Does