Posts Tagged ‘CoolSculpting treatment’

Liposuction versus CoolSculpting®: Which is Right for You?

Lipo vs CoolSculptingLiposuction and CoolSculpting® are two very different procedures that are designed to reduce unwanted fatty deposits. So with both procedures producing the same outcome in the end, how are you to decide which is best for you? Like so many things in cosmetic medicine, it depends . . .Let me break down the differences between the two so that you can make the best decision for you.

Liposuction was developed in the 1980’s and has been around a lot longer than CoolSculping. There are now many types of liposuction including Suction Assisted Lipectomy (SAL) – the original technique but still a great one; Ultrasound Assisted Liposuction (UAL) that uses sound waves to break up the fat, Power Assisted Liposuction (PAL) that uses vibration, Laser Assisted Liposuction (LAL) that uses laser energy, and Fluid Assisted Liposuction (FAL) that works like a water jet. Despite the different approaches, all of these techniques can work well, and none is clearly superior over the other, despite marketing claims to the contrary.

Liposuction is a surgical procedure and can be performed under local anesthesia, under sedation, or with full general anesthesia. The type of anesthesia you will need depends on the area(s) to be treated and the amount of fat that needs to be removed. In general, the more areas that you treat, the more sedation or full general anesthesia you will need. The incisions for liposuction are small, typically less than 1/4 inch, so there isn’t much scarring. There is, however, a recovery period that lasts for a few weeks – bruising and swelling are most common. Patients can usually resume light exercise after a few days.

As opposed to liposuction, CoolSculpting® is a non-invasive procedure that doesn’t require anesthesia at all. The CoolSculpting system includes a disposable gel pad that is placed over the treatment area. A cooling head is then placed over the gel pad and suction is activated. The machine has a base that cools the liquid flowing through the headpiece and pulls the fatty area into the head, therefore, freezing the fat. After an hour or so (or two hours for a non-suction treatment type) the cooling head is removed and the frozen area is massaged briefly. Although there can be some discomfort when the tissue is first pulled into the cooling head, this becomes numb once the cooling starts and the massage doesn’t hurt. Like liposuction, it takes a few weeks to see the final result, and although there really isn’t much pain, like liposuction, the treated area can feel a little tender for a while.

Liposuction is the more aggressive treatment of the two, allowing more fat to be removed in a single session. Because CoolSculpting removes less fat per treatment, patients may need several sessions of CoolSculpting to get their optimal result.

Patients who are thinking about other cosmetic surgical procedures may be better candidates for liposuction than CoolSculpting since they would already be under aesthesia. In addition, the combination of liposuction with an excisional procedure (think tummy tuck with liposuction) is very powerful and can deliver dramatic results. Another example of when liposuction is preferable is when a patient might want to add volume to an area and they want to do so with their own fat. Liposuction can be used to harvest fat for fat transfer to another site. Liposuction is often preferred when there are many body areas that the patient wants treated, as these can be done all at one time, rather than over many different sessions with CoolSculpting.

CoolSculpting can be a great option for smaller fatty deposits. It is also a great choice for patients that are keen to avoid surgery, either for personal preference or because of health issues that may increase the risk of surgery.

Patients always wonder which is more cost effective – liposuction or CoolSculpting. This is another it depends situation. If a patient is treating a single small area that will probably be effectively treated with two sessions, then CoolSculping makes a lot of sense and may be cheaper. However if there are multiple sites to treat, and some of these will need three or more CoolSculpting sessions to get full resolution, then liposuction may be the less expensive of the two.

In the long run the choice of which is best for you depends on you – how you feel about it, what issues are the most important, and how aggressive you want to be in removing the fat. If avoiding surgery is super important to you, and you’ll accept less dramatic results in order to do so, then CoolSculping might be your best option. On the other hand, if you’d rather get as much fat off as possible, and would rather do this in one session instead of several, then liposuction may be your best bet. Let the board certified cosmetic surgeons at the Emory Aesthetic Center help you figure out what approach is best for you.


