attractive bikini-wearing woman creating a circle in her stomach

Coolsculpting vs Tummy Tuck: Pros and Cons for Each

Many people aren’t satisfied with their physical appearance, especially if they have a few extra pounds of fat. There’s nothing wrong with loving your body but also wanting to improve it at the same time. It’s nice to know you have options when you can’t get rid of the extra fat despite eating a healthy diet and working out regularly.

CoolSculpting and a surgical tummy tuck are two popular fat-reduction treatments. Both of these treatments have some exceptional benefits and a few drawbacks. Choosing which option is right for you can be challenging unless you research them both extensively. To help make a tough decision just a bit easier, here are some pros and cons associated with CoolSculpting vs tummy tuck procedures.

What Is CoolSculpting?

someone receiving Coolsculpting

CoolSculpting is a noninvasive treatment that reduces fat without sutures or scarring. It uses a method called cryolipolysis to reduce unwanted fat cells permanently. During cryolipolysis, the fat cells freeze and die. Once they’re dead, the body breaks them down and uses them for energy. This process usually takes a few months to complete. But once the body metabolizes the fat cells, they’re gone forever. There is no way for them to regrow in the body.

What Is a Tummy Tuck?

someone’s stomach marked up before a tummy tuck

A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that is also commonly known as abdominoplasty. During this procedure, excess fat and skin are surgically removed from targeted areas of the abdomen. Then, the surrounding muscles and connective tissues are typically tightened and repositioned to create a smoother look. A tummy tuck is great for removing both excess skin and fat. Therefore, it’s often used after pregnancy or weight loss. It can also help tighten up your physique if you have loose, saggy skin due to the natural process of aging.

CoolSculpting vs Tummy Tuck: Pros

If you’re finding it difficult to decide between a tummy tuck vs CoolSculpting, it helps to know the pros and cons of each option. The good news is that both procedures have a lot of benefits, which explains why they’re both so popular.

Tummy Tuck Benefits

A tummy tuck is highly effective at changing the shape of your body in minimal time. Here are some of the other impressive benefits this procedure can offer:

  • A slimmer appearance
  • Dramatic results
  • A stronger abdominal wall
  • Improved posture due to tighter stomach muscles
  • Decreased belly overhang
  • Permanent fat reduction
  • Long-lasting results
  • Many tummy tuck options are available

CoolSculpting Benefits

Like a surgical tummy tuck, CoolSculpting helps remove excess fat and transform the shape of your body. But unlike a tummy tuck, CoolSculpting is non-surgical. Here are some of the top benefits associated with this treatment:

  • No incisions, sutures, or post-procedural scarring
  • Tighter, slimmer physique
  • Natural-looking results
  • It can treat many different body areas, including the abdomen, inner thighs, saddle bags, and arm flab.
  • Minimal side effects
  • Permanent fat reduction
  • Long-lasting results
  • No downtime

CoolSculpting vs Tummy Tuck: Cons

Although CoolSculpting and tummy tuck procedures are highly beneficial, they don’t come without potential drawbacks. For many people, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. However, it’s still important to be familiar with the cons to make an educated decision regarding your aesthetic needs. Here are some of the cons associated with cryolipolysis vs abdominoplasty.

CoolSculpting Cons

Since CoolSculpting is a non-invasive treatment, it doesn’t have many drawbacks associated with surgical procedures. However, there are still some minor side effects associated with this treatment, including:

  • Post-treatment inflammation and redness
  • Aching, stinging, or discomfort at the treatment site
  • Bruising after treatment
  • Temporary increased skin sensitivity
  • Skin irritation during treatment due to exposure to cold temperatures

Most of the adverse side effects associated with CoolSculpting resolve on their own within a matter of weeks. Rarely, patients may experience paradoxical adipose hyperplasia. This serious side effect can cause the treated fat cells to become larger instead of smaller. If this happens to you, corrective surgery such as liposuction is the only way to correct the problem.

Tummy Tuck Cons

When comparing a tummy tuck vs CoolSculpting, it’s important to understand that they are very different procedures. Since a tummy tuck is a surgical treatment, it naturally comes with a higher list of cons. However, many people still think the rapid and reliable results provided by an abdominoplasty are well worth the risks. You’ll need to decide whether this treatment is proper for you based on the aesthetic goals you want to achieve.

