Is SculpSure painful?

A reviewer on SculpSure said she found the heat cycles almost unbearable, and that it felt like someone was holding a fire under her arm! Why is no one talking about this???? Seems like this side effect exists, but no one is mentioning anything!???

Doctor Answers 29

SculpSure is usually well tolerated but everyone is different

SculpSure uses lasers to heat fat and destroy it.  As such, there will be sensation of heat that may be uncomfortable to some.  Think about it like a hot shower.  Some people feel the water is unbearable while others feel it is soothing and very comfortable. The heat comes in waves and therefore is not constant in nature. The heat can also be adjusted in sensitive patients. It is also possible to ask for a cool blast if the heat becomes unbearable. I would recommend that you discuss the fear of pain with your board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon and ask how they plan to address these concerns.  You can always stop the procedure if it is too uncomfortable.  

New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Pain with SculpSure

We have worked out a protocol for SculpSure that gives the best results. Remember, this is a non-invasive alternative that you want to work as well as possible.  At 4-5 minutes, you should have been assessed for "pain" level and the settings adjusted up (until slight/moderate discomfort) or down (to slight/moderate discomfort). At that point in the protocol, the exact setting doesn't matter--the results will be the same. If you have NO sensation, the setting should be turned up to get best result. ViceVersa for too much sensation of heat.

Lawrence Eisenhauer, MD
Encinitas OB/GYN
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

SculpSure treatment discomfort

SculpSure treatment is not painful at all.  On average , the discomfort level is 3-4 on a scale of 0 to 10.  Most likely the setting used for inappropriate for her or comfort measures for not appropriately utilized during her treatment like " cool blast" option or her discomfort tolerance is very low or she was around her period, which increases sensitivity. In my practice, I stay with my patients during the entire treatment and monitor them to make sure the treatment is very tolerable and my patients are able to watch TV or play on their smart devices during the treatment.   I hope that your friend is at least is happy with her results.  Hope this helps.  Best, Dr.Avaliani

Anna Avaliani, MD
New York Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

SculpSure Pain

SculpSure is light/heat energy that will destroy the fat cell.

Had it on myself.  It does burn like a hot bathtub. The cooling cycles are a relief.  I did turn down to 1.00 after starting at 1.10 energy and after 10 minutes went back up to 1.10.  Hurt more than I thought but the machine can be adjusted and one does get use to it. At the beginning it felt like 6/10 but then with the reduction it stayed at 4/10.  When I went back up with the energy it stayed at 4/10.

A few days later noted moderate soreness  that lingered for some days, but able to workout without any problems.

Keith Denkler, MD
Marin Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Pain with SculpSure

Everyone is different with regards to what kind of pain they can tolerate.  I've had women proud of the fact they gave birth without medications, but found SculpSure to be somewhat uncomfortable.  Not all pain/sensation is created equal.  If you can imagine the difference between dull, achy muscle pain versus a sharp stabbing pain - those are entirely different and each of us responds differently to them.  I've had people think SculpSure was quite uncomfortable getting flanks done, for example - while the next patient fell asleep getting her flanks done.  It's varies so much from patient to patient.  The good thing is that the rating system allows us to control the intensity of the applicators, even turning one down individually.  I find if I prepare patients for the unexpected, they are usually surprised it's so comfortable.

Linda Hodges, DO
Cedar Rapids Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews


It all depends on the patients pain tolerance. I have had many patients say it was painless while some others didn't find it as relaxing. I have never had a patient who couldn't tolerate or finish the full 20 minute treatment. I have also found it depends on where the panels go, since it is a customizable treatment. For anyone who is feeling discomfort we can always adjust it and/ or give a cool-blast.

Dennis Gross, MD
New York Dermatologist
4.4 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Pain during Sculpsure treatment

Each patient will feel differently about the procedure. However, the general consensus is that sculpsure is slightly more uncomfortable during treatment than coolsculpting. 

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

I Tried it on Myself First

Great question: Before I used Sculpsure on my clients, I tried it on myself first (and had the nurse use full power). I do that with all procedures to really understand what the patient is feeling. To me, it felt like that warm and cold feeling you get with Ben-Gay or other creams. Some women tell me if feels like mild cramping from a period. I did hot yoga right away after the SculpSure. Some of this will, of course, be dependent on the area and various other factors.

David U. Lipsitz, MD
Charlotte Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

​ Is SculpSure painful?

Thank you for your question. The SculpSure procedure feels like a warm current going through the skin. It is not terribly uncomfortable. The 25 minute procedure is perfectly tolerable. Most patients describe it as having had a workout after. However, each individual has a different pain tolerance and depending on the area being treated they may have more or less pain. This happens rarely and in that circumstance, we lower the settings to meet the patient’s tolerance. Patients who opted for lower settings in the procedure still had results.

Bruce E. Katz, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
3.8 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Sculpsure and pain

Thanks for sharing your question. I can appreciate your concern.

Pain is a subjective issue. I have had the treatment done and I might say that there was no pain during the treatment. as the temperature builds up, there is a tingling sensation that disipates as the cooling wave kicks during the treatment. When there is an area that is tender, the equipment  allows you for decreasing the energy level. 

Over all a very tolerable treatment. 

Wishing you the best in your journey

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.