A Painless, Laser-Based Fat Zapper — This Is How SculpSure Really Works

As always, the new year is the perfect time to focus on the new you: whatever you hope to change, 2017 can be a blank slate. Just in time to realize all your resolutions for a slimmer, fitter bod, a few of our Charlotte’s Book-approved docs are getting SculpSure, a newly FDA-approved fat-zapper. Dr. Elizabeth Hale and medical esthetician Jordana Mattioli recently had one installed at Complete Skin MD, and they love it.

Dr. Dennis Gross of Dennis Gross Dermatology, another Charlotte’s Book approved doc who always has the latest technology, answered a few of our questions about how SculpSure works and why it works so well.

But before we jump into the Q&A, here’s a quick refresher on the major players in non-invasive body contouring: CoolSculpting and CoolSmooth use intense cold to break down fat cells, allowing your body to process and discard them; UltraShape, on the other hand, uses targeted ultrasound waves to explode fat cells, which are then flushed out just like the frozen ones. We’ve tried a few approaches to body contouring: here’s our take.

SculpSure uses a controlled light-based technology (lasers) to break down fat—it’s the only FDA-approved laser-based fat zapper, and it’s approved for use on abdomen and love handles (“flanks”). The procedure takes about 25 minutes, there’s minimal discomfort (as opposed to CoolSculpting), and results happen in 6-12 weeks with zero downtime. Sometimes one treatment is enough, but in some cases, two are needed (so efficient). Hand-held devices make targeting specific areas with SculpSure much easier.

Here’s the scoop on SculpSure from Dr. Dennis Gross of Dr. Dennis Gross Dermatology:

How is SculpSure different than UltraShape or CoolSculpting? We heard you no longer use Ultrashape. Why?

Sculpsure is a breakthrough in body contouring treatments designed to reduce stubborn fat. SculpSure is a heat-generating laser that specifically focuses the fat layer without causing burning or redness to the overlying skin. It uses both hot and cold laser technologies to destroy the fat. It’s now the exclusive body contouring treatment we offer at my practice and turns out to be even more versatile as the technology gets better and better, specifically the debut of a new hand piece to target smaller bulges. It utilizes different forms of technology to reduce fat—UltraShape harnesses the power of sound waves and CoolSculpting (which I have never been a fan of both in terms of results and the discomfort of patients) uses freezing as fat destruction method.

When we researched and got behind Ultrashape, it was the number one machine available and safest way to treat stubborn fat at the time. Continuing to research and evolve with technology, SculpSure is now the best available. SculpSure has given my patients great results, and the new smaller applicators that came out last year have made it possible to contour really tricky areas like the arms.

Who is the ideal candidate?

Anyone looking to treat excess fat on specific areas of the body. It’s amazing for those targeting tough post-baby weight for example. As long as there is ample fat to treat—meaning, a bulge of excess fat which can be as small as the palm of your hand—Sculpsure can target it!  (Please note: you cannot have the treatment if you are pregnant.)

SculpSure seems to focus on “flank” areas of the body. Is this the primary use in your office and what are examples of some results you have seen?

It was FDA approved in 2015 for at least 24% fat destruction for the abdomen and flanks. We are able to treat anywhere on the body that has excess fat, such as back of arms, inner or outer thighs, buttocks, calves or knees. SculpSure has given my patients great results, and the new smaller applicators that came out last year have made it possible to contour really tricky areas like the arms and knees, making the treatment even more versatile.

What parts of the body isn’t it good for?

The one area that cannot be treated yet is the neck and double chin area—maybe soon, but not just yet.

What does it feel like vs. other non-invasive body contouring technologies ? And how long does a typical treatment last?

In the case of UltraShape, there is no sensation as it uses sound waves; CoolSculpting utilizes freezing to destroy fat so there can be pain associated with treatment. During SculpSure treatments, there is warmth and coolness that emanates from the applicators, but neither at extreme temperatures, which makes it the ideal comfort level for patients. The 25-minute procedure yields permanent results, and there is minor discomfort that some patients experience during the treatment itself. Vast majority find it completely pain-free, though technicians are able to adjust the hand pieces if there is a need.

What are realistic results after one treatment? After two? And how many treatments do you recommend?  

As far as number of treatments: every patient is different, depending on amount of fat and desired reduction. Most patients with small to moderately sized areas of treatment will have reduction with just one session, especially if the bulge is small. Larger areas require two, possibly three treatments. The number of treatments all depends on how much fat is in question and needs to be treated. Each patient will learn more during time of consultation. Individuals’ results may vary, up to 24% reduction in fat may be seen with each treatment, which can be seen six weeks after treatment, but may take up to three months for full results.  Treatments are done six weeks apart.

Does that fat ever come back, or appear in other areas?

No. Once the fat is destroyed, it’s gone forever in areas that are treated. And no, the cells do not reproduce in other areas to compensate for the loss in a treated region of the body.

Are there risks that other cells besides fat are broken down? If not, how does the laser target just fat?

Only fat is targeted because it’s the layer of tissue just below skin thickness. The heat from laser bypasses skin and only effects the fat below the skin’s surface. That’s why you need to have a specific level of fat to be eligible for treatment—at the same time, it’s also why the skin itself shows no downtime.

How much does each session cost?

Each area starts at $1,600.

Are there any negative side effects one should be aware of?

In very rare cases, treated fat may feel mildly tender to the touch which lasts for 5-10 days.

READ THIS NEXT

We explore CoolSmooth, the new CoolSculpting applicator that targets thighs.
Plus—do these body contouring things *actually* work??

FIND BEAUTY AND WELLNESS EXPERTS

Learn more about Dr. Dennis Gross. Read client reviews, book appointments, and get expert advice from the experts in Charlotte’s Book. Only the best cosmetic doctors, skincare gurus, nutritionists, fitness and wellness professionals make it into our book.

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