How effective is applying numbing cream prior to SculpSure procedure in order to reduce pain?

I generally have a pretty low tolerance for pain...however, I was wondering in addition to taking Neurontin prior to having the SculpSure procedure, would a topical lidocaine-like numbing cream (sometimes applied about an hour before getting a tattoo to help minimize pain from that) help reduce pain felt during the SculpSure treatment?

Doctor Answers 10

Feedback

Feedback between what you are feeling and the settings of the SculpSure machine are important. Numbing the skin could alter this important feedback so the settings can be adjusted.

Anesthetic cream?

My MonaLisaTouch vaginal/vulvar laser employs BLT cream ahead of time since there is no feedback necessary from the skin/procedure. However, the SculpSure has adjustments based on feedback and this is a constantly monitored and changeable process. If you change this safety protocol there is a chance of injury (small), and altered effectiveness (read: too much or too little effect.) I have to be within a short 30' distance while this is being done which is more than social--it is necessary for the right adjustments. Only an RN, NP, PA, DO, or MD can activate or alter laser settings in California (not an MA, aesthetician etc.).

SculpSure Discomfort

Thank you for your question. SculpSure directly targets the fat cells under the skin, so in effect, any discomfort that is caused is really deeper than the skin - and at its peak, it feels like when a massage therapist is getting out a knot. That being said, part of the contraindications to SculpSure are performing the treatment in areas that have had prior surgeries, over surgical scars, or recently after liposuction. The reason for this is because the sensation after procedures may not be normal - and this is necessary for SculpSure treatments. There are 10 settings for SculpSure - to make sure you are at the correct setting, it is important to have feeling in the area treated so that adjustments can be made to get into your individual "fat destruction zone." In my experience (over 300 patients treated), only 1 person was unable to tolerate the procedure. Most patients, especially when used on the abdomen and flanks, sail through. It's only 25 minutes - with a little distraction (i.e. tv or phone use), it goes by quickly. Best of luck! 

No numbing cream before SculpSure!!

The effectiveness of SculpSure depends on an interaction between the feeling on the skin and the settings on the laser.  You MUST have complete sensation to the treated skin area for SculpSure to be utilized.  If the skin is numb for any reason, SculpSure cannot be performed.

David Finkle, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 73 reviews

I have another idea

Almost everyone tolerates the Sculpsure but it is a bit uncomfortable (i did it on my flanks).  if you are super worried, you can always pre-medicate with Ativan and Narco but then you need a driver and will be sleepy all day. you could always just take 2 Tylenol 45 minutes before your procedure. you really should not need pre-medication. 

david berman md

David E. Berman, MD
Sterling Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 84 reviews

SculpSure Pain Control

SculpSure uses heat technology heat up the fat cells underneath the skin. Topical numbing creams only affect the top layers of the skin, not providing the adequate pain control you need for your SculpSure treatment. Numbing of the skin during SculpSure treatment interferes with the safety protocols in place to ensure safe delivery of treatment for the patients. Numbness increases your risks for complications because you will not be able to communicate the heats levels that are being applied to the skin, which can lead to over heating and possible burning. It is best to consult with a board certified plastic surgeon who is experienced in non-invasive body contouring procedures. 

Cory Torgerson, MD, PhD, FRCSC
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 114 reviews

SculpSure

Thank you for your question. Numbing cream is not necessary for the SculpSure treatment as it can create false signs from your body that are key to adjusting the settings according to your body wishes and, most importantly, because SculpSure is a virtually painless treatment. SculpSure utilizes Contact Cooling technology to prevent damage to your skin. I suggest that you next consult in person with a board certified facial plastic surgeon and ask for their best advice in preparation for SculpSure.

Best wishes,

Ross A. Clevens, MD
Melbourne Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 96 reviews

Numbing cream before SculpSure?

That would be unadvisable. It is very important to have dialog with the patient on how intense the different settings are. Everyone has a different tolerance to what they feel is uncomfortable. You will have about 10 seconds of energy and than around 5 seconds of cool down and this goes on for 25 to 30 minutes. Some patients feel uncomfortable, others do not.

Jon E. Mendelsohn, MD
Cincinnati Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

Odd But Not Painful Feeling

As a surgeon, people are surprised that I am not too crazy about pain myself. So I tried SculpSure on myself at low, medium, and full power settings. Really, to me, it felt like BenGay or IcyHot. A cold and warm sensation. I would avoid topical lidocaine-type things that we use for other laser procedures. The real key is who is doing the procedure. Avoid facilities that turn it on, give you a call button, and walk away. My nurse sits by the patient and monitors how she is feeling minute-to-minute and adjusts the power and cool-blasts based on that. I believe that this makes all the difference

Numbing cream

Thanks for your question. Reducing the feeling in the area of treatment is not advised as SculpSure settings are adjusted based on feedback. Patients with low pain tolerance have found the treatment to be mildly uncomfortable, but bearable. Considering it is only 25 minutes, you should be ok. Of course, if it is painful, let your SculpSure administrator know. 

Jennifer Levine, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.