Surgical vs. Non-Surgical Liposuction



Surgical vs. Non-Surgical Liposuction

For many cosmetic surgery patients, areas of unwanted localized fat are a common concern. These areas of fat are usually diet and exercise-resistant and can come in the form of a stubborn stomach “pooch” after pregnancy and giving birth, or areas around the thighs and back that refuse to disappear. 

Consequently, liposuction has increasingly become one of the most popular and top performed cosmetic surgical procedures – and for good reason! This operation redefines your natural body contours by safely, effectively, and permanently reducing the fat in areas of concern.

Recently, non-invasive liposuction alternatives have come to the forefront of body contouring procedures and are gaining popularity. These minimally invasive treatments usually don’t require any incisions or anesthesia, and also come with less downtime, meaning patients will not need to take as much time off work.

This blog will detail the differences between both fat reduction techniques and help you decide which may be the best option for you. The question is: surgical liposuction or non-invasive liposuction?

What Is Liposuction?

Liposuction is a surgical fat removal procedure that became popular in the 1980s. This procedure involves the removal of excess fat through a small tube called a cannula. As the surgeon moves the cannula through the fat deposit, suction is applied to remove the localized fat cells to sculpt a slimmer body contour.

In particular, liposuction is effective for the removal of fat in the abdomen, legs, arms, back, face, and neck. It provides excellent results in comparison to other non-invasive liposuction techniques, however, has a longer recovery period and usually costs more than non-surgical alternatives.

Non-Invasive Liposuction with CoolSculpting

Non-surgical liposuction procedures, such as CoolSculpting, target and eliminate unwanted fat cells through a topical treatment rather than an invasive lipo surgery. CoolSculpting is ideal for patients who are close to or at their ideal weight but want to reduce smaller localized areas of fat on the abdomen, thighs, or hips.

CoolSculpting uses a revolutionary device that freezes unwanted fat cells to the point of death without affecting surrounding tissue in a process called cryolipolysis. Once the fat cells die, they are naturally eliminated by the body in the weeks and months following the procedure. The final results are usually revealed after three months, the approximate time it takes for the body to eliminate the fat cells.

It’s an alternate treatment for liposuction without surgery or pain.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Liposuction and CoolSculpting

Before deciding whether surgical liposuction or non-invasive body contouring procedures are right for you, it is important to consider the pros and cons of each.

Degree of Invasiveness

Liposuction is a more invasive method of fat removal as it involves incisions. During the recovery period, patients will experience soreness, swelling, and bruising for up to 10 days following their surgery.

On the other hand, CoolSculpting treatments are completely non-invasive and patients will experience minimal discomfort during and after their treatment session.


The results from a liposuction operation are visible once the swelling has disappeared and the treated area heals, which can take up to six months. It can take longer to see results from CoolSculpting treatments, which continue to improve within the weeks and months after the procedure. It is important to remember that neither liposuction nor CoolSculpting are replacements for weight loss, although liposuction offers longer-lasting and more dramatic results as well as some skin shrinkage.


After liposuction, patients will be required to refrain from their day-to-day activities for several days to weeks after their procedure and will need to be careful when re-engaging in exercise.

On the other hand, CoolSculpting will not involve extensive healing periods and patients are able to return to their regular activities immediately. They can, however, expect some swelling and soreness. Although your results will be more subtle if you choose the non-surgical liposuction route, you will be able to return to your regular activities and get back to your life much sooner.

Pre-operative liposuction marks on the thighs

Which Option Is Best For Me?

You may want to consider liposuction if you have larger deposits of fat that you would like to reduce. It can also work to reshape and improve your body contours in several areas at once. Some points to consider include the higher price tag and greater risk of potential complications that may arise, although the McLean Clinic team will take all necessary precautions to reduce your risk of health complications. You can rest assured that safety is a first and foremost priority.  

Non-surgical liposuction techniques, such as CoolSculpting, may work better for you if you are already at or close to your ideal weight, have good skin tone and elasticity, and want to target smaller localized areas of fat. You will also be able to return to your normal activities almost immediately, however, the results will be more subtle and a series of treatments may be necessary to achieve optimal results.

How to Keep the Weight Off After Liposuction 

The reason that most people want to eliminate unwanted fat isn’t just geared towards aesthetic purposes. Another vital factor in the loss of excess fat or weight is directly tied to one’s overall health. 

Being overweight or suffering from obesity is one of the leading health conditions that the world is facing right now. While everyone is beautiful no matter what shape or size of body they have, gaining too much weight goes beyond what you see in the mirror. As a matter of fact, being overweight can be associated with multiple conditions that are collectively known as metabolic syndrome. This pertains to high blood pressure, poor blood lipid profile, and elevated blood sugar among others. 

This is why it’s of high importance to make the big switch to a lifestyle guided by a proper diet, an effective workout regimen, and the best that the world of cosmetic solutions has to offer.

Whether you’re opting for surgical or non-surgical liposuction, it’s always a good idea to stay informed about the main causes of weight gain, so you’ll know how to maintain your new figure after surgery. After all, this isn’t just about the way you look; it’s about the way you feel.

A person wearing white undergarments


If being overweight or obese is caused by hereditary factors, you might think that there’s nothing you can do about this inevitable fate, but that’s where you’re wrong!

Children of obese parents are more likely to become overweight than children of slim parents, but don’t lose hope, because what you eat and how you move greatly affects which genes become prevalent and which do not. The key to defying this genetic element is to commit to a healthy lifestyle. It sounds easier said than done, but if you are serious about maintaining the results of your liposuction surgery, then you need to be brave enough to step out of your comfort zone and walk away from what caused the weight gain in the first place.

Processed Food

We all love junk food to a certain degree, but when you love it too much, you’re exposing yourself to heavily processed ingredients and additives that can negatively impact your health. 

Junk food is affordable, tasty, and popular. With their long shelf life, it can be extremely tempting to stock up on chips and chocolate as an accessible snack choice. These types of snacks are specially designed to get people hooked, and it may become a challenge to distance yourself from the junk food and fast food lifestyle. 

As we mentioned earlier, liposuction is only the first step in your weight loss journey. The rest is up to you. If you can discipline yourself with replacing processed foods with whole foods, you will experience lasting liposuction results and enjoy living in the healthy body that you deserve. 

Remember that it’s a process, so take it one step at a time until you’re craving a salmon salad over a cheeseburger. 


Overeating isn’t the only culprit in excessive weight gain – the lack of movement is just as guilty. When you sit behind your computer for hours on end to complete your work or lay on the couch while watching TV until your leg falls asleep, you’re setting yourself up for weight gain. 

We’re not implying that working a corporate job or binge-watching in your free time is a bad thing. Rather, we’re saying that it’s important to integrate some healthy exercise as well. A run in the park or an aerobics class a few times per week can work wonders for keeping the pounds off your waistline and maintaining your contoured body

Surgical vs. Non-Invasive Liposuction: Advice From The Experts

The best way to decide between liposuction or the non-invasive liposuction procedure, CoolSculpting, is to seek the advice of a trusted, board-certified surgeon. Here at McLean Clinic, we will take the time and care to discuss all your options with you to help you determine which procedure may work best for you.

So, whether you are more suited for surgical or non-surgical liposuction, we can help you make your big decision. Reach out to our clinic to book a consultation today

April 8, 2021

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  • User - Mclean Clinic

    Posted on Apr 8 2021 By Kayla

    Thank you for this article, this was very helpful!

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