It's a whole new area. It hasn't been done before.” That's how New York City dermatologist Bruce Katz, MD describes the Emsculpt device from BTL. The new technology is quickly gaining attention as the premier device for non-invasively creating a flatter belly with defined abdominal muscles. Demand for such a procedure is understandably high.

“The moment that we incorporated the technology in our practice, it became an instant success,” says Mariano Busso, MD. In his Miami-based practice, Dr. Busso sees significant patient emphasis on aesthetics. “People are extremely conscious about their looks and about their bodies,” he says. “They are extremely conscious about the abdomen, the love handles.”

A Novel Approach

High-intensity focused electromagnetic energy (HIFEM) has been clinically shown to reduce fat and build muscle, something that no other technology has been shown to do. The technology has been rigorously evaluated, Dr. Katz notes. “The trials used three-dimensional photography to not only see the improvements qualitatively, but to quantify the improvements and change in volume. That's the new, really objective way to measure benefits when you're doing body contouring studies,” he says. Other contouring technologies have not been vetted with such degree of objectivity, Dr. Katz maintains.

“A lot of other technologies are subject to variables that you can't control, whereas with three-dimensional imaging from Quantificare, we can actually see the body in 360 degrees. And not just look at the improvement qualitatively, but actually measure the volumetric changes,” Dr. Katz emphasizes. “It is going to be a really, very cool and new technology, because the previous technologies weren't that objective.”

In clinical trials, abdominal treatment was most broadly and intensively studied, says plastic surgeon Brian Kinney, MD. “With a simple set of treatments we accomplished three things: Decreased fat thickness, increased muscle hypertrophy, and narrowing of the diastasis recti,” he says.

Who Benefits

The ideal patient for Emsculpt treatment of the abdomen is someone up to about 20 pounds overweight who is generally fit, Dr. Kinney says. Treatment appeals to a wide range of patients, including but not limited to mothers who are looking to regain their pre-pregnancy body appearance and men who want a more toned abdomen that they just can't capture through workouts at the gym.

“Those patients that have been able to accomplish some good results going to the gym, but they want to go beyond that, they love this technology,” says Dr. Busso. “It takes them to another level. Of course, patients that do not go to the gym will also benefit tremendously.”

“The best candidates are the people who have localized areas of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise. Not overweight,” Dr. Katz says, “but they can't get rid of these fatty deposits with diet and exercise alone.”

“Once a patient starts to see results, it induces them to do more on their own,” Dr. Busso adds. “So then it complements what we do in the office, or, looking at it another way, what we do in the office is not alone. Definitely the results that we get are much better when the patient is highly motivated.”

A Unique Solution

Experts emphasize that treatment is not only effective but convenient. Patients undergo a total of four 30-minute treatments over the course of just two weeks. It's also comfortable for patients, with treatment intensity adjusted to the patient's tolerability.

“I would say that if you want something noninvasive, completely noninvasive, then this device is really ideal,” Dr. Kinney says.

Once practices introduce the device, they may see rapid growth in demand, Dr. Busso suggests. “I would assume that patients will bring other patients because of the high level of satisfaction of this procedure.

“I see this as bringing in more Millennials, bringing in younger people who are more concerned about their bodies and body shape,” he adds.

Body by BTL Patient Perspectives

“After using Emsculpt, I definitely saw results. I was looking for improvement. Over time it only gets better and keeps on improving…As much as I work out, I still wasn't seeing what I really wanted.”

—Monique, BTL Emsculpt Patient btlaesthetics.com