Many adults struggle with unwanted fat. Despite diet and exercise — and even if they reach their target weight — they just can’t seem to get rid of those pockets of fat in their problem areas.
“We see many patients, both men and women, who are frustrated that they just can’t get the results they want on their own,” says Dr. Jody Comstock, a board-certified dermatologist at Skin Spectrum Dermatology Tucson in Arizona. “Even though they may be happy with the number on the scale, they want to get rid of the excess fat that they can’t seem to lose, no matter how hard they try.”
Problem areas are located in different places for different people but often are found in the midsection, hips, buttocks, upper arms and neck.
“One of the great things about new procedures is that they allow us to target and treat specific areas in effective and non-invasive ways,” Dr. Comstock says.
Two forms of body contouring treatments that are gaining popularity today are CoolSculpting and truSculpt. While it used to be that people had to use more invasive procedures such as liposuction to get rid of those extra pockets of fat, today’s new treatments are less invasive, can be performed more quickly and have less downtime.
TruSculpt vs. CoolSculpting
CoolSculpting and truSculpt share a lot of features. Both can be used when someone is looking for a non-invasive procedure, which means it doesn’t require an incision, needles or anesthesia. Both are used to destroy fat cells, although each takes a very different approach to the process. And, in both cases, the results are permanent; once the fat cells are eliminated from your body, they are gone for good.
(However, it is important to keep in mind that, just as with liposuction and other body contouring procedures, it will not prevent you from gaining weight in other fat cells afterward, so you’ll want to continue practicing healthy habits to maintain your desired look.)
While CoolSculpting, as the name implies, uses extreme cold, truSculpt relies on heat to get rid of excess fat. Here’s a look at how the two procedures work:
Freezing Away Fat With CoolSculpting
CoolSculpting, which was developed by Harvard University researchers, destroys fat cells by freezing them. After the cells are frozen, your body will process and eliminate the fat cells naturally.
The results of CoolSculpting are long term, and you will begin seeing them as soon as three weeks after receiving treatment. Overall, you can expect to see the most dramatic changes after two months, although in some cases, patients continue seeing a transformation of their body for up to six months.
How It Works: CoolSculpting uses a vacuum applicator to apply extremely low temperatures to targeted areas. The controlled cooling will freeze the fat cells in that area.
While the procedure is being performed, you may feel some discomfort, which can feel like a tugging or tingling sensation. Afterward, you might have some temporary side effects, such as redness, swelling, bruising, tenderness, aching and skin sensitivity. These are normal, but not all patients experience them. Rarely, patients can have some deeper discomfort. Discuss this with your doctor; he or she can recommend effective medication. Side effects will subside in three to 10 days, and they are not extreme enough to require rest or recovery time.
The amount of time spent getting the procedure is typically 35 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the area being treated. Less time will be required if more than one device is used simultaneously on different areas — a process called dualsculpting. Depending on how many areas you’d like to have treated, or how much contouring you’re looking for, additional visits may be required.
Who’s a Good Candidate: CoolSculpting is beneficial for both men and women who are healthy and at or near their target weight, but still have problem areas that they can’t get rid of through diet or exercise. It is not recommended for people who are obese, pregnant, have had recent surgeries, have diseases of the lymphatic system or have a history of eating disorders.
TruSculpt Melts Away Unwanted Fat
How It Works: TruSculpt uses a special applicator to deliver radio-frequency energy that heats the layers of fat below the skin. As the treatment progresses and the higher temperature is sustained, it creates a warming sensation that is not only melting fat cells but also stimulating the skin and encouraging it to produce extra collagen, which helps keep the skin healthy and toned.
A typical truSculpt procedure lasts about an hour, and it does not require downtime afterward. It can be done on all skin types and multiple areas can be treated during one session.
Results will start to be visible four weeks to three months after treatment begins, as the body processes and then eliminates the melted fat cells.
Many patients choose to have multiple treatments to get the best results, and you can work with your doctor to create a treatment plan during your initial visit. Since each patient is different and has different goals, as well as their own individual challenges, it’s important that you work with your truSculpt care provider to create a plan that is tailored specifically to you.
Who’s a Good Candidate: TruSculpt is also beneficial for both men and women who are healthy and near their target weight, but still have problem areas that they can’t get rid of through diet or exercise. However, it is not recommended for pregnant women or for people with pacemakers, internal defibrillators or metallic implants.
What Else Do I Need to Know About CoolSculpting and TruSculpt?
Both CoolSculpting and truSculpt are effective, FDA-approved body contouring procedures. The results may be seen as early as two weeks, with final results closer to two to three months after treatment.
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