Millions of Americans are frustrated with the appearance of stubborn body fat. Luckily, modern technology has given us a wealth of options for ridding ourselves of stubborn body fat. In addition to offering plastic surgery options like breast augmentation in San Antonio, at the Plastic & Cosmetic Center of South Texas in San Antonio, TX, we offer two popular body sculpting options: smart liposuction and Coolsculpting. Smart lipo vs Coolsculpting: which is better for you?
Before we can help you decide between smart lipo vs Coolsculpting, we first have to examine how each one works. They are very different treatments, each with their own pros and cons.
What Is Smart Lipo?
Smart liposuction, also knows as laser liposuction, is an FDA-approved, minimally invasive procedure that works a bit like a scaled-down version of traditional liposuction. Where liposuction uses vacuum suction to remove fat, smart lipo uses heat to melt fat before it’s siphoned out.
The treatment starts with a local anesthetic. Once the area of treatment is numb, a tiny incision is made. A fiber optic laser is inserted into the incision; this laser liquifies the fat. After that, a small tube called a cannula is used to suck the fat out from under the skin. This technique allows for hyper-targeted fat reduction, and the heat even has a beneficial side effect: it can stimulate the production of collagen. Collagen is the compound that keeps skin firm, so unlike with traditional liposuction, there are no worries about sagging skin post-treatment.
At the Plastic & Cosmetic Center of South Texas, we offer smart lipo in the form of a treatment called TightLase.
What Is Coolsculpting?
Where smart lipo uses heat to melt fat, Coolsculpting goes in the opposite direction and uses cold. Fat cells freeze at a slightly higher temperature than the skin and muscle that surrounds them, which means that with careful application of cold temperatures we can literally freeze away stubborn body fat.
Coolsculpting is an FDA-approved, non-invasive treatment that uses a specialized device to apply cold temperatures to the area of treatment. An applicator is placed on the targeted area. At the start of the treatment, you’re likely to feel cold temperatures and a sucking or pulling sensation. The area is soon numbed, though, and for the rest of the treatment, you’ll feel very little. There is no anesthesia, local or otherwise, involved, and when the treatment is done you can go right back to your daily routine.
We also offer Coolsculpting treatments at the Plastic & Cosmetic Center of South Texas.
Smart Lipo vs Coolsculpting
Between these two treatments, which is more effective? Which better suits your cosmetic goals and your lifestyle? In this section, we’ll break down the key elements of each body sculpting treatment to help you pick your winner in the battle of smart lipo vs Coolsculpting.
Both treatments are highly effective. One Coolsculpting treatment can remove up to 23% of the fat from the targeted area, effectively reshaping it. Smart lipo can remove even more fat: up to five liters, depending on the amount of fat present and the size of the area being treated. Smart lipo can actually remove enough fat for a noticeable reduction in weight, though it should be noted that weight loss is not the primary reason anyone should undergo a smart lipo treatment.
When it comes to the speed of results, smart lipo again bests Coolsculpting. Patients can expect to see results from smart lipo in as little as a week, while Coolsculpting can take three weeks for results to begin to become visible and three to four months before the final results take shape. This is because, while smart lipo removes fat outright, Coolsculpting just freezes and kills the fat cells and leaves the body to break down and metabolize them. This process takes time.
Duration of Results
The results of both smart lipo and Coolsculpting are intended to be permanent. This is due to how fat cells work in the human body. Rather than creating new fat cells when we gain weight or destroying them when we lose weight, the body just stores more or less fat in its existing fat cells. In fact, the number of fat cells in our bodies stays more or less the same once we exit adolescence. It’s very difficult to destroy fat cells through diet and exercise alone; this is one of the main reasons some pockets of body fat are so tough to get rid of.
Because the body almost never creates new fat cells in adulthood, killing and/or removing them with smart lipo or Coolsculpting gets rid of them for good. The only reason results might not be permanent is because these treatments inevitably leave some fat cells behind. In the event of weight gain, those remaining cells will expand, resulting in the reappearance of body fat. If you live a healthy lifestyle though, this won’t be a concern.
Duration of Treatment
Smart lipo treatments take an average of one hour per targeted area, depending on both the amount of fat present and the size of the targeted area itself. It can take longer if there is a large volume of fat in the targeted area, for example. Coolsculpting takes anywhere from 35 minutes to one hour per targeted area, again depending on where that targeted area is.
