselves straight back to work if they so choose.

How Do They Differ in Cost?

Different regions and countries will have their own prices, but on average laser liposuction is more expensive than CoolSculpting. A good price for laser lipo might be between $2500 to $5450, while for CoolSculpting that might be $2500 to $4000.

How Effective Are These Two Treatments?

They are both effective fat removal treatments. With CoolSculpting, there is an average of 25% fat removal, as tests show successful fat reductions of 10% to 37% after just one procedure.

With laser liposuction, the effects can be seen almost immediately. However, the full effects take time to come out once the swelling is reduced. Normally, only one session is needed to get the best results.

The results of both these procedures are permanent as long as the patient leads and maintains a healthy lifestyle along with maintaining a balanced diet and weight.

How Long Do These Procedures Take?

Laser liposuction can take around an hour for each area. The results start to show quickly (often in a week) but sometimes take up to six months to appear. CoolSculpting sessions are usually between 30-60 minutes, and the results can take a couple of months to fully show.

Are These Procedures Suitable for Anyone?

For most people, they are fine, but there are certain people who should avoid these procedures. Patients should be of good health and near their ideal target weight to begin with. Neither of these procedures is designed for large weight loss. They are for toning up problem areas and improving the general appearance of the body.

Anyone with a pacemaker should avoid either of these procedures. People with cold conditions, such as Raynaud’s phenomenon and cold urticaria, should also avoid CoolSculpting. Cancer patients and people with implants will need to avoid laser liposuction. For full professional advice, you should consult a qualified medical practitioner to discuss your health and your requirements.


While both of these procedures are effective at removing stubborn fat deposits, neither of them is designed to reduce large areas of weight. They should be used in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle to maintain the results and avoid fat being deposited in different areas. The main differences between them are the recovery times and the cost. While laser liposuction results may appear quicker, there could be the need to take time off work to recover and to avoid sports or other activities for a few weeks. CoolSculpting, however, doesn’t involve any invasive techniques or drugs and lets the patient continue about their lives right away.

To get complete and professional advice, you should seek out a qualified physician or clinic to discuss your needs and weigh both options before making a decision. A good practitioner will answer all your questions as well as address issues you may not have considered yourself.