While diet and exercise have long been acknowledged as the best way to encourage fat loss, people have been seeking the help of cosmetic procedures for several decades. In the world of cosmetic fat removal, there are two big names that have long been battling for the crown – cryotherapy and liposuction. What are they, and which is better?
Cryotherapy, also known as cool sculpting, is a procedure that permanently removes fat cells by freezing them. It’s normally used to remove smaller amounts of stubborn fat and offers mild to moderate results.
During a cool sculpting treatment, the surgeon will apply a pad and applicator to the skin to freeze fat cells. A vacuum in the applicator sucks fat cells towards the skin to force them to make contact with the pad. After around 40 minutes of treatment, the surgeon massages the area to break up the fat crystals. Due to the nature of the application, cool sculpting is typically used on smaller areas of stubborn fat, like under the chin.
Cryotherapy is a fairly non-invasive procedure with minimal downtime that can permanently remove fat cells, provided you continue to follow a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
On the whole, cool sculpting is a fairly safe procedure with very minimal risks. Patients will likely experience some redness, bruising, numbness, or tingling in the area. Occasionally, cryotherapy can cause Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia, where the fat in the treated area grows larger.
One of the most well-documented cases of PAH was that of supermodel Linda Evangelista. In 2015 the A-lister underwent cool sculpting treatment on her chin, thighs and bra line. Within a few months of the treatments, she noticed that the areas that had been targeted started to grow before turning hard and going numb.
Her doctor diagnosed her with PAH – a rare side effect of cool sculpting. It led to Evangelista suffering from body dysmorphia and mental health issues and becoming a recluse for five years – she’s now suing the creators of cool sculpting for damages, including lost work.
While it’s a well-documented and rare side effect of the procedure, it can be devastating to sufferers. Often, PAH can be treated with liposuction as rather than freezing and breaking up fat cells; it removes them entirely.
Liposuction is a catch-all term for a variety of procedures that remove excess fat by breaking down the cells and extracting them.
One of the best forms of liposuction is VASER – it’s a more modern and technologically advanced form of the original procedure. It works by using high-frequency ultrasound waves to liquefy fat cells. Once broken down, the fat cells can then be extracted using ultra-fine suction.
VASER liposuction is minimally invasive and is typically much less damaging to surrounding tissues when compared to standard liposuction treatments.
Liposuction is a very versatile procedure – it’s powerful, which means it can be used across larger areas of the body like the abdomen, buttocks or thighs, but it’s also delicate enough to use on smaller areas like the underarms or jawline.
VASER Liposuction is highly versatile and can be used to sculpt areas rather than simply breaking down the fat. This allows the patient more control over how their body looks after the procedure. The surgeon can target specific areas of fat to remove for a result that’s bespoke to each patient.
Liposuction, particularly VASER liposuction, is a minimally invasive procedure. The surgeon only needs to make a few small incisions to insert the wand; the entire procedure takes a few hours, and recovery time takes anywhere from one day up to a week.
Liposuction is a safe procedure that has minimal complications. However, patients can expect some bruising, aching and bleeding after the procedure as well as some swelling.
In some rare cases, patients can experience hyperpigmentation at the site of the procedure. Occasionally patients find that the skin doesn’t adhere to the new body shape, which is why your specialist may also recommend skin-tightening treatments at the time of the initial procedure.
When deciding which procedure is best for you, you need to consider your lifestyle, the risks you’re willing to take, and the results you want to achieve.
Coolsculpting is less invasive than liposuction initially, but it only yields minor results. As with Linda Evangelista, there is also the risk of contracting PAH, which can be mentally damaging and may need to be remedied with liposuction.
On the other hand, Vaser liposuction is a minor procedure that is more invasive initially but can offer more long-term results and generally has fewer risks.
Ultimately, it’s down to personal choice and what is right for your needs. Booking a consultation with a specialist like Dr Comins will give you the opportunity to discuss your concerns, ask questions and receive the opinion of a professional with decades of experience. These consultations are no obligation – they are to make sure you have all of the information and the personalised advice for your situation so you can make a decision that you’re completely happy with.
To find out more and to book your consultation, get in touch with the Hans Place team today.