It can get pretty hard keeping track of the numerous noninvasive fat procedures out there. Two of the leading treatments, CoolSculpting and SculpSure, offer various advantages that others just can’t live up to. Both of these have few risks and are quite effective, but because they break down fat down using distinct energy types and technology, it is necessary to highlight some of their key differences so you can evaluate which will help you meet your goals.
How Do They Work?
Both procedures destroy fat cells and induce your body to remove them naturally. Whereas CoolSculpting’s applicators emit extremely cold temperatures to freeze fat cells, SculpSure’s applicators emit lasers to heat and break down your adipose tissue. SculpSure falls under the broad category of noninvasive laser liposuction, which frankly has almost nothing in common with liposuction besides the name.
CoolSculpting sessions last roughly 30 minutes to an hour, varying according to the treated area and amount of fat to be targeted. SculpSure procedures last 25 minutes. Both typically require multiple sessions for optimal results.
Both procedures are extremely safe and FDA-approved. CoolSculpting received approval slightly earlier (2012 vs. 2015), meaning it has been tested more thoroughly.
SculpSure alternates between cycles of hot and cold designed to prevent your skin from feeling pain during the procedure. The applicators used can also adjust according to the patient’s pain tolerance, allowing you to ask your care provider to turn down the heat when necessary. After receiving SculpSure, you may have to contend with minor stiffness and soreness, but overall the aftereffects are minimal.
CoolSculpting remains cold, as you may have figured, throughout the duration of the procedure, and can cause a feeling of numbness that some patients describe as uncomfortable. This numbness actually serves as a relief for most patients, as the first five minutes typically feel quite painful as the body acclimates to the cold-induced pain. When the suction cup is removed from the body at the conclusion of your session, you may feel mild pain as well. Following the treatment, the numbness may not go away all that quickly, lingering around in a way that isn’t too painful but can be unsettling for some. The massage following a CoolSculpting session may also cause significant discomfort, as it must be vigorous enough to destroy damaged but not broken-down fat cells. Despite the numbness and some redness in the area, you should have no problem returning to your routine life the day of the procedure.
CoolSculpting and SculpSure both can require multiple sessions, meaning the cost of each highly depends on the region and extent of fat to be removed. That being said, CoolSculpting prices generally fall in the $2,000 to $4,000 range per session, with a SculpSure session costing roughly half that amount.
CoolSculpting trials demonstrated the procedure results in a fat reduction of up to 22 percent in treated areas, with a similar amount of 24 percent for SculpSure. Note that results vary from patient to patient and that CoolSculpting has more handpieces that can be used on smaller body parts that SculpSure cannot treat.
Both procedures require similar waiting periods for results to become apparent thanks to both prompting the removal of broken-down fat via the lymphatic system. After a couple of weeks, you will begin to notice bodily changes, but full results for CoolSculpting and SculpSure require roughly three months to show. With SculpSure you will have to wait between four and six weeks for your follow-up treatment, while with CoolSculpting you want to wait as long as possible—up to 16 weeks—for results to show before coming in for a follow-up.