Should I be concerned at the lack of positive results, and the emergence of seemingly permanent hard lumps in the areas?

I am coming up on 13 weeks post-Sculspure. I went with a friend, and we both have had the same negative experience. We don't look any thinner, and using measuring tape, we've actually grown a bit. Not only that, we both have hard lumps in our abs and flanks. We weren't told to possibly expect this by the doctor (he didn't tell us anything!), but we saw on here to massage them. Sadly that hasn't helped. Are we stuck with these hard lumps permanently?? This is so disappointing. Please help!

Doctor Answers 15

Not Seeing Results and Hard Lumps After Sculpsure

Not sure why you are not seeing the results you want, but in the clinical trails submitted to the FDA for SculpSure  23% of patients who had their abdomens treated had a nodule. The average duation was 70 days and the maximum duration was 139 days which is 20 weeks. For the flanks 12% had a nodule and the average duration was 78 days, and the maximum duration was 138 days, or 20 weeks.

I like to inform patients of these possible effects at the time of treatment so they would not have to be so worried about them not going away. They all went away.

Here is some info from the clinical trials:

Adverse Events
All events were transient and were mild in nature. Instances of erythema were reported and all resolved within a day on average. Instances of pain and edema were reported and all resolved within 4 to 7 days on average. Instances of bruising were reported and all resolved within 12 days. Instances of nodules and hardness were reported and all but one resolved within 55 to 69 days on average. Nodules and hardness that were reported did not interfere with daily activities and did not require surgical intervention. One (nodule) outstanding adverse event remained at Dr. Bass’s Study center at the 12 week follow up. The patient still had a trace indurated mass present. This is non-tender, not visible from the outside and has no clinical significance. The patient is satisfied with the result of the treatment and is not disturbed by the presence of the mass which she has trouble finding on her own. The nodule was 5 mm and required no treatment. The patient returned 6 months post treatment for an examination, at which point the nodule was considered resolved. The only interventions used were massage. There were no reports of blistering, pinpoint bleeding, crusting, scabbing, itching, pustules, skin burns, scarring, infection, allergic reaction, hypopigmentation, and hyperpigmentation.

Adverse Events
All events were transient and were mild in nature. Instances of edema, blistering and erythema were reported and all resolved within 4-6 days on average. Pain and bruising were reported and all resolved within 9-11 days on average. Instances of nodules and hardness were reported and resolved 32-78 days on average. Nodules and hardness that were reported did not interfere with daily activities and did not require surgical intervention. 1 hardness at Dr. Katz’ study center did not resolve completely by the end of the study. The subject at Dr. Katz study center has been asked to return for an additional follow up. The only interventions used were ice packs, Tylenol/acetaminophen or massage. There were no reports of pinpoint bleeding, crusting, scabbing, itching, pustules, skin burns, scarring, infection, allergic reactions, hypopigmentation and hyperpigmentation.

Mountain View Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews


Sorry to hear about your experience. I have seen nodules and they do resolve with time. It is best to massage these sites a few times a day and continue to stay well hydrated as this helps the lymphatic system remove the digested fat from your body. As the lumps improve so will the inflammation and localized swelling around these sites and then you may start to see a better result.

Sharon Scherl, MD
Englewood Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Sculpsure Nodules

Hello and sorry to hear of your concerns. Give it some time, 12 weeks is usually what it takes to see results. If you are still feeling the nodules you may still have some inflammation as well. The lumps you are feeling are the destroyed fat cells. Drink lots of water, and massage the areas 5-10 minutes twice a day. This will help your body release those cells. You are not stuck with the lumps. This is a common reaction just give it some time. Best to you, Dr Faraz

Patricia Faraz, MD
Ladera Ranch OB/GYN
4.7 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Lumps after SculpSure

SculpSure, the world's first FDA indicated laser for non-surgical removal of abdominal and flank fat, is still in it's infancy.  We and the company (Cynosure) are still learning how best to use the technology.  It does work, it is just a matter of discovering what the best combination of treatment options for you.

We are now performing "treat to complete" programs with SculpSure, which includes a much more aggressive first treatment followed by a second treatment, the results are impressive.  My guess is that you need more treatments a better result.

The lumps that you are referring to are areas of inflammation where the fat has been destroyed, and are actually a good sign.  Yes, do massage these areas for 5-10 minutes, 2-3 times/day to help them resolve.  We offer Endermologie after the SculpSure treatments to help smooth the treated area.  This is like a mechanical deep massage, other physicians offer similar treatments to help improve the results of SculpSure.

I would recommend contacting your SculpSure physician and talk about the "treat to complete" program.

Good Luck!

David Finkle, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Lumps following SculpSure

The lumps you are feeling are actually destroyed fat cells. It may take 3-4 months for them to fully resolve. If, at that point, they haven't then you need to see your surgeon to be examined in person. 

Sean T. Doherty, MD, FACS
Boston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

SculpSure--Lumps and Concerns

I am disappointed to hear about your experience with SculpSure. We have had generally wonderful results but have seen the lump issue in some rare instances. These have all resolved within 3 months. It is important to pick a center that specializes in SculpSure. While the SculpSure machine is the same wherever you go, there are some differences in techniques. I would go in for the after pictures. Talk to your SculpSure specialist about re-treating those areas. We often included re-treatment in the initial pricing structure

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


Hang in there. The lumps should go away with time and are related to injured fat.

Check your weight to make sure that has not change, and re-treatment can also be performed.

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

#Sculpsure/#Body Contouring/ #Hi Definition Prcoedures

Thank you for your question.

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.

If you notice lumps after (which I've never seen) I would recommend massage. You should also alert your surgeon.  No compression garment required.

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 our 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

Jaime S. Schwartz, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 91 reviews


Thank you for your question. Patients can expect to see fat reduction in treated areas in about 6-12 weeks after just one treatment. Patients may feel a little tenderness in the treated areas for a few days, but this sensation is comparable to that of an intense workout, and should not disrupt normal activities. Based on your slightly irregular and seemingly uncomfortable results, I suggest that you discuss your procedure with your board certified facial plastic surgeon to learn more about the initial causes. It would be prudent to meet with other facial plastic surgeons to discuss the best path forward.

Best wishes,

Ross A. Clevens, MD
Melbourne Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Give it more time

just be more patient and continue to massage the area for 5-10 minutes a few times per day. you should also expect to need a 2nd Sculpsure treatment, usually done 6 weeks after the first treatment.

I had my Sculpsure treatment and immediately went to the gym with no problems. you should get back to exercising, if you have not already.

to get your best results, you want to increase your exercising and dieting, if you can.

hang in there.

david berman md

David E. Berman, MD
Sterling Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 108 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.