No surprise here, but achieving taut and toned muscles isn’t easy to do. While you don’t necessarily need to train like an Olympic athlete to get sculpted, it’s still difficult for many of us to get rid of those small pockets of fat—especially on the abdomen—that seems to be more stubborn than a toddler entering their “terrible twos.”
Luckily, there’s a new in-office treatment called Emsculpt NEO to pick up where your endless crunches have left off. While you may have heard of the original Emsculpt device, this new version has just recently launched, and unsurprisingly, it has experts beyond excited.
“Emsculpt NEO is a true technological innovation,” says San Diego dermatologist Melanie Palm, MD. “It combines two technologies delivered simultaneously to target both muscle toning and fat loss.”
“I call this my ‘holy grail’ device because everything it can do simultaneously is new to the market,” adds Louisville, KY plastic surgeon Julene Samuels, MD.
Emsculpt NEO—currently FDA-cleared for use on the abdomen—uses high-intensity focused electromagnetic energy (HIFEM) to create contractions of targeted muscle groups, which leads to an increase in muscle mass over time. The radio-frequency (RF) technology, on the other hand, heats the subcutaneous fat, causing permanent fat cell death. “For the first time, [we can] treat both unwanted fat and the desire for muscle mass improvements in the same treatment session,” explains Dr. Palm.
In order to achieve maximum benefits from this treatment, Chicago dermatologist Carolyn Jacob, MD says patients must do a series of four treatments over the course of one month. “When treating the abdomen during a study, we found that after patients had four treatments—just one treatment a week—for about 30 minutes each, they saw a 30 percent reduction of fat and 25 percent increase in muscle thickness,” she explains.
While some patients start to see overall positive results as early as the second session, Dr. Jacob says you notice the change in muscle tone earlier than the fat reduction. “Fat reduction takes a little longer because it’s processed through the body [over time],” she explains.
Unlike other body-sculpting options, Emsculpt NEO can treat a wider range of patients, too. According to Dr. Samuels, it can treat people with a body mass index (BMI) of 20 to 35, whereas the original Emsculpt has a BMI limit of 30. “An original Emsculpt patient is someone who doesn’t have much fat, but is thin without a contoured figure,” clarifies Dr. Jacob. “But for those with an additional layer of fat that needs to be removed as well, that’s an Emsculpt NEO patient.”
Unsurprisingly, doctors have been getting great feedback from patients. “The procedure was stress-free and [there was] no significant pain at all,” said one of Dr. Palm’s patients when asked about the procedure. “Also, there was no downtime. I was able to resume normal activity right away.”
A patient of Dr. Jacob agreed, saying that they lost inches around their waist and developed a more athletic look to their torso. And when it comes to how the device feels, Dr. Jacob’s patient says it’s an unusual sensation. “The first time they start the machine, you’re going to feel it,” they explained. “It’s like nothing like you’ve ever felt before, but relax—give it a few minutes and you’ll adjust.”
As mentioned, the sensation felt during an Emsculpt NEO treatment isn’t something that people have typically felt before. Dr. Samuels clarifies that the device first delivers tight contractions to the muscle, and then it releases, pauses, and begins again. “The intensity of the heat is similar to a hot stone massage,” she adds. “You feel the heat but it’s never uncomfortable.”
While it’s clear that Emsculpt NEO is a rather revolutionary device to hit the market this year, it’s important to note that additional treatments are needed for the maintenance of your new figure. And of course, exercise and healthy eating are key to delivering the best results possible. As with any procedure, consult with your doctor to make sure Emsculpt NEO is the best option for you. Considering its positive reviews, it’s certainly worth asking about.