About Dr. Eaves

Felmont Eaves, MDDr. Eaves recently returned to Atlanta, Georgia, to head the Emory Aesthetic Center as Medical Director, having previously completed his plastic surgery residency as well as a fellowship in endoscopic and minimally invasive plastic surgery at Emory University, The Emory Clinic, and associated hospitals. Before joining the Emory Aesthetic Center, Dr. Eaves was a partner in Charlotte Plastic Surgery for more than fifteen years and served as group president from 2010-2012.

His professional and institutional committee memberships and offices include an impressive list of national, international and local plastic surgery organizations, societies, boards, task forces, advisory councils, coalitions and foundations, including having served as President of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) from 2010-2011 and Trustee (2011-Present).

Dr. Eaves’ primary areas of academic inquiry have been in minimally-invasive and endoscopic aesthetic surgery, patient safety, system and process improvement in plastic surgery, evidence-based medicine applied to plastic surgery and recontouring surgery after massive weight loss. He has received several patents for new medical devices he developed, and has made major clinical service contributions to his field. Dr. Eaves has published more than 100 articles, book chapters and book reviews on plastic surgery in peer reviewed publications, as well as manuals, videos, computer programs and other teaching aids and has coauthored the first textbook on the topic of endoscopic plastic surgery.

Coolsculpting® – The Nonsurgical Way to Remove Fat: How Does It Work?

coolsculpt atlantaWith the holidays coming to end, we can start to think about the arrival of warmer weather. It’s almost time to shed those winter layers, and trade in scarves and hats for shorts and bandeaus. But when losing layers, we may notice some unwelcome bulges we’ve gained along the way.

Coolsculpting®, a noninvasive procedure to “freeze the fat”, may be just the solution to address muffin tops, love handles and saddlebags on the thighs. A nonsurgical way to remove fat? Too good to be true, right? Let’s explore how Coolscupting® works and some frequently asked questions about the procedure.

What is Coolsculpting® and how does it work?

Coolsculpting® is an FDA approved procedure that safely delivers precisely controlled cooling to an area of the body. It targets the fat cells underneath the skin being treated. The fat cells are more vulnerable to cold and crystallize (freeze) leaving the other tissues in the area unharmed. Over the next several weeks to months, your body eliminates these dead cells, leaving a more sculpted you.

Will the fat come back?

To answer that question, we need to distinguish weight loss from fat reduction. When you lose weight, your fat cells get smaller, although they remain the same in number. With weight gain, the cells get larger. Coolsculpting actually reduces the number of fat cells in the treated area. If the cells are gone, they cannot get bigger.

Are there side effects that I should be aware of?

During the procedure, you may experience deep pulling, tugging, numbness and discomfort. Following the procedure, typical side effects include temporary numbness, redness, swelling, bruising, firmness, tingling, stinging and pain. You should not have the procedure if you suffer from cryoglobinemia or paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria. The treatment is not for obesity.

What is the downtime like?

Because CoolSculpting® is completely nonsurgical, you can typically return to normal activities immediately. Some patients experience redness, minor bruising, tingling, numbness or discomfort in the treated area, but this is temporary and will resolve completely. Often patients return to work after the CoolSculpting® session is over.

If you are ready for swim suit season but have trouble areas that have not responded to diet and exercise, CoolSculpting® may be for you. Come meet with one of our cosmetic physicians and aestheticians at the Emory Aesthetic Center for a complimentary consultation and say goodbye to stubborn fat.

CoolSculpting Special

For those who have made the resolution to lose weight or tone your body this new year, the Emory Aesthetic Center is offering a promotion discount of 20% off a package of 3 or more CoolSculpting® treatments. Learn more.


About Dr. Anderson

Erica Anderson, MDErica Anderson, MD, is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and currently holds an appointment as Assistant Professor in the Division of Plastic Surgery at Emory University. Dr. Anderson completed her general surgery residency and plastic surgery residency at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and associated hospitals in Denver, CO. She completed a year of advanced training in Aesthetic Surgery at Grotting Plastic Surgery in Birmingham, Alabama.

