CoolSculpting® vs. EMSCULPT®: Which One Is Right for You?

Woman in Atlanta, GA considering non-surgical body contouring options

With the number of nonsurgical body contouring treatments increasing, knowing which one is right for you can be confusing. Many seem to include “sculpt” in the name, but not all of the treatments are the same. We offer both EMSCULPT and CoolSculpting at our Buckhead med spa, and we regularly answer the question, “What’s the difference?” for patients.

In this blog post, I’ll explain the procedures’ differences—and their similarities—and describe how each treatment works.

The Differences Between CoolSculpting and EMSCULPT

Even though both of the treatments can be considered body contouring procedures, CoolSculpting’s primary goal is to reduce fat, whereas EMSCULPT tones muscle.

CoolSculpting uses controlled cooling to “freeze” targeted fat cells in the treatment area, which are then naturally metabolized from the body. The process used by CoolSculpting, called cryolipolysis, works because fat cells begin dying when cooled to temperatures that don’t damage the skin or other tissues.

Specialized CoolSculpting applicators are attached to the treatment area to cool it gradually. (Virtually any area of the body, from under the chin to the calves, can be treated.) Patients relax during the procedure, scrolling through smartphones or tablets, or even napping. There’s no downtime following the treatment and minimal side effects, such as redness and swelling.

An EMSCULPT treatment, on the other hand, uses advanced, high-intensity focused electromagnetic technology to stimulate thousands of involuntary muscle contractions during a single treatment session. It essentially simulates completing 20,000 sit-ups in 30 minutes, toning the abdominal and gluteus muscles if you target both areas during a single appointment. After the treatment, you can expect to feel soreness similar to what you might experience after an extremely strenuous workout. The procedure does burn fat, but EMSCULPT is primarily for muscle toning.

What Are the Similarities?

Both CoolSculpting and EMSCULPT are FDA-approved procedures, although CoolSculpting’s track record for safety is more extensive. (EMSCULPT was introduced in 2018; CoolSculpting came to the market in 2010.) Since their initial approvals, both procedures have continued to expand the number of areas they treat.

CoolSculpting treats the abdomen, flanks, thighs, upper arms, neck fat, calves, bra fat, and lower back fat.

In addition to the abdomen and buttocks, EMSCULPT was approved in 2019 to tone the arms and calves with small contoured applicators.

It’s also important to note that neither CoolSculpting nor EMSCULPT are designed as weight-loss treatments. The best candidates for both procedures are already at or very close to the weight they want to maintain but have areas they want to tone. The only way to know for sure which treatment is best for you is to consult personally with a treatment provider.

You can contact our med spa in Buckhead using the online form to book now or call our office at (404) 233-3937 to schedule an appointment. If you want to see the type of results CoolSculpting produces, visit our gallery of before-and-after photos featuring some of our actual patients.

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