SculpSure® vs. CoolSculpting®: Is Sculpsure Better?

Our medical spa patients often have questions about these common fat reduction treatment methods. Both SculpSure® and CoolSculpting® permanently destroy fat cells and have widespread patient satisfaction. We evaluated both body contouring technologies and chose SculpSure for our Vancouver med spa patients who want proven nonsurgical fat reduction. Here’s what makes it our preferred method.

Does Sculpsure Really Work?

Yes, and it uses better technology, too.

  • CoolSculpting uses a process called cryolipolysis to freeze fat cells. The treated areas, including the surface of the skin and nerves, are exposed to extreme cold in order to destroy fat cells. The treatment area must be suctioned up against the cold applicator surface and held in place for about 1 hour.
  • SculpSure uses advanced laser technology that selectively targets and heats fat cells only. The applicators are held against the skin for 25 minutes, with no distortion of the tissue. No distortion means less discomfort and smoother transitions from the treated areas to the adjacent untreated areas. Read about actress Brooke Shields’ SculpSure experience in Prevention magazine.

In both cases, the destroyed fat cells are then naturally eliminated by the body over time. The skin surface and nerves are not affected by this treatment. You can see the excellent results our SculpSure patients enjoy in their before and after photos below and in our photo gallery.

Before & After SculpSure® Case 220 View #1 View in Vancouver, BC
Before & After SculpSure
Before & After SculpSure® Case 218 View #1 View in Vancouver, BC
Before & After SculpSure
Before & After SculpSure® Case 217 View #1 View in Vancouver, BC
Before & After SculpSure

Faster Treatment Time With SculpSure

  • SculpSure has the ability to target multiple areas in a single 25-minute treatment using 4 applicators of equal size. Smaller areas, such as the flanks, can be done in 25 minutes with SculpSure; the same area requires 2 applicator cycles (or 2 hours) with Coolsculpting.
  • Coolsculpting uses a single applicator, which comes in various sizes and shapes, for a 60-minute treatment.

How Painful Is Sculpsure?

SculpSure treatments are generally considered more comfortable.


  • During a Coolsculpting session, the treatment area needs to be suctioned into the applicator, which can be quite uncomfortable. After 5 minutes, the treatment area is “frozen,” so pain is minimal because the cold dulls it. At the end of the session, the frozen skin and fat need to thaw. This process, along with the recommended vigorous massage of the area immediately after removing the applicator, is also painful for many patients.
  • Superficial nerves can be damaged by CoolSculpting’s extreme cold, and it may take several weeks for this nerve irritation to subside. Nerve pain medications are often prescribed for this side effect; bruising and swelling for 1 to 2 weeks is common, and patients often need to limit their activities during this period while the soreness resolves. Delayed pain from nerve injury in the treatment area can also occur.


  • During SculpSure treatments, there is no pain associated with the applicator positioning because there is no suction required. Each 25-minute treatment involves an initial 5 minutes of raising the tissue temperature up to therapeutic levels through a series of automated heating and surface cooling steps. The temperature is maintained for the rest of the session. Pain, tingling, and intense heat occur during the 5-minute warming phase, but most patients describe it as only mild to moderate discomfort.
  • Immediate cooling can be initiated at any time during a SculpSure treatment, and the provider can modify the setting during treatment if necessary. After treatment, there can be minor swelling and tenderness for 1 to 2 weeks. The discomfort does not rise to the level of limiting activities.

No Downtime With SculpSure

  • CoolSculpting often results in tenderness and swelling that can limit activities for 1 to 2 weeks.
  • With SculpSure, the patient can expect to return to regular activities, including the gym, the next day. There is no downtime.

No Effect on Other Tissue

  • CoolSculpting temporarily freezes all solid tissues near the surface: skin, fat, nerves, and connective tissue. This can injure the nerves in the area, resulting in altered sensations, including numbness, tingling, and pain, which can last weeks or months. There is also a slight risk of paradoxical adipose hyperplasia with CoolSculpting.
  • SculpSure uses sophisticated laser energy that only heats fat cells sufficiently to create damage. Other structures such as nerves, vessels, and skin are not affected.

More Even Results With SculpSure

  • CoolSculpting sucks the tissue up into the applicator and pulls on it. Because the fat isn’t sitting in its natural location on the body, some patients can develop a sharp demarcation between the treated and untreated areas, resembling a divot in the skin. Paradoxical fat layer increases in the treatment zone have occurred.
  • SculpSure applicators sit on top of the skin and do not use suction. The heat from the applicator spreads out beyond the applicator head to allow for better blending between treated and non-treated areas.

Treats Smaller Amounts of Fat

  • Most CoolSculpting applicators require “pinchable” fat that is mobile enough to be pulled and sucked up into the applicator for treatment. Areas with thicker and firmer tissue that are less pinchable often can’t be treated. Furthermore, CoolSculpting applicators have only a few configurations, which means they are best for addressing only some problem area shapes.
  • The SculpSure applicators sit on top of the skin, allowing for even the smallest amount of stubborn fat to be treated. These smaller applicators allow for more freedom to cover the desired treatment areas.

Does SculpSure Tighten Skin Too?

There are many choices for non-invasive fat reduction. While SculpSure is our preferred treatment for small pockets of fat, we also offer EVOLVE body sculpting to reduce stubborn fat and tighten loose skin. Of course, if you have larger areas of excess fat and loose skin, liposuction and tummy tuck surgery may be a better fit for your goals. You can learn more about whether nonsurgical or surgical body contouring treatments are right for you in our related blog post.

As the medical director for YES MedSpa and as a plastic surgeon, I feel that SculpSure offers many advantages. I have personally tried them both and preferred SculpSure. There was less discomfort, no bruising, no nerve pain, and the treatment was completed in 25 minutes. This was quite a contrast to my experience with CoolSculpting.

If you have questions or want to learn more about your body contouring options in the Vancouver area, we invite you to request a consultation online or call us at (604) 888-9378 to schedule a consultation.

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