So you’re looking for a non-invasive way to reduce fat and contour your body, but you’re a bit stymied by the options out there? We look at the two leaders in the category of non-invasive fat reduction treatments, CoolSculpting and SculpSure, to discover which one might be right for you.
What is CoolSculpting?
CoolSculpting is a FDA-approved procedure from Zeltiq that delivers controlled cooling energy to freeze your fat cells. It is also called Cryolipolysis or fat freezing.
A suction-based applicator draws both the skin and underlying fat into the handpiece delivering cooling energy which over the course of the treatment time freezes and crystallizes the fat cells. Because suction has to be applied you must have pinchable fat in order to have this treatment, someone with a small problem area may not be a candidate for this procedure.
Following treatment, which takes approximately 1 hour per area, the applicator is removed and the area looks similar to a stick of butter as the area has taken the shape of the applicator. The area is massaged to break and fragment the crystallized fat cells. These pieces are filtered and eliminated by the body over the course of several months.
How is CoolSculpting able to freeze the fat cells and not damage the skin? Well it’s because fat is more sensitive to temperature than your skin, so the fat cells freeze before the skin freezes. CoolSculpting is a non-invasive procedure that offers permanent results.
There is some discomfort associated with this procedure. Patients have reported discomfort with the suction applicator and during the freezing process. Most say it becomes numb after a period of time.
After the treatment is complete it is common to have soreness and bruising. You may also experience tingling or a burning sensation in the area once the nerves in the treated area awaken. Recovery really depends on the person, but it is marketed as a no down-time procedure.
The need for several treatments is common with most non-invasive fat reduction procedures including CoolSculpting. It is important to remember that results are not instant and it can take weeks or even months to see any change.
What is SculpSure?
Cynosure’s SculpSure is a FDA-approved non-invasive, laser lipolysis treatment to reduce fat. It uses precise hyperthermic energy or in layman’s terms, heat to target and eliminate fat cells. It uses a 1060nm Diode laser to raise the temperature of the fat cells, once heated the injured cells are ejected from the adipose tissue.
These ejected and damaged fat cells are filtered off by the body over the course of several weeks and months. During treatment the surface skin is receiving cooling to protect the skin and it offers a more comfortable treatment experience.
Because fat heats up faster than it freezes a SculpSure treatment takes a fraction of the time CoolSculpting does. The SculpSure device has four laser applicators that lay flat on the skin, so there is no uncomfortable suction involved.
Additionally, because the applicators lay flat on the skin, SculpSure can treat smaller problem areas (you don’t have to have pinchable fat to be treated). These applicators can also treat a larger surface area.
It takes twenty-five minutes; total; to run the four applicators. The number of applicators needed will depend on the area(s) you are having treated.
Patients have reported feeling sensations of warmth, tingling and/or a cramping feeling during treatment that ranged from intense to mild. Overall, the SculpSure procedure is well tolerated by patients, the short treatment time helps.
Following SculpSure treatment you may have some mild tenderness in the area, but no pain or bruising has been reported. You are able to return to normal activity immediately.
Several treatments may be necessary to achieve the best results. Similar to CoolSculpting, results with SculpSure are not instant it does take weeks or even months to see a reduction in the treated area.
The results are permanent. Cynosure, the makers of SculpSure, report up to a 24% fat reduction in the treatment area.
Okay, So Which One is Better?
SculpSure, a newer technology, offers several advantages. First, it can target multiple areas at one time, which saves money and time. Treatment time is only 25 minutes. The laser also gives you the added benefit of skin tightening not offered by other fat reduction procedures. Meanwhile, CoolSculpting takes one hour or more and has no skin tightening effects.
Also, in CoolSculpting the applicator pulls and sucks in the skin, which means that areas to be treated must be limited to body areas large enough to be pinched by the applicator. In general, the suction applicator simply isn’t as precise as the SculpSure laser.
Patients of Coolsculpting have reported bruising and pain post procedure. Some patients have seen additional complications, such as nerve damage caused by extreme cold and uneven demarcation between treated and untreated areas.
Conversely, SculpSure lays flat on the skin and can treat a larger area at one time. Post procedure there is minimal tenderness; you are able to return to normal activity immediately with no bruising or pain. To date there have been no reports of complication post procedure with SculpSure.
Both treatments are considered to be viable options for non-invasive fat reduction, offering good, long-term effects. It is always recommended for you to do your homework in order to choose which procedure is right for you. If you’re truly interested in a non-invasive procedure to help reduce fat consult a physician to find out what’s right for you.