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Tumescent Liposuction Vs CoolSculpting: Which is the Best Procedure?

Fat reduction is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures – methods for achieving body goals remain to be a common concern among patients. Liposuction surgery is usually their go-to solution for significant fat removal, but some patients are still apprehensive about the risks that come with it. Experts have provided more body contouring procedures less risky than traditional liposuction, like tumescent liposuction and CoolSculpting.

So which is the best fat removal treatment for you between tumescent liposuction and CoolSculpting? The most suitable solution depends on the recovery time and possible risks you can take for the results you want. Tumescent liposuction removes more unwanted body fat and offers drastic effects, but it has more downtime and risks than CoolSculpting. CoolSculpting may need repeated sessions, but it’s noninvasive, more comfortable, and has fewer risks.

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Comparing Tumescent Liposuction and CoolSculpting

Tumescent liposuction and CoolSculpting are some of the most recommended alternatives to liposuction and other surgical procedures to remove diet-resistant fat deposits. While these fat reduction treatments are pretty effective in their own right, each has its own pros and cons that may be deal-breakers for some patients. 

Their differences boil down to how they work, their procedures, and the results they produce. One may be more advantageous than the other in terms of downtime and risks.

How They Work

Tumescent liposuction and CoolSculpting removes pockets of fat that are difficult to slim down even with exercise, a balanced diet, and a healthy lifestyle, but how they work is different from another.

Tumescent liposuction, also called "local liposuction," is an alternative to liposuction--it has similarities with the cosmetic procedure but with fewer surgical risks, downtime, and discomfort. Like most liposuction procedures, it also involves suctioning out the fat from your body. But with tumescent liposuction, you’ll first receive injections of tumescent fluid before the plastic surgeons remove fat cells with a microcannula.

The tumescent fluid makes the removal of fatty tissue less painful with reduced bleeding, making it easier for plastic surgeons to suction the fat. The fluid contains lidocaine and epinephrine, which are in charge of pain relief and of shrinking the blood vessels in the treated area respectively. This will make fatty deposits swell down and firm up, allowing the doctors to spot and extract them.

CoolSculpting has a different science. It induces the death of fat cells using extremely cold temperatures enough to freeze the fat cells but would still keep surrounding tissues safe. The frozen fat cells will then be flushed away by the body's natural processes.


Tumescent liposuction may involve fewer risks than liposuction. But that's not to say these risks are down to zero because this type of liposuction treatment will still require a few incisions. This is where CoolSculpting may be more beneficial for patients who are squeamish about surgical risks because it's a non-invasive procedure.

With tumescent liposuction, plastic surgeons will create about 4 to 8 small incisions of about 1 to 3 millimeters long around the treatment area after injecting you with the fluid. They will then remove the fat using a microcannula and patch you with compression bandages.

The procedure is much simpler with CoolSculpting and involves minimal pain. The plastic surgeon will apply a gel pad to the treated area to prepare it for placing the device for the cooling action. They will hold it for some time until you'll feel a numbing sensation where the machine now freezes your fat cells.


Tumescent liposuction and CoolSculpting are effective fat reduction procedures, but the former produces more significant results in a single session. Tumescent liposuction can remove about 3 to 5 liters of fat, while CoolSculpting can eliminate 20 to 25% of fat cells. CoolSculpting requires multiple treatment sessions to show dramatic results.

However, tumescent liposuction and CoolSculpting are not weight loss solutions--they only treat targeted or pinchable fat tissue, like the following:

  • outer thighs
  • upper thighs
  • flanks or love handles
  • stomach
  • tummy tucks
  • upper arms
  • banana rolls
  • double chin

Unlike the traditional liposuction that may leave you with loose skin, these options for body contouring have skin tightening effects that improves skin laxity.


As tumescent lipo is still a surgical procedure, it may require downtime, but it has a quicker recovery time than traditional liposuction. CoolSculpting is a non-surgical procedure, so it requires minimal downtime. Patients may resume their normal activities.


Tumescent liposuction is developed to minimize risks from traditional liposuction: it uses local anesthesia instead of general anesthesia. However, there will still be surgical risks, although greatly reduced. CoolSculpting has little to no surgical risks involved.

Tumescent LiposuctionCoolSculpting
Type of ProcedureMinimally invasive or minor surgeryNoninvasive
How They WorkInjections of lidocaine and epinephrine will reduce pain and bleeding and will make fat deposits swell and become firm, making it easier to suction out.Freezes fat cells to death, to be flushed out by the body’s metabolism
ProcedurePlastic surgeons will administer tumescent liquid. After waiting a few minutes for it to work, they will suction out the fat through incisions on the skinAfter applying the gel pad, plastic surgeons will place a CoolSculpting applicator to freeze cells.
What to Expect from ResultsRemoves 3 to 5 liters of fat after a single treatment
Targets localized fat
Contours the body
Tightens the skin
Not a weight loss solution
Removes 20 to 25% of fat in a single treatment session
Targets localized fat
Contours the body
Tightens the skin
Not a weight loss solution


1 to 3 days


When to Expect Results

After 1 week

2 to 3 weeks


Reduces more fat
Has more precise body contouring
Minimal damage to tissues
No risks of blood loss

Fewer risks
Less scarring
Minimal damage to tissues


More downtime
More invasive
Has surgical risks

Requires multiple treatment sessions for significant results
Subtle results per session

The Best CoolSculpting Treatments at New Jersey Center for CoolSculpting

Stomach with tattoo before and after coolsculpting

The best fat removal treatment will depend on your aesthetic goals, the risks, comfort, and downtime. Tumescent liposuction may produce more significant results, but it still has surgical risks, more recovery time, and discomfort – it also has chances of scarring. CoolSculpting may offer more subtle results, but it's a highly comfortable procedure.

If you want to learn more about your options for fat removal, you may schedule a consultation at New Jersey Center for CoolSculpting. Visit our offices today to discuss your body goals with our specialists and candidacy for our body contouring solutions.

Freeze Away Your Stubborn Fat Like Never Before

Up to 25% Fat Reduction With CoolSculpting: Treat Yourself Today!


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What Our Clients Say About Us

  • "The treatment itself was not uncomfortable. Afterwords, I felt great. I didn't really notice anything for about 30 days. After day 30 until about a month later, I started noticing that my favorite jeans were not as tight anymore. I wasn't having to suck in to get them buttoned. And by that two month period after my CoolSculpting

    Lesley Hamilton

    Age 41

  • "It's subtle at first, and then a month later you look and go, "Wow - It really did something!" It really moved the bar for me, and I'm feeling better about myself already. It feels so good to put on anything and know I look as good as I've ever looked. And I didn't say that or feel that when I was in my 20's, 30's, and 40's."

    Anne McMarthy

    Age 56

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