Will Sculpsure damage muscle if there isn't enough fat?

I am considering getting sculpsure on my love handles and possibly on my upper back fat or the bra fat area. I only recently gained a bit of weight in those areas so it's actually not that noticeable. Will the applicators go too deep and hurt muscles if the layer of fat isn't enough?

Doctor Answers 15

SculpSure Is Safe - If Your Provider Is Knowledgeable

Delayed response but a good question. The 1064nm wavelength is NOT specific to fat, as others have suggested. We use it for laser hair removal in people with dark skin, and sometimes for tattoo removal. The difference is in the mode of energy delivery. SculpSure gradually heats the tissue and fat stores heat more than other tissues. The laser penetrates 3cm and the surface cooling protects the skin. If you had no fat under the applicator it could damage underlying tissue.  This is why we only treat the neck in folks who have a lot of excess tissue - to avoid damaging underlying nerves.

The SculpSure applicators sort of bunch your skin/fat up to the laser, and so a doc with proper training will be able to tell if the area is okay to treat. It is correct, though, that fat stores heat and given the blood flow to muscles, it is very unlikely they will be heated to 45C, the temp needed for tissue destruction. 

Hope that helps!


Encinitas Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Muscle damage with sculpture... is it possible?

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

No, the 1064 nm laser is specific to fat not muscle. In principle the muscle has hemoglobine due to its rich vascular supply, this fact makes it a safe procedure. The only concern is hernias that may have expose organs with fat. 

Finally, make sure that you have a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon.

Wishing you the best in your journey

Does Sculpsure Damage Muscle? No

The simple answer is no.  The activity of the laser is based on the wavelength used, which is a 1060 nm diode in the case of Sculpsure.  This wavelength is specific in its selectivity for adipocytes.  Other laser wavelengths can affect muscle tissue, but Sculpsure is safe in this regard.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Will Sculpsure damage muscle

Clinically, there does not seem to be any evidence that SculpSure will damage muscle cells. It is designed to target fat. Muscle cells have numerous capillaries and much more circulation than fat does. That is why muscles appear reddish in color. This circulation would dissipate the energy much more efficiently than fat cells can. The fat cells are more fragile. We have not seen any issues on treating muscular individuals.

George Volpe, MD
Newton Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Specific Wavelength

SculpSure uses a specific laser wavelength that targets the destruction of fat cells. Visit a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon to see if you a candidate for the procedure.

Patricia DePoli, MD, FACS
Skokie Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

SculpSure does not damage muscle

SculpSure, the world's first laser FDA indicated for non-surgical fat reduction, does not target muscle tissue.  The specific wavelength of the laser concentrates it's energy on fat cells.  It can be used basically on any area of the body where there is subcutaneous fat, as an off label use.  It works well on the upper back and bra liine area, takes only 24 minutes and there is no down time.

Good Luck!

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

Sculpsure, Coolsculpting, Vanquish

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

Jaime S. Schwartz, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

The SculpSure laser will not damage your muscle tissue

Lasers have the unique ability to target specific types of molecules with their energy. For this reason, SculpSure, which is a laser-based fat reduction treatment, does not harm the muscle or skin. This laser reaches a max depth of 3cm, or about the thickness of three iphones (no case).

Mark Karolak, DO, FAOCO
Bridgewater Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 53 reviews

SculpSure does not damage your muscles

Thank you for your question. The SculpSure procedure will not damage or pass through your muscles. It is a hyperthermic laser fat removal system that directs laser energy into your desired areas. The laser energy heats the fat cells and surrounding tissues which is only the subcutaneous fat layer. So it is not near the muscle region. SculpSure is a Spot Fat Reduction procedure, meaning it allows people to target specific stubborn areas that have been difficult to loose. So your “love handles” should be just fine, but in order to have an exact answer for your treatment it’s always best to have a full in-person consultation.

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

No - Sculpsure will not damage muscle.

SculpSure gently heats fat, and fat takes up the thermal or heat energy before muscle. This is because the fat layer lies on top of the muscle. 

You may feel tightness a day or so after the procedure, this is due to immediate collagen contraction and not muscle contraction (though it feels like it). This is very mild (I have had the procedure myself), and resolves within a day or so. So mild, it didn't stop me from going to the gym and performing my usual activities. (Hence why I chose to do SculpSure over Coolsculpting, even though I have access to both).

All the best

Dr Davin Lim
Laser Dermatologist
Fiori Institute of Body Contouring 
Brisbane
Australia. 

Davin Lim, MBBS, FACD
Brisbane Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 77 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.