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    SculpSure turns up the heat in noninvasive fat reduction

    Earlier this year, the FDA cleared Cynosure’s SculpSure for noninvasive flank area fat reduction, paving the way for the company’s late 2015 U.S. launch of the device.

    Staten Island plastic surgeon John W. Decorato, M.D., a research consultant with Dr. DecoratoCynosure and one of the developers of SculpSure, says the technology is based on controlled hyperthermic, or temperature injury, to fat cells. Heating the fat cells to target temperatures, causes injury; then, the body’s immune system steps in to clear the body of those cells, and the treated area shrinks.

    The basis of treatment is similar to that of CoolSculpting, according to Dr. Decorato, but while Zeltiq’s device uses cold to injure fat cells, SculpSure uses heat. Both devices are FDA cleared for treatment of the abdomen and flanks.

    In the original SculpSure experiments, which are not yet published but were presented in 2014, Dr. Decorato and colleagues performed studies on abdominoplasty specimens. From this point, they directly compared CoolSculpting and SculpSure. They found one flank treatment with the new hyperthermic laser treatment was equivalent to one flank treatment with the CoolSculpting device.

    Photo credit: Dr. BassBut that’s where similarities seem to end. The ideal length of time for each SculpSure treatment is 25 minutes, which is less than half of the recommended 60-minute cycle for CoolSculpting, according to Lawrence Bass, M.D., a plastic surgeon in New York City and lead investigator in one of two FDA studies for SculpSure.

    Dr. Bass, who has done more than 100 SculpSure cases in various clinical studies for Cynosure, says SculpSure works by passing 1060-nm diode laser light through the skin to achieve target temperatures of 42 to 47 degrees Celsius.

    “So, [it’s] not a coagulation temperature. [It is] a temperature that shocks the fat cells, and they die over a few weeks. It’s an apoptosis mechanism,” Dr. Bass says. “At the same time that the fat is being heated, the skin is being chilled by the applicator head. So, this is something that can treat all skin types because there’s no reaction in the skin. Whether you’re fair or very dark skinned, the skin remains unaffected.”

    CoolSculpting is performed by pulling, sucking and cooling fat between two plates. With the SculpSure device, there is no suction; there is no pulling of the tissue. The device lays flat on top of the tissue, while energy penetrates into the tissue and causes damage, according to Dr. Decorato.

    Versatility is another benefit of using SculpSure, according to Dr. Bass.

    “With SculpSure’s four separate applicator heads, I can treat multiple areas at once. Or I can adjust the pattern or arrangement of how I place the four heads, depending on where the patient needs it,” Dr. Bass says. “With CoolSculpting, you’re limited by the applicator shape and size. And if the patient is very young and very tight, and they don’t suck into the applicator, you can’t really go after their fat at all.”

    In This Article

    Recovery and Pain

    Complications and Contraindications

    Is It a Good Fit for My Practice?

    Lisette Hilton
    Lisette Hilton, president of Words Come Alive, has written about health care, the science and business of medicine, fitness and wellness ...

    3 Comments

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    • According to Dr. Iannitelli of Enhanced Image Med Spa, sculpsure is ideal for people with trouble spots especially those that are resistant to diet and exercise, it has minimal side effect during the treatment while with coolsculpting , many individuals might encounter mild bruising, redness or a needles sensation. Your doctor will normally advise you which procedure and treatment plan is best for you. Both non-invasive lipsuction procedure I guess does not work on obesity or too much fat however, the efficiency of both procedures can be compared as sculpsure may only require one treatment to get good results, while coolsculpting needs 2-4 treatments.
    • Anonymous
      It would have been more unbiased to include doctors in this article who were not so closely tied to the success of the Sculpsure product. It's my understanding that treatment time comparing Coolsculpting and Sculpsure is negligible today since there are new applicators for Coolsculpting that can reduce the time. I think the important thing to consider is that there were not many studies performed on this treatment, and it is still considered experimental (see Luxe Laser Center article). I believe it's difficult to argue such an advantage of Sculpsure over Coolsculpting considering its infancy, and the success of Coolsculpting worldwide.
    • Anonymous
      It would have been more unbiased to include doctors in this article who were not so closely tied to the success of the Sculpsure product. It's my understanding that treatment time comparing Coolsculpting and Sculpsure is negligible today since there are new applicators for Coolsculpting that can reduce the time. I think the important thing to consider is that there were not many studies performed on this treatment, and it is still considered experimental (see Luxe Laser Center article). I believe it's difficult to argue such an advantage of Sculpsure over Coolsculpting considering its infancy, and the success of Coolsculpting worldwide.

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