How SculpSure Works (and why it may be the new ‘it’ fat killer)

Wondering how SculpSure works? We’re breaking down the info the way it breaks down fat cells.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard by now that SculpSure is the new ‘it’ treatment when it comes to non-invasive lipo options. Not everyone is ready for surgical measures, and fad-inspiring alternative methods like Zerona, CoolSculpting, and Strawberry lasers have had a mixed bag of patient results. Until now, the more pain one endured during a treatment almost always equalled the most impressive results– a sort of ‘no pain, no gain’ proof project. SculpSure, on the other hand, is virtually painless (you feel some minor tingles and heat, but nothing more intense than a good facial), and requires only 25 minutes per treated area. That means people don’t have to take a full day off of work for a treatment, and those savings really start to add up when you consider that typically only one treatment is required per area. The results are said to be permanent.

Peter Neumann, MD, F.A.C.S, has been working with the SculpSure machine longer than almost any other practice in the USA– he’s had his for four months and has been trying his hand at both on and off label techniques. His practice, Nassau Plastic Surgical Associates, was named the “reference center for SculpSure” making him a New York area trainer for other doctors. 

SculpSure before/after

SculpSure before/after

“Once fat is destroyed it never comes back,” explains Dr. Neumann. “The laser shoots energy into the fat cells, which are then destroyed by the body over a 6-12 week period. The body absorbs the ruptured fat cells and it is released into the urine and stool. The body removes all unwanted material this way.”

Like some other fat reduction treatments, the ultimate goal is to destroy the fat cells to the point where they can no longer be repaired, refilled, or regenerated. “After the full 12 week result period, you will see a 24% decrease in fat from the area treated. This fat will never return and the skin does not loosen. Affordable, successful, fat reduction.”

And that’s really the main draw for most patients– permanent fat reduction. “It literally felt like nothing, just a little bit of heat them some cooling and I was answering emails while I was hooked up to the machine the entire time,” tells Melissa Chapman, a blogger at marriedmysugardaddy.com. “Zero pain, zero discomfort. Nine weeks later the size 4 Jeans that I couldn’t wear without my muffin top spilling over… well, that’s history. I can wear them.” She chronicled the first part of her SculpSure journey 9 weeks ago, here. Since then she’s been vocal on social media about how much flatter she sees her stomach becoming.

Blogger Melissa Chapman taking a selfie while undergoing a SculpSure treatment

Blogger Melissa Chapman taking a selfie while undergoing a SculpSure treatment

The stomach, both lower and upper, are perfect areas for the SculpSure treatment, and are actually the only FDA-approved sites (and yes, the machine is FDA-approved). Dr. Neumann has been experimenting with alternative areas as well, though, and thinks the trend will likely catch on with other experienced physicians.

“The best area to use SculpSure is any area with fat. For example – abdomen (upper and lower), inner and outer thighs, buttocks crease, knees and arms. Most patients opt for the stomach first, but patients can also treat more than one area in one visit. Each treatment area takes 25 minutes. Cynosure, the parent company will soon release configurations for the neck and calves.”

how sculpsure works

How SculpSure works, though, is dependent on the powerful little lasers within the machine itself. The lasers damage the fat cells themselves below the skin’s surface without crating topographic damage– most patients don’t even leave with any redness or swelling, although they’re possible side effects (which are relatively minor when considering the bruising, swelling, nerve pain, and other issues often associated with traditional liposuction and CoolSculpting).

“SculpSure produces a zone of injury within the treated area of fat. The injured fat cells are removed by the body’s natural repair mechanism. It is not an immune response, but simply an activation of the cells that remove damaged tissue,” explains Chicago plastic surgeon, founder of the Whole Beauty(r) Institute, and ASAPS member, John Q. Cook, M.D. “Initially after treatment there will be some firmness and mild tenderness in the treated area. This lasts a little less than a week in most people. During that time there is no restriction on exercise or other activities. There is typically about a 24% reduction in the volume of fat in the treated zone with a single treatment. It is reasonable to expect a long-term reduction in the amount of fat, since the cells are damaged and removed. Since this is a new technology there are no 5 or 10 year studies.”

So here’s what you need to know:

  • SculpSure is for spot treatment, not someone who is significantly overweight or wants whole body fat reduction. Surgery.org suggests liposuction and similar treatments are best for people who have 20 or less pounds to lose.
  • As far as current technologies on the market, this one is likely the most painless (but pain tolerance and sensitivity varies from person to person)
  • From the time you’re hooked up to the SculpSure machine, the entire treatment takes 25 minutes. You can do it on your lunchbreak and head back to work.
  • Treatments typically cost between $1300-2000 depending on your city/region.
  • How SculpSure works is by destroying up to 24% of the fat cells it aims at, and then letting your body flush them (and their contents) out gradually over the course of the 12 weeks following treatment. Yes, you’ll pee your fat out.

For more details on the treatment, check out their parent company’s website here.

This article was written in collaboration with Smart Beauty Guide.

Bryce Gruber is a Manhattanite mom who can be found jet-setting off to every corner of the globe. She loves exotic places, planes with WiFi, summer clothes, & Sucre brown butter truffles. Bryce’s aim is to do to luxury what Elton John did to being gay. Follow her on twitter @brycegruber


  • Rising Sun

    A temporary fix to a bigger problem…poor diet.