Body contouring, also known as body sculpting is a non-invasive treatment that changes the shape of the body to achieve a variety of effects. It may change the circumference of a body area such as the waist or thighs, change the body’s silhouette by reducing areas of fat, improve the tone and firmness of muscles, or improve the appearance of cellulite. Unlike surgical options, body contouring does not involve incisions or the removal of any tissue, resulting in minimal downtime.
Coolsculpting® was the first body contouring device to be cleared by the FDA in 2010 and is based on the science of cryolipolysis. Over the last decade, technologies have advanced, giving consumers more options and other mechanisms for fat reduction. Here we will be comparing two of the most popular body contouring devices on the market, coolsculpting® and truSculpt®.
truSculpt® and coolsculpting® are both FDA cleared fat reduction devices, yet they use different technologies, making for a completely different treatment experience.
Rather than freezing fat, truSculpt® uses monopolar radio frequency (RF) energy to heat and destroy fat cells. Up to six temperature-controlled handpieces are placed on the targeted areas using double-sided adhesive. Each handpiece maintains the skin surface at a comfortable temperature between 43°C and 45°C, allowing for deep volumetric heating of the tissue without damaging the skin. This irreversibly damages the fat cells which are then, flushed out from the body. Using RF energy also increases collagen production and tightens the treated skin simultaneously, something coolsculpting® cannot do.
Coolsculpting® uses intensely cold temperatures to freeze and destroy fat cells in a process known as cryolipolysis. During the treatment, a targeted area of pinchable fat must be drawn into an applicator by a vacuum to decrease blood circulation and prevent the body from regulating its own temperature. The targeted area remains suctioned for the duration of the treatment, and is cooled to -11°C. Because fat cells are uniquely sensitive to cold, the controlled cooling kills the fat cells. The body’s immune system slowly clears the damaged fat cells, causing the fat bulge to become smaller over time.
In contrast to other non-invasive body contouring technologies, truSculpt® achieves an average of 24% fat reduction in a single 15-minute session, making it the most efficient device on the market. In addition to fat reduction, the RF energy has an added benefit of skin tightening and can be safely used on all skin types and over tattoos. Results are visibly seen 8-12 weeks after the treatment.
Some patients claim they see can results after a single session. However, to achieve the desired results, patients should expect to undergo a series of coolsculpting® treatments. After three 35 minute treatments, the average fat reduction is 20% but can be as high as 25%. Unfortunately, the damaged fat cells are gradually eliminated by the body and take 4-6 months to see full results.
truSculpt® procedures are typically described as feeling like a warm stone massage. During treatment, the temperature of your skin in that targeted area will rise but remain comfortable. It’s effective, safe, and the results are even and consistent.
Coolsculpting® requires pinchable fat in order to treat, which is suctioned into the handpiece. Patients experience various sensations during the treatment including pinching, tugging, cramping, pulling and intense cold. Only the tissue directly in the handpiece is treated, requiring multiple treatment series for larger body areas like the abdomen.
After a truScuplt® treatment, the skin will be pink and may have some mild tenderness. This normally resolves on its own within a few hours. There is no downtime that would impede regular daily activities.
Coolsculpting® treatments leave patients bruised and swollen for several days and may limit routine activities. Although less common, devices that use cryolipolysis like coolsculpting® carry the risk of Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia (PAH). PAH is a phenomenon in which fatty tissue actually grows instead of shrinking. The treatment area becomes a raised, often rectangular bulge of hard, fatty tissue. PAH does not go away on its own and usually requires surgery to remove the visible bulge(s). This was the case with fashion model Linda Evangelista, who wrote in 2021, “It increased, not decreased, my fat cells and left me permanently deformed,” after her experience with coolsculpting®.
Do not use truSculpt® if you have:
Active implants, such as a pacemaker or an implanted cardioverter defibrillator
Metal under your skin from an implant or injury
Patients with one of the following cold sensitivity disorders should avoid coolsculpting®:
Raynaud’s disease, pernio, or chilblains—conditions in which cold temperatures cause poor blood circulation in the skin
Cold urticaria—a condition in which exposure to cold causes hives
Cryoglobulinemia—a condition in which clumps form in your blood when you are exposed to cold
Paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria or cold agglutinin disease—disorders in which red blood cells are damaged by cold temperatures
Poor blood circulation in the area to be treated
According to RealSelf, the average cost of truSculpt® in 2023 is $1987. The price ranges between $523-$4,000 depending on how many body areas are treated and number of treatments. However, most patients achieve their desired result from a single treatment, making truSculpt® more affordable than other body contouring devices.
Thousands of reviews from real patients on RealSelf reveal that the average cost of coolsculpting® in 2023 is $2,729. The cost for one body area ranges from $700 for a single treatment session to $7,000 or more, for a full treatment series. Although, most patients need an average of three treatments to reach coolsculpting’s® fat reduction potential.
truSculpt®: monopolar radio frequency (heat)
coolsculpting®: cryolipolysis (cold)
truSculpt®: 1 session = 24% average fat reduction
coolsculpting®: 3 sessions = 20% average fat reduction
truSculpt®: treatment compared to having a warm stone massage
coolsculpting®: patients experience pinching, tugging, cramping, pulling and intense cold
truSculpt®: skin will be pink with mild tenderness for a few hours
coolsculpting®: patients are bruised and swollen for several days, risk of PAH
truSculpt®: no pacemakers or metal implants in treatment area
coolsculpting®: no cold sensitivity disorders
truSculpt®: average $1,987
coolsculpting®: average $2,729
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