What if we told you there was a better way to get sculpted abs and a boosted butt without hours at the gym or painful surgery?

Well, if this non-surgical device delivers on what it’s promising, the body-sculpting market will never be the same. Emsculpt is a new device that claims to build muscle while it disrupts fat cells — creating sculpted abs and a more beautiful booty in the process. And it just launched this week in the U.S.

Could Emsculpt replace surgeries like liposuction or even the invasive Brazilian butt lift, or BBL? We asked a few doctors who worked on its clinical trials for the details on this hot new treatment.


How it works

Emsculpt is an FDA-cleared procedure that uses a new energy source called high intensity focused electromagnetic, or HIFEM, energy. Its manufacturer, Prague-based BTL Corp., claims that it’s best for people who have “less than an inch to pinch,” and are seeking “better muscle definition while affecting fat, or a non-invasive butt lift without needles or anesthesia.” Doctors involved with the clinical trials have already seen promising results.

So how does it work?

“Electromagnetic energy simultaneously contracts all the muscle fibers in the treatment area,” said Dr. Carolyn Jacob, a Chicago-based dermatologic surgeon who joined Emsculpt’s advisory board in 2017 and participated in the clinical trials. “These comprehensive contractions ‘work out’ the muscle to a thorough and deep level.  This leads to strengthening of the muscle and also to loss of fat cells.”

According to Dr. Jacob, people who participated in the clinical trials are seeing, “stronger, healthier core muscles, improvement in abdominal circumference, lifting of the buttocks, [and] improvement in pilates performance!”

Why target muscles and not just fat? Muscles account for about 30 to 40 percent of the body, yet the only devices on the market today address non-surgical fat loss, not building muscle. Emsculpt claims to do both — build muscle while attacking the surrounding fat cells.

“This is the only device that tones muscle while reducing fat,” said Dr. Jacob. “It can be a standalone for fit patients looking for more definition, or an add-on to other treatments, such as Vanquish.”

Dr. Bruce Katz, a New York City-based dermatologic surgeon also in the clinical trials, agrees that Emsculpt works. “Excellent results with reduction in fat layer and tightening of abdominal muscles and lifting of buttocks,” Dr. Katz said. “It’s different from other devices in that it takes away fat and tightens muscles, whereas the other devices just take away fat.”


Related: Smooth and boost your booty, no surgery required.


What it’s like

According to doctors on the trial, the typical treatment take about 30 minutes for abs, and 30 minutes for each buttock, and there is zero downtime. Treatments are done twice a week for two weeks, for a total of four treatments, then maintenance treatments can be done once per month after. The average price of a treatment package of four sessions is about $3,000 to $4,000. Best results are usually achieved two to four weeks after the last treatment.

Good candidates for Emsculpt are close to their ideal weight with a BMI less than 25. These are people who are healthy, but looking for a spot treatment to tackle those areas resistant to diet and exercise.

Those in the industry are literally calling Emsculpt a game changer, and potentially a non-surgical alternative to BBLs, which can be dangerous if not done with a carefully vetted, board-certified professional plastic surgeon. “We are still looking for a way to improve the buttock non-invasively,” said Dr. Brian M. Kinney, a Los Angeles plastic surgeon, in an Emsculpt company overview. “There is no non-invasive alternative to the 27,000 surgical buttock procedures performed every year.”

If Emsculpt does work as well as they say, it could see a serious amount of that BBL business as it has been found to “strengthen, lift and tone the buttocks.” But people should not expect the same result from Emsculpt as they would from a BBL. “The device helps to lift and tone, so you will get more muscle mass and lift in the buttocks,” said Dr. Jacob. “You will NOT get a derriere like a Kardashian.”

So far, people on RealSelf agree that Emsculpt is giving them the subtle boost they need to complement their workout routine. The Worth It rating is 100 percent, with 16 reviews to date. “I have done both Vanquish and CoolSculpting to get rid of the extra fat on my stomach and have been very happy with the results,” writes this reviewer on RealSelf. “However, I have never experienced anything like Emsculpt. It was amazing to me how much more toned my abs got than I had been able to accomplish in the gym.”

“I think it will literally take it to ‘another level’ because you want your body to be toned and strong, as well as slim,” said Dr. Jacob.


See before and after photos for Emsculpt below:


Photo credit: Dr. Carolyn Jacob


Photo credit: Dr. Katia Paskova


Photo credit: Dr. Brian Kinney


Emsculpt launched April 12. Check on RealSelf to find a local provider near you.