Fainted during Sculpsure. Should I try again?

Yesterday I fainted after 5 minutes into the Sculpsure treatment. I must mention that I had not had anything to eat before and we started at the highest power since they said the best results could be achieved that way. It felt like burning and I could not take the pain. Besides eating beforehand, is there something I could do to avoid this if I decide to try it again? I am very hesitant to try it again but I don't believe the doctor's office will refund what I paid if I decide to cancel.

Doctor Answers 15

Fainting with painful stimuli

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Fainting or a syncopal episode is an uncontrolled response to a painful stimuli by our nervous system.  It is referred to as a vaso-vagal response and results from stimulation of the vagal nerve which slows the heart rate, lowers the blood pressure and can lead to an unconscious episode.  It is usually preceded by sweating, dizziness, light headed and vision abnormalities.  Some people are very sensitive to painful stimuli and will have repeat episodes to any painful event or even talking about pain.SculpSure is not very painful and the sessions are always started with a 4 minute warm up period when the settings are at the lowest point.  If you experienced a vaso-vagal episode within the first 5 minutes, then you were at the lowest settings and a repeat session would more than likely bring on another episode of fainting.  I would not try it again, and would ask for a full refund.  If they do not give you a full refund, then you might have to get a little nasty and state that, even though you tried, you did not receive a service for which you paid  and this is considered fraud and you would report it to the proper authorities (Better Business Bureau, State licensing agency, etc).  Believe me, with that threat hanging over their head, they will refund the monies!

Would Avoid Pre-medication

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I really don't think pre-medication with sedatives or narcotics would be warranted. Make sure you are well hydrated and eat a light snack one hour prior. You should be lying down for the procedure and have your legs slightly elevated. I always start treatments on lower power for the first few minutes to give clients time to adapt. Consider trying another SculpSure location.

SculpSure- Fainting during treatment

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Hello,Thank you for your question. I am sorry to hear you had this experience with your SculpSure treatment. We have treated many patients and have not experienced a patient fainting. This is not a common reaction. SculpSure is tolerated very well. We have experienced some patient anxiety, however once the treatment is started the patient is fine. Every patient is unique and you want to stay in the correct zone during your treatment, that does not mean the highest setting. It is important to be hydrated and have a meal a few hours before your treatment. Start off at a lower setting and slowly have your provider raise settings to your appropriate zone. Hope this helps you. Best, Dr Faraz

Had too much pain with SculptSure. Any ideas for next time?

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Certainly it is important to be well hydrated and not hypoglycemic before any type of procedure. I recommend you talk to your doctors office about recieving pre-medication prior to a next treatment. Also there is not necessarily an association between higher SculptSure settings and improved results. Therefore lower setting may be attempted with your next treatment which may possibly be better tolerated. If all else fails and you are unable to tolerate the treatments which you have previously paid for I suggest you discuss the financial situation with the appropriate individual at the office. In my opinion it would be wrong to withhold funds for treatments you are unable to complete.

Can consider premedication

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Talk to your doctor about changing the plan. Premedicaiton is an option with OTC medication, or something prescribed by your doctor.  Eating perhaps two hours before will have you more energized and starting at a lower setting can all help.

Fainting during SculpSure

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Thank you for your question - I am so sorry to hear you had this experience! I have treated about 400 patients with SculpSure, and have only had 1 patient who could not tolerate the procedure. Besides eating prior to the procedure, as you said, you can pre-medicate with Tylenol or motrin. Also, I would start with the machine at a low setting and work your way up. During the procedure, distract yourself - either by talking with the technician or watching a video; anything to help you pass the time. Chances are you worked yourself up a bit, which may have contributed to the fainting spell. Best of luck! 

Anthony J. Taglienti, MD
Norristown Plastic Surgeon


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If you have pain and faint, try to change the conditions. I would premedicate with 800 mg of ibuprofen and try a lower power setting. There are other patients who react the same way and this seems to work. Also, eat, eat, eat before and after. Some people are not good office candidates, and some have excessive skin sensitivity. Sorry

Fainting prior to SculpSure

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 I wouldn't recommend pre-mediating. Don't think it's necessary. Just make sure that you are well hydrated and have eaten at least an hour before your treatment. That should do it. Best of luck.

SculpSure and Fainting

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Thank you for your question and sorry about your experience. 

Fainting is uncommon during the SculpSure treatment, however it can happen. Pain can induce different stimuli in different patients, fainting being one of them. Before your appointment you must be well hydrated and have eaten. During our consultation process we prepare our patients and inform them of this. When you have your follow up treatment make sure to eat and drink the day of your procedure and you should be fine. 

Happy sculpting!

SculpSure not designed to be painful

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Thanks for your question. You fainting could be a result of many factors: lack of nutrients, nerves, and level of pain tolerance. Usually, it’s best to begin the treatment at a lower setting and slowly increase depending on a patient’s tolerance. However, SculpSure is not intended to be painful. Now that you have experienced the procedure, you may want to request beginning at a lower level. Hope this helps. Best, Dr. Katz 

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