Dr. Anderson returns to Emory University after being in private practice in Arlington, Virginia. While there, she maintained a busy aesthetic and reconstructive practice and also served as Medical Director for the Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Center at Virginia Hospital Center.

Dr. Anderson’s academic and research interests are largely focused on clinical outcomes with regards to cosmetic surgery. Her areas of clinical interest are diverse including cosmetic surgery of the breast and body as well chest wall reconstruction and wound care.

Dr. Anderson is married with 3 children, Trent, Connor and Fiona, and 2 vizslas, Max and Mimi.

Related Resource

CoolSculpting – A Non-Surgical Solution to Removing Stubborn Fat

cool-sculp2tHave you heard the logo “Freeze the Fat!”? If you have, you may know that it is in reference to CoolSculpting, a non-surgical treatment to remove fat from trouble spots on your body like love handles, muffin tops and the dreaded tummy pooch. First, let me tell you, it works! And second, we offer the treatment here at the Emory Aesthetic Center. Before you decide if this is the right treatment for you, let me answer some questions that I am frequently asked by my patients.

How does it actually work? CoolSculpting uses a fat freezing technology to safely and effectively kill unwanted fat cells. The FDA-approved procedure provides targeted cooling to your fat cells in the chosen trouble area. Just the fat cells are damaged without harming surrounding skin or soft tissue. During the weeks after your procedure, your body will naturally remove the damaged fat cells, leaving you slimmer. The great thing about the procedure, besides the eventual outcome, is that no anesthetic is needed, and no incisions are made. And you can return to normal activities right after your treatment.

Can anyone have it done anywhere on their body? CoolSculpting is not for everyone. Ideal candidates should have discrete bulges of fat. Obese individuals are not typically good candidates, and CoolSculpting is not a weight loss procedure. The anatomic regions that the device is able to treat most effectively include the abdomen, flanks (love handles), and back (below the bra strap area). Arms and inner thighs can be treated in select cases. The Emory Aesthetic Center just introduced a new hand piece that can treat other areas like the outer thighs.

How many treatments will I need? Depending on the amount of excess tissue to be reduced, one or more treatments per area may be necessary. Many patients are satisfied after one treatment. The process begins with a consultation with one of our physicians. During this appointment, your areas of concern will be evaluated for their appropriateness for treatment. CoolSculpting does not remove the same degree of fat as liposuction so this evaluation will ensure your expectations can be met. You will also meet with an aesthetician at the Emory Aesthetic Center Spa to further define a treatment plan.

What can I expect during the procedure? CoolSculpting treatments are performed in the Emory Aesthetic Center Spa without sedation, pain medications, anesthesia or numbing cream. To initiate the treatment, a protective gel pad is applied and then the device is positioned on your targeted area of concern. There is minimal discomfort as the vacuum applicator is applied and cooled. A typical session to treat a single area on both sides takes 1 to 2 hours. The Emory Aesthetic Center Spa has two CoolSculpting machines to reduce your treatment time. Patients are encouraged to bring a book, computer, or other activity to pass the time during a treatment.

Are there any side effects after the treatment? Some patients experience redness, tingling, and numbness. Bruising of the treated area is not uncommon after the procedure. This resolves over a period of days to weeks like any other bruise. There are no special instructions or limitations of activity after a CoolSculpting treatment and often patients return to work or other activity after the session is over.

How soon after treatment will I begin seeing the results? You will start to see changes as quickly as three weeks after your treatment and will experience the most dramatic improvement after one to three months. Even at that point, your body is still flushing fat cells and will continue to do so for up to four to six months. If additional treatments are recommended to facilitate your transformation, these are typically spaced three months apart.

If you have trouble areas that have not responded to diet and exercise, CoolSculpting may be right for you. Come meet with one of our physicians at the Emory Aesthetic Center for an evaluation and say goodbye to that stubborn fat.

Related Resource