How I Finally Stopped Bellyaching About Belly Fat
by Cosmetic Blogger Craig Mason
So I’ve reached middle age, and I’m more concerned about the middle than I am about the age. I’m referring, of course, to the middle of my body. Belly fat. It’s scary how often those website ads promising to reveal the secret to getting rid of belly fat appear when I’m scanning the Internet.
Of course, there isn’t really a secret. If there was, I would’ve discovered it by now because I’ve been researching the heck out of the best ways to remove this blob from my midsection. But I’m trying to bust a gut without busting my budget. That’s a little more challenging.
My diet is actually pretty good and I follow a healthy exercise routine. I could eat a little less meat and maybe commit to an extra workout session each week, but I doubt that’s going to put much of a dent in the belly. I’m really looking for a solution that gets more immediate results. The choice boils down to liposuction or CoolSculpting®, which is a fairly new option that kills fat without surgery.
Each option has advantages and drawbacks, and I’ve spent a good deal of time reading information about both procedures. The choice, according to the website of Dr. Daryl K. Hoffman, a plastic surgeon who offers both liposuction and Coolsculpting at his practice near San Jose, “depends on your preferences, the amount of fat you wish to target, and the areas of your body you’d like to treat.”
“The CoolSculpting procedure is well-suited to the abdomen, hips, thighs, and back. Liposuction is a bit more versatile and can be performed on larger areas of fat, as well as specific parts of the body such as the neck or around the knees,” the site says.
CoolSculpting “freezes” fat cells using a controlled cooling process called Cryolipolysis®, which targets fat cells without damaging the skin or surrounding tissue. Fat cells die when cooled to a certain low temperature, but skin and other cells can handle it and aren’t damaged at all.
When deciding between liposuction or CoolSculpting, there are a few things to consider:
- Recovery time: Even though the incisions are really, really small, liposuction is still surgery. Outpatient surgery, but still surgery. In other words, you’ll need to take some time off work. The downtime could be up to a week, depending on how quickly your body recovers. CoolSculpting, on the other hand, involves little to no downtime. I’d probably take a day off, but that’s it.
- Budget: It’s probably obvious that liposuction is going to cost more than a CoolSculpting treatment (or even 2 treatments.) But the results are more dramatic. There is no dispute that liposuction removes much more fat than CoolSculpting. Is that a better bang for the buck? It really depends on if you have the money — or are willing to finance the surgery — to get liposuction. Costs vary depending on what part of the country you have the procedure done and the training of the physician, but the average cost of CoolSculpting for one area of the body is a shade below $2,000. The average cost of liposuction, according to the popular plastic surgery website RealSelf, is $6,000.
- Your body: Some people are better candidates for one procedure than the other. Only a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon can help someone decide what’s best in their case. Either way, patients should have realistic expectations about the outcome. Neither liposuction nor CoolSculpting is meant to be a weight-loss procedure. A typical CoolSculpting patient will lose about 20% to 25% of fat in the treatment area, while liposuction generally removes 80% to 90% of the fat.
- Your timeline: Finally, the decision may come down to patience. How long am I willing to wait to see the results? With liposuction, the fat is suctioned out and is gone forever. Once the swelling and bruising subside, I’ll have a flat tummy. That’s a couple of weeks, max. CoolSculpting’s results emerge gradually as the fat cells die off and are naturally purged from the body. It can be 2 to 4 months before you see the new you.
No decision, yet. I’m, um, still weighing the options. My next step is a consultation with a plastic surgeon. I’m determined to move forward, though, and finally do something about this bulge I’ve been carrying around. It’s good to take that step. I think I already feel lighter…