Tummy Tuck vs. CoolSculpting: Comparing the Top Flat Stomach Treatments

Posted by Dr. Patrick Proffer on December 3, 2019

No body area causes more frustration than your stomach. As you go through the emotional and physical changes of aging, childbirth, and natural weight fluctuations, you’re bound to find excess fat around your abdomen.


Diet and exercise don’t always tone this difficult area. In fact, they can make it worse. As you lose weight and tone the rest of your body, you may make the extra weight on your stomach even more pronounced.

You know it’s time to try a flat stomach treatment, but you don’t know which to choose. Tummy tucks are tried-and-true treatments, yet topical treatments like CoolSculpting have become increasingly popular.

So which one is right for you?

In this article, we’ll break down how each treatment differs, their side effects, and the unique benefits of each.

Restore your flat tummy with a tummy tuck 

A tummy tuck is designed to restore your toned abdomen, perhaps like you haven’t seen in years.

The process of a tummy tuck (otherwise known as an abdominoplasty) works by a surgeon making small incisions below your bikini line, through which they remove both excess skin and tighten your abdomen muscles.

You can diet and exercise all you want. Unfortunately, you can’t get a toned stomach unless you get rid of the excess skin, which a tummy tuck does.

If you choose to get a tummy tuck, you’ll need to make a few considerations before surgery:

  • Stop smoking––Smoking decreases your blood flow before surgery and can slow your healing process.
  • Medication—Stop taking anti-inflammatory drugs, which can increase bleeding.
  • Prepare for recovery—Arrange plans for someone to drive you home from the surgery and have someone stay with you during early recovery.

The treatment itself is safe and effective, and targets three main issues:

  • Excess skin
  • Excess fat
  • Separation between abdominal muscles

You may also experience certain side benefits:

  • Improved core stability
  • Relief from back pain
  • Reduced bloating

Although you may go into the treatment thinking you want to get rid of abdominal fat, the main benefit of a tummy tuck is that it tightens your abdominal muscles and gets rid of loose skin. In fact, it may be the only way to get rid of loose, sagging skin and stretch marks after pregnancy or significant weight loss.

Once recovery starts, the first few weeks will be very limited activity. No lifting, pushing, or carrying anything over 20 pounds for the first 6 weeks. At your 3 month follow-up appointment, your surgeon will lift restrictions and limitations on physical activity based on your healing. 

Due to some stiffness and discomfort, it may take several days to a week before you’re able to comfortably stand upright after surgery. You may also have a few small scars, but they will be hidden beneath your bikini line and a small one around your belly button, which will be relocated.

The results of a tummy tuck are permanent. You’ll feel more confident in your clothes, and you won’t have to choose loose-fitting outfits to accommodate your stomach anymore. As such, this treatment is perfect for women in their 40s and 50s who have finished giving childbirth.

Target Troublesome Fat With CoolSculpting

There’s been a rise of treatments that give “tummy tuck results” over your lunch break, the most popular of which is a body sculpting procedure called CoolSculpting (otherwise known as cryolipolysis).

CoolSculpting treatment only takes about 35 minutes and is effective in smaller areas, but in reality, you can’t get the same results of a tummy tuck with CoolSculpting.

CoolSculpting a surface-level procedure that works by freezing your fat cells to kill them off. It results in up to a 25 percent reduction in subcutaneous fat in the treatment area, but 14 percent of people who use it don’t see any improvements. As such, CoolSculpting is better for people who only need to reduce superficial fat.

While most patients experience redness, tingling, and numbness, most of those side effects go away in a matter of days. However, there is one major side effect to consider before getting this procedure: paradoxical adipose hyperplasia, otherwise known as the stick of butter effect.

Here’s how it happens:

For a small number of CoolSculpting patients, instead of disintegrating, the fat in the treatment area responds to the cold by:

  • Expanding
  • Hardening
  • Staying in an unnaturally shaped lump (like a stick of butter under your skin)

Though rare, if this happens, you will have to have it treated with another procedure, likely a liposuction to remove the growth.

CoolScuplting doesn’t affect the most important issues that tummy tucks treat: the underlying muscle separation and sagging skin that leads to abdominal insecurities.

Get The Flat Stomach You Deserve 

Before deciding between a tummy tuck and CoolSculpting, you’ll need to assess your needs and your goals. At Proffer Surgical Associates, we understand that electing to have surgery is a big decision.    AdobeStock_243218540

We believe you deserve to feel good about your body. When you’re unsure of how to make that happen again, it’s easy to give up and accept your body the way it is. However, body transformation is more attainable than ever.

To get help deciding which stomach treatment is right for you, schedule a consultation. We’ll talk you through your options and help you make the best decision for long-term results.




Topics: Plastic Surgery, tummy tuck