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Fat Freezing vs Fat Melting | Coolsculpting vs Sculpsure

Fat freezing (Coolsculpting) and fat-melting (Sculpsure) are non-surgical treatments that aim to reduce fat. So how do they stack up? So First, let us go over the comparison: Coolsculpting vs sculpsure. For many decades liposuction provided the only option for aesthetic body contouring until the emergence of non-surgical body sculpting options. Though they are not comparable with liposuction, they have provided a valuable option for people to treat unwanted fat without surgery. The two main non-surgical options are fat freezing (Coolsculpting) and fat-melting (Sculpsure) provide consistent results with no downtime.

Fat Freezing vs Fat Melting | Coolsculpting vs Sculpsure

Fat-freezing was the first non-surgical liposuction alternative, with Coolsculpting, Cooltech and Clatuu being the leading contenders. Later, fat-melting techniques like Vanquish (radiofrequency) and Sculpsure (1060 laser) became popular. However, despite newer methods on the market, fat freezing has remained the most consistent treatment option, with millions of treatments worldwide and significant amounts of research into its action.  So, what are the differences between fat freezing and fat-melting body contouring treatments and how does Coolscupting compare with SculpSure?

Both fat freezing and fat-melting procedures have the same primary purpose: to target and injure the fat cells to reduce the fat in treated areas permanently. Coolscupting was the first fat cooling procedure approved in America in 2011, while SculpSure was approved in 2015. Because fat freezing has been around for longer, many more studies and evidence of its efficacy exist.

Fat Freezing

Fat freezing or cryolipolysis uses cold temperatures to reduce body fat. The machine uses an applicator to suck the unwanted fat into a cup, where the fat is cooled down to freezing temperatures. This causes the fat cells to freeze or crystalise, and approximately 25% of the treated fat cells undergo apoptosis (a controlled cell death). The body then mounts a response to break down and clear the treated fat cells through natural metabolic processes.  The term cryolipolysis is now patented by CoolSculpting. However, all fat freezing machines can target many body areas, with tummy, love handles, upper arms and inner thighs being the most popular. Surrounding tissue is protected because fat is more susceptible and freezes at a higher temperature to skin and muscle. In addition, a gel pad (essentially anti-freeze gel) is applied to the skin before the applicator cup is used for added protection.

  • Fat freezing is better for people with essentially normal BMI for spot reduction of unwanted fat.
  • One to three treatments are required.
  • Results develop over 6 – 12 weeks.
  • Treatments take last 30 – 70 minutes per area (depending on the fat freezing machine).
  • Consistently provide around  25% reduction in fat in treated areas.

Fat Freezing Procedure:

During the treatment, aching, cramping, tingling, and tugging are common symptoms of Coolsculpting and Cooltech. However, these sensations fade within 5-10 minutes as the fat freezing process cools and numbs the area.

Fat Freezing Results and Recovery

  • After treatment, there is redness and occasionally bruising. The area is massaged, and this can be pretty uncomfortable.
  • You can return to work immediately after treatment
  • There can be delayed pain response

Fat Freezing Drawbacks

Coolsculpting and Cooltech have some undesirable outcomes. For example, it can cause irregular skin indents if the treatments are not applied correctly.  In addition, there can be a delayed pain response associated with fat freezing (nerve pain), which is very intense and requires pain relief. There is also a rare incidence of paradoxical adipose hyperplasia associated with cryolipolysis (the fat increases in the local area, rather than decreasing).

Fat Melting

Fat melting, as the name implies, uses different types of energy to raise the temperature of the fat to a point where it undergoes apoptosis. The fat cells are then cleared through the same processes as for fat freezing. The first effective treatment used radiofrequency, and these included the BTL Exilis and Vanquish. Another option, the Sculpsure, which uses a 1064 laser, was introduced in 2015. The Sculpsure has continued to improve with later models providing consistent fat reduction results in treated areas. Whereas the Vanquish works with a no-contact radiofrequency field, the Sculpsure is used to spot treat areas of fat. Radiofrequency techniques last up to 12 months, whereas the Sculpsure reports permanent reduction through fat melting. So, we will focus on Sculpsure.

Sculpsure Fat Melting

  • Sculpsure is laser-based and works on men and women of various body types. However, it is still indicated for a BMI less than 30.
  • Treatment time is 25 minutes per area, but multiple areas (1-4) can be treated simultaneously.
  • Multiple treatments are required to achieve a satisfactory reduction in fat.
  • Provides 24% reduction in fat in the area

Sculpsure Procedure

  • The SculpSure uses a device that is wrapped around the treated area like a belt.
  • The 1060 diode laser reaches temperatures between 42-47 degrees Celsius
  • The treatment cycle alternates between heating and cooling to protect the skin
  • During the heating phases, there may be discomfort with sensations of heat or tingling. However, the procedure is generally well tolerated.

Sculpsure Results and Recovery

  • Afterwards, there may be stiffness, soreness and even bruising.
  • Results begin to appear between 6-12 weeks.
  • Because it is a relatively new procedure, research is still ongoing on the effects on the body.

CoolSculpting vs SculpSure: Comparison Summary

The Sculpsure procedure uses a device wrapped around the treated area like a belt to heat and cool the fat. Results begin to appear between 6-12 weeks because it is a relatively new procedure research is still ongoing on the effects on the body. SculpSure sessions are usually 25 minutes long and spaced out by six weeks. Results become visible 6-12 weeks. It is suitable for those who lead a healthy lifestyle and wish to reduce localised fat. Initially, fat-melting may cause swelling and bruising.

Fat freezing or cryolipolysis uses cold temperatures to reduce body fat. This causes the fat cells to freeze or crystalise, and approximately 25% of the treated fat cells undergo apoptosis. Fat freezing machines can target many body areas, with tummy, love handles and inner thighs being the most popular. CoolSculpting requires a more extended session. However, the treatment option has no downtime. Fat freezing is well researched, with the efficacy as well as unexpected outcomes well understood.

Disclosure: At Pearl, we provide fat freezing Brisbane using the Cooltech machine. Though we have tried to be balanced, this represents a conflict of interest.

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