We often have patients ask what is the best non-surgical device we offer for fat reduction – CoolSculpting or Vanquish? Since we offer both CoolSculpting and Vanquish, let’s take the opportunity to compare the devices.
CoolSculpting is the older technology, and because we were the first plastic surgery office in Michigan to offer the treatment, we have seen many results over the past years, some favorable others less so. CoolSculpting is FDA cleared and uses “cryolipolisis” or fat freezing to target the fat cells. The CoolSculpting device works somewhat like a vacuum with paddles that suck the fat between the paddles. At first the device feels very cold, and sometimes a bit uncomfortable for about 2 minutes. After the fat is frozen, the area is rarely uncomfortable. The patient is free to watch TV, read, or work on their laptop while the treatment takes place. The treatment takes about an hour per treatment area.
After an hour, the device is removed. The skin and fat which have been in the application device appear raised and frozen. The nurse or medical aesthetician then massages the area briefly until the area resumes a normal appearance. The area can remain red, and for some patients, a bit painful for several hours. There is however, no real downtime and activities can be resumed immediately based on comfort level. Some patients report a burning sensation or some temporary discomfort after the treatment.
Each side of the flanks is one area, and the abdomen is often considered two areas if upper and lower abdomen are treated. There is also a fairly new applicator for the thigh area, which requires one treatment per each side. The hours, and the expense with CoolSculpting can add up rather quickly.
Early protocol suggested that CoolSculpting was a one treatment per area solution. Later, new protocols suggest that multiple treatments per area were more effective. Anticipated results with CoolSculpting are about 20% fat reduction of the area that was treated, so it is somewhat dependent upon how much fat fits into the paddle area. The results take about 3 months to be fully realized, and treatments can be repeated.
Vanquish is a newer, FDA cleared, radiofrequency technology that also kills fat cells that are later eliminated through the body’s natural processes. The Vanquish applicator does not come in direct contact with the patient, but rather is placed right over the body. The fat cells are heated to 110 degrees Fahrenheit thereby killing them while preserving the surrounding tissue. The surface of the skin does not heat above 101 degrees. The patient needs to be well hydrated before and after the treatment for best results, and the treatment takes approximately 30 minutes. The treatment panels are much larger than with CoolSculpting, so the flanks and abdomen can be treated together for more uniform fat reduction. The area can feel very warm, much like an electric blanket. Most patients find it very comfortable and even fall asleep during the treatment. Vanquish requires about 4-6 treatment sessions spaced one week apart. Many patients report seeing reduction of fat in the area shortly after the first treatment, but the company suggests that over the treatment sessions, most patients realize about a 2 ½ inch reduction in fat or 59% or the fat cells in the area treated. . There is also an applicator for the thighs, which is more comfortable than the CoolSculpting applicator. Like CoolSculpting full results are realized about one month after the final treatment.
Neither CoolSculpting nor Vanquish are weight reduction procedures, but rather provide body contouring and fat reduction. The results from either of these devices will not be as dramatic as with liposuction where more fat is removed at one time and more body sculpting is possible. We feel there is a place is our practice for both devices; those who have a very isolated area of fat in the abdomen may prefer CoolSculpting, whereas those who have fat that is more distributed throughout the trunk and flanks may prefer Vanquish. We like to offer safe, effective options for our patients, and both of these fat reduction devices are great options for patients with realistic expectations of what they can and can’t accomplish.
If you would like more information about our non-surgical fat reduction procedures, please contact Dr. Ringler for a private consultation.