• Noninvasive Body Contouring: What You Need to Know

    by Dr. Scott Lafferty
    on Jan 22nd, 2018

Noninvasive Body Contouring: What You Need to Know

Noninvasive body contouring is a way to achieve fat reduction without surgery. The three basic categories within this type of medicine, according to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS), are low level laser therapy, ultrasound, and radiofrequency.



Actually, the information from the ASDS is outdated because it does not include hyperthermic laser therapy – the method used in SculpSure treatments. For anyone considering body contouring, it is important to be aware of SculpSure because of its results. California-based dermatologic surgeon Jason Emer, MD, explains outcomes at his practice for SculpSure compared to one of the other above options, ultrasound. "UltraShape is ultrasound and take[s] numerous treatments," he says, while SculpSure "is a laser and takes one [session] for 20% improvement."


Determining if noninvasive body contouring is right for you


This method will not always fit: it is for stubborn fat areas, not general weight loss. The practitioner will review your situation medically. They will talk with you about the likely outcome and any complications that could arise. Patients should be aware that long-term research is not available on these approaches because the technology used in the treatments has only recently been developed.


Appropriate use of non-invasive body contouring


Deciding to use non-invasive fat reduction methods such as SculpSure is appropriate assuming that the patient does not have inflated notions about the impact of a single session.


When you should avoid noninvasive contouring


Noninvasive body contouring will not work well for anyone who thinks that the treatment will be able to achieve outcomes for which it is not designed. Plus, and probably more importantly, SculpSure and other noninvasive methods should not be used by those who are obese, or who are using the procedure as an alternative to important wellness practices such as regular physical workouts and strong nutrition. Radiofrequency therapy should specifically be avoided by anyone with aneurysms, pacemakers, or defibrillators.


Pain that can occur during a session


The majority of patients do not experience any strong discomfort or pain. The ASDS notes that it is possible with some approaches that you might feel a light sense of burning.


Possible complications of noninvasive fat reduction


Two complications that patients may experience include bruising and redness in the area treated, both of which typically clear up within a few hours.


Reasonable expectations for noninvasive contouring


There is little to no recovery time for these sessions. You can go straight from the clinic to home, to work, or even to the gym. Generally, you will need to have more than one treatment in order to get the degree of reshaping that is desired.  Within 2-4 months, you should be able to see a reduction in problem areas using these methods.


SculpSure as a noninvasive approach


SculpSure is cleared by the Food and Drug Administration to be used on the inner and outer thighs, flanks, abdomen, back, and submental (beneath the chin) region. Avoiding surgery and downtime, the system permanently reduces stubborn fat – with an outcome that looks natural and is consistent.


SculpSure developer John W. Decorato, MD, explains in The Aesthetic Channel that the SculpSure laser heats fat cells, intentionally damaging them so that the immune system can remove them from the body.


A study conducted by Dr. Decorato and a research team in 2014 directly compared SculpSure to another laser method. The study found that to deliver equivalent results to a 60-minute session of the alternative treatment, SculpSure needs just 25 minutes.


Lawrence Bass, MD, is one of the lead researchers for a SculpSure FDA study. Dr. Bass explains that SculpSure heats the adipose tissue to about 108 to 117 degrees. The fat cells die and are removed over the days and weeks following the treatment. While you are heating the region of stubborn fat, the applicator head is delivering cooling to counteract the heat of the laser. Any type of skin tone or color can work well with this method since the skin in not impacted.


Another finding of Dr. Decorato in his study was related to comfort. While the other method uses suction to cool the fat in between plates, SculpSure does not suck or pull at the tissue.


Dr. Bass also notes how this method goes beyond what is available with the other approach, introducing four different applicator heads. These various applicators allow a practitioner to treat various areas simultaneously.


Your SculpSure treatment


Do you think that noninvasive body contouring might be right for you? At Lafferty Family Medicine, we are invested in the comprehensive health of each patient, and we specialize in noninvasive SculpSure body contouring. See our testimonials and reviews.

Author Dr. Scott Lafferty

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