Number of Treatments Required
Most people will only require one smart lipo treatment to achieve their desired results in their targeted area. Of course, if you plan to target multiple areas you might need more than one treatment to do so. Coolsculpting, on the other hand, can require multiple treatments to achieve the best results. Because it can remove up to 23% of fat in an area per treatment, you might require two or three treatments total to see a 50% fat reduction.
As mentioned above, Coolsculpting usually requires zero downtime for recovery. You can get your treatment and go right back to your day with no one the wiser. You may experience some tingling as the treated area thaws out, but that’s about it.
Smart lipo, as a minimally invasive treatment, requires some downtime. Experts usually recommend two to four days of rest and downtime post-treatment, and patients should wait for three weeks before resuming any strenuous activities like lifting weights.
The cost for both treatments varies based on a number of factors. For smart lipo, it can range from around $2500 to $4500 per targeted area. Smaller areas like the thighs and chin cost less, while larger areas like the lower and upper stomach cost more.
Individual Coolsculpting treatments are usually a little less expensive, but their cost also depends on the size of the targeted area and the applicator used to treat it. A treatment with a smaller applicator can cost as little as $750, while the largest applicators can cost around $1500. The smaller applicators, as you might expect, are used on a smaller area like the upper arms or chin, while the larger applicators are used on larger areas like the abdomen. Because many people require multiple Coolsculpting treatments, the total cost averages between $2000 to $4000, depending on the area being treated.
Who Are These Treatments for?
Most people in good health are candidates for both treatments. The ideal candidate for both is someone in good overall shape but who has a spot or two of stubborn body fat that they want to get rid of. People who are overweight and want to lose weight are not candidates. It must be noted that these are aesthetic treatments and not suitable solutions for weight loss. If you want to lose weight, you should speak to your doctor and formulate a diet and exercise plan that works for you.
There are a few other conditions that rule people out from undergoing these treatments.
Smart lipo might not be the best body contouring solution for you if you:
- Have recently had surgery
- Take anticoagulants
- Have a pacemaker or defibrillator
- Have heart disease or a heart condition
- Have insulin-dependent diabetes
There are other conditions that may prevent someone from undergoing this treatment. If you have questions, speak to us to learn more.
Coolsculpting might not be the best option for you if you:
- Have a current or past hernia in the targeted area of treatment
- Have lymphoma or another lymphatic disorder
- Have a neuropathic condition, such as diabetic neuropathy
- Have a clotting disorder
- Have a skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis in the targeted area
Just like with smart lipo, there are other conditions that may prevent someone from being a good candidate for Coolsculpting. If you’re wondering if it’s right for you, contact us to find out.
Smart Lipo vs Coolsculpting: Which Is Right for You?
Both smart lipo and Coolsculpting are FDA-approved and proven to be safe, effective ways of treating stubborn body fat that won’t respond to diet and exercise. Both offer a permanent solution to this frustrating fat, either by destroying the fat cells or removing them from the body entirely, for people who lead a healthy lifestyle. There are some key differences, however, that can help you decide which is the better overall body contouring solution for you.
Speed and Fat Removal
Coolsculpting’s lack of downtime for recovery is one of its key selling points. If you’d rather have a one-hour treatment and go back to your normal day, Coolsculpting might win out over smart lipo, which requires at least two days’ rest and three weeks of refraining from strenuous activities.
If, on the other hand, you’d rather take a couple days’ worth of downtime away from work rather than have multiple Coolsculpting treatments, smart lipo might be a better solution. Smart lipo’s ability to remove more fat in one sitting gives it the edge over Coolsculpting in this way.
The average cost for both treatments is roughly similar. If, however, you want to target a smaller area like the chin and remove just a small amount of fat, Coolsculpting might be cheaper. If you want to target a larger area and remove more fat, smart lipo might be more cost-effective. The best option for you will always depend upon the goals you want to achieve.
Call Us Today!
Smart lipo and Coolsculpting are both great options when it comes to melting away a belly bulge or a double chin. If you’re still undecided, call us at the Plastic & Cosmetic Center of South Texas in San Antonio, TX today! We can schedule your initial consultation and help you decide which of these two highly effective treatments is right for you.