Emsculpt vs. Coolsculpting Comparison

I'm contemplating getting a non-invasive fat reduction treatment. I can't decide between Emsculpt and Coolsculpting. Does anyone have advice on which is better and why? 


F, 35, New York

Tags:excess fat

Non-invasive treatments for body contouring have taken an exciting leap forward over the past several years with devices using radiofrequency, cryolipolysis, and electromagnetic pulses all to avoid or complement surgical results.

CoolSculpting (acquired by Allergan) has been on the market longer than EMSculpt, has a different approach to body contouring, and is used to treat many areas of the body. CoolSculpting can be associated with little discomfort during the procedure, but has had some questionable side effects such as pain, paresthesias (numbness, tingling, etc.), and hardening of treatment areas. Cryolipolysis is the way in which CoolSculpting leads to fat reduction and takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the machine's model (newer machines treat an area in 30 minutes). No preparations, numbing, or downtime is required with this procedure. Average costs in NY/NJ area for the abdomen range from $1,000 to upwards of $3,000/session with typical recommendations of 2-3 sessions to achieve desired results. With greater longevity of the product, the research and vast number of results varies but overwhelmingly tends to be a popular route for individuals looking strictly for fat reduction. 

EMSculpt (by BTL) is the new kid on the block and is making waves in the non-invasive body contouring space with their revolutionary approach to fat reduction and muscle building: using electromagnetic pulsations to cause supramaximal muscle contractions which replicate the same contractions attempted with reps at the gym. EMSculpt is non-radiating, non-thermal, and non-ionizing which sets itself apart from current therapies. The procedure boasts that it replicates 20,000 sit ups or 20,000 squats in one 30 minute session, and many use this as a way to fight plateaus or jump start their new workout regimen. No preparations are required before the procedure and there is no downtime. The contractions themselves feel unique and likened to true muscle contractions with working out, but typically do not cause residual soreness that could be a deterrent to those committing to their recommended 4 to 6 treatments (spread out over 2 to 3 weeks with one to two days off between treatments). Average pricing ranges from $750 to $1,000/session but can vary greatly by practice location and required number of paddles (the portion of the machine applied to the area of treatment, 2 paddles required for treatment would cost more than 1 paddle).  

I recommend meeting with your local board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon who has one or both of these devices for a consult regarding your specific concerns. You should also discuss whether or not you have any specific past medical history or implantable devices that would be considered a contraindication for either procedure. Lastly, is so important that you continue to do your research and be an educated patient/consumer before undergoing any elective procedure, so I commend you on your maturity in seeking out credible information.

Keep researching and good luck!

Jeanine Downie, MD

EMSCULPT and CoolSculpting work differently and focus on improving different aspects of the body - all without surgery.  Emsculpt is used for building muscle and tightening the waist and decreasing fat in the buttock or abdomen, whereas CoolSculpting is strictly for decreasing bulges of fat.

The most common areas for Emsculpt are the buttock (The non-surgical buttlift) and the abdominal area to increase muscle strength and muscle tone. This can decrease that lower belly pooch and slim the waist.  Emsculpt has even been shown to improve diastasis, the muscle separation in the abdominal wall after pregnancy.  There has been some decrease in the fat in the abdominal area treatment protocol. But no volume loss is seen in the Non-surgical butt lift protocol.

CoolSculpting decreases fat bulges and can sometimes tighten skin.  Its a very popular treatment and commonly treats muffin tops, love handles, belly, upper arms, hips and the double chin.

Both of these treatments are non-invasive and have no downtine to minimal downtime.

We are finding these treatments are complementary to each other.  Since EMSCULPT is new the best way to use the 2 treatments is still being developed.  Look for new developments over the next year!

Ken Oleszek, MD

La Fontaine Aesthetics

Denver, Colorado