Here are some of the most common risks and side effects associated with abdominoplasty:

  • Lengthy recovery time
  • Numbness or other temporary changes in skin sensation
  • Risk of excessive bleeding during or after surgery
  • Risk of poor wound healing or infection
  • Post-operative swelling, which can delay the final results of treatment
  • Permanent scarring
  • Possible tissue damage

There is also the possibility that fluid can accumulate beneath the skin after surgery. Some people may also experience an adverse reaction to anesthesia.

What to Expect From Your CoolSculpting Appointment

A CoolSculpting treatment is pretty straightforward. A provider will first place a gel pad and FDA-cleared cryolipolysis device on the desired treatment area. You’ll immediately begin to feel a cooling sensation as the device passes over your skin. The cold temperature may feel intense at first. But after a few minutes, your skin should begin to feel numb.

People have different tolerances for discomfort. However, most people are comfortable enough during CoolSculpting treatment to read, watch TV, or text others. The entire treatment time can vary from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on how many areas are being treated. Once your treatment is complete, your provider will gently massage the area. This helps to break down the damaged fat cells so your body can dispose of them more easily.  

What to Expect From Your Tummy Tuck Appointment

A typical tummy tuck takes anywhere between two and five hours. Fortunately, you’ll be asleep before the procedure starts, making it feel like it’s over instantly. Once you’re sedated, your surgical team will place a drape around your abdomen and clean the treatment area. Here are the typical steps involved in an abdominoplasty:

  • Step 1: Your surgeon makes up to two incisions in your abdomen and separates the abdominal muscles from the skin
  • Step 2: Your surgeon removes excess fat and skin from the targeted area
  • Step 3: The remaining skin and muscles get pulled together to create a smooth, tight appearance. The belly button may undergo reconstruction to maintain a natural appearance.
  • Step 4: The surgeon stitches the treatment area closed once they achieve the desired results. They may also insert a surgical drain into the area to allow excess fluid to drain.
  • Step 5: The surgeon applies a sterile dressing to keep the area clean and infection-free.

After your procedure, the surgical team will stop or reverse the anesthesia so you can wake up. It may take several hours to awaken fully from the anesthetic. You’ll need someone else to drive you home after your procedure since you will likely be groggy for several hours.

CoolSculpting vs. Tummy Tuck Aftercare

Whether you receive a tummy tuck or CoolSculpting, you’ll need to follow CoolSculpting aftercare instructions carefully to get the best results. After CoolSculpting, you just need to take it easy for a couple of hours. Then, you should be able to resume normal activities. You should also avoid drinking alcohol for at least a week after your appointment. Alcohol consumption can delay your healing time and contribute to post-treatment inflammation. Keep your body hydrated after your appointment, and take over-the-counter pain medication as needed to manage any discomfort.

The aftercare instructions for a tummy tuck are a little more involved. You’ll need to take it easy for at least six weeks and avoid strenuous physical activity. You’ll also need to take pain medication as recommended by your surgeon to manage post-operative pain. Your surgical team will show you how to drain and care for your wound at home. You may also receive a compression garment to wear while you heal. To minimize your risk of post-surgical complications, follow your provider’s aftercare instructions precisely.

CoolSculpting vs. Tummy Tuck Costs

The average cost of a CoolSculpting treatment is anywhere between $600 and $1,000. However, you may need up to six sessions to get the results you want.

A tummy tuck, on the other hand, is typically limited to just one treatment. The average cost for a tummy tuck is between $4,500 and $6,100.

Most insurance policies don’t cover cryolipolysis or abdominoplasty. Therefore, you’ll need to pay the full cost yourself. However, some providers offer convenient in-house financing and payment programs to reduce the financial impact of these treatments.

Slim Down Your Physique With CoolSculpting or Tummy Tuck Treatment

You deserve to feel proud and confident in your own body. If you’re currently dissatisfied with your physique because of loose skin or excess fat, contact Aesthetics & Plastic Surgery. We offer both minimally invasive CoolSculpting treatment and popular tummy tuck surgery. If you’re having trouble deciding between cryolipolysis vs abdominoplasty, let us know. We’ll help you understand the pros and cons of each treatment and recommend the best option for your aesthetic goals.

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