What are the exact reasons SculpSure is recommended only for people at or near their target weight?

Many doctors in the replies here say that it is meant for stubborn lumps of fat on already skinny people, and should not be used on overweight people. Is this an issue of efficiency - something like 'it won't work well on overweight people', or 'it will make future weightloss difficult', or is it an issue of expectation - something like 'it'll work fine, but we don't want overweight people to use it in place of diet and exercise, because it won't make them healthy'

Doctor Answers 14

SculpSure for fat (people)

fat is fat and all will be treatable if in a reachable area (e.g. not the neck). Finances are the limiting factor.  Wt. loss is cheaper, but we all run into the same problem--doing it over 6 months when we want it NOW! Only you can decide if quick is worth it. This is contouring, not weight loss.

SculpSure Recommendations

Thanks for the question. SculpSure's recommendation is mostly to set realistic patient expectations as patients who have significant excess fat around their tummy and flanks would need to have more treatments in order to see results. Some patients prefer to do that over having a surgical procedures such as liposuction. 

Patients who have a BMI of 31 or less are considered to be ideal candidates for SculpSure. A BMI, however, is not always indicative of the fat distribution. For instance, if a patient carries more fat on their legs than on their stomach and flanks, they could still see great results from SculpSure in the tummy area.

SculpSure is not a weight loss tool, but more of an aid to help healthy individuals overcome a plateau and reach their ideal look.

If an individual is overweight or has a high BMI, they should consult a physician to see if SculpSure is the ideal option for them. 

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

Sculpsure Indications

Thank you for your question. In pretty much all non-invasive, minimally-invasive, and even traditional liposuction techniques, the indications are most ideal in patients who are close to their ideal body weight and who have - like you said - stubborn areas of fat that are not touched by diet and exercise. All forms of liposuction should not be used as a means of weight loss - they should be used to further contour and to define the area of concern. 

Sculpsure is touted as an easy, painless, safe and efficacious way to remove up to 24% of fat cells with one treatment. In a patient who is rather large and who has a lot of fat, this reduction is likely not going to be enough to warrant satisfaction. In my patients who are a little larger, I will often at least recommend 2 treatments - or will recommend other more traditional treatment modalities (like liposuction). SculpSure is not a necessarily cheap treatment, and the applicators can only cover so much; in patients who have a large area to treat, and who may need multiple treatments to really ensure satisfaction, it can be a little cost-prohibitive. 

Regardless, should you have questions or concerns, it is best to meet with you Plastic Surgeon in person and have an examination and consultation. Best of luck! 

Why is SculpSure recommended for people at or near their target weight?

The ideal candidates for non-invasive fat reduction procedures, such as SculpSure, are people that are near or at their ideal body weight that have isolated areas of unwanted fat.  This does not necessarily mean that the treatment could not be done to someone above their ideal weight.  In overweight people, there is normally not just an isolated area of unwanted fat but a more generalized issue with extra fat all over.  Treating one or two areas with SculpSure could help to reduce the fat in those areas, but the more ideal result would be obtained from loss of body fat throughout the body, which can be achieved with diet and exercise.  SculpSure is also not a method of weight loss.  

Michael I. Echavez, MD
San Francisco Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

SculpSure for those who are overweight

That is an excellent question.  Ideally, SculpSure is used on those near their ideal weight but have those areas that just won't go away no matter how complaint they are with diet and exercise.  However, it should be well explained that SculpSure is not a weight loss method and cannot take the place of diet and exercise.  That being said, it won't affect future weight loss.  If someone who has significant excess weight wants SculpSure, the evaluating clinician should be very clear about expectations, number of treatment, and cost.  I have done SculpSure on individuals with a higher BMI that had certain areas that were simply out of proportion to the rest of their bodies.  These individuals just want things to appear more fluid and symmetric, and I make certain they have realistic goals of what to expect.  

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

Why is SculpSure recommended only for people at or near their target weight?

SculpSure should not be considered a treatment for obesity. SculpSure can be used on heavier patients (individuals with BMI over 30) but it will require several treatments to each area with more applicators per each area to achieve the desired result. This will probably result in frustration for the patient.

Curtis Perry, MD
Downey Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Contouring and focal reduction over weight loss for SculpSure

The aim of treatments like Cooolsculpting and SculpSure is to reduce fat in unwanted areas, namely focal fat loss in areas such as the flanks, abdomen, thighs, buttocks, and arms (some off label for SculpSure). The reason why we advice this treatment for patients who are around the ideal BMI is that this is not meant for a weight loss treatment. 

I will be honest, and say this- someone who is in the 'healthy BMI range' with focal areas of fat will notice the difference a lot more than some one who is obese. Will these treatments work in obese patients? Yes, it will decrease fat, but the AMOUNT of fat reduction as an overall percentage is not enough to give a good result. The combination of dieting, exercise and in some cases surgical procedures maybe needed for optimal results. Once their BMI drops, sure, these patients are now candidates for SculpSure or Coolsculpting. 

Dr Davin Lim
Laser and aesthetic dermatologist
FIORI INSTITUTE of Body Contouring 
Brisbane, Australia 

Davin Lim, MBBS, FACD
Brisbane Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

SculpSure is only for patients with a BMI under 30

SculpSure reduces, on average 25% of the treated fat for each session.  If a patient is obese (BMI over 30)  there is just too much subcutaneous fat to target to make any noticeable difference wit SculpSure.  This is not a weight reduction technique, just contouring.

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

Sculpsure, Coolsculpting, Vanquish, Thermi

Sculpsure is a noninvasive 1060nm diode laser treatment that removes up to 25% of stubborn fat in the treated area in 25 minutes.It is FDA approved for the abdomen and flanks. It is safe if you get pregnant in the future.
The body contouring effects are seen in as quick as six weeks with final results at 12 weeks.
The results are permanent as long as you maintain your weight and health.
The laser targets and destroys the fat cells only which are then naturally removed from the body. Since the laser does not affect the skin or muscle it can be used on all skin colors and there has been no reported incidents of burns when treated by a properly trained physician. It is protective since it alternates heating and cooling.
It has four applicators that can be customized to treat the areas of stubborn fat.
If a second treatment is needed we wait at least six weeks and usually closer to 12.

There is no downtime and you can resume your normal activities right after the treatment. There may be some soreness in the area for a few days for which you can take ibuprofen or tylenol. A cold compress can also be used.

Sculpsure is not used for skin tightening however some of her patients have seen this. If more skin tightening is needed we have combined this with thermi or Ulthera for a complete treatment. Sculpsure is recommended for stubborn areas of fat that are not being lost by diet and exercise. It is not a weight loss treatment

Since I have both a coolsculpting and sculpsure I am working on protocols of utilizing both of these depending upon what areas need to be treated and the response to the treatment.
I have used sculpsure on other areas other than the abdomen with very good results.

I also use a Vectra 3D imaging system to try and show people what their treatment areas could look like.

Since Sculpsure outcomes can be based on technique and experience, please see a board certified plastic surgeon that specializes body contouring to see if Sculpsure or other treatments are available to meet your goals.

Take care,

Dr Schwartz
Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
Director-Beverly Hills Breast and Body Institute

No weight loss expectations

In the studies, weight loss was a minimum of at all, while inches were decreased for the treatment area. Just as liposuction should not be as a weight loss tool, SculpSure is similar.  The recommendation is for treatment at and under a BMI of 30.  However, debulking of problem areas can be effective. 

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.