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 12

Fainting with painful stimuli

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!

Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Would Avoid Pre-medication

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

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?

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

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

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! 


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


Hi there,

Sorry to hear about your experience. It is highly recommended to stay hydrated and have a meal prior to your SculpSure treatment. Consult with your physician or technician on medications that can be given to you for effective pain management. SculpSure in general is well tolerated by patients and should not cause a fainting episode. I recommend communicating with your technician so that they can start you off on a lower setting and ease you into the higher setting as you progress into your session. 

Cory Torgerson, MD, PhD, FRCSC
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 102 reviews

You definitely need to eat before the procedure

also since you are clearly anxious now, it would be a good idea for your dr to give you some Ativan to help relax you - however, this means that you will need someone to drive you. you can also take two Tylenol tablets an hour before your procedure. Also drink lots of water beforehand too. 

good luck

david berman 

David E. Berman, MD
Sterling Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

SculpSure and fainting

I am sorry to hear you had a negative experience with your SculpSure  treatment.  We always recommend to our patients to hydrate before the procedure as well as eat a light meal.  We start our treatment with a lower setting and progress from there.  Usually the patient will adapt to the setting midway and then we go up until the patient is at the right zone for them. Everyone of us is unique and we all have different tolerances to pain and we should  be treated as such. Communication is very important with the patient during the procedure to gauge where they are at and also to talk with them and get their mind off of the discomfort they are feeling.  Post treatment the patient is given some water and I have them sit for a few minutes before they get up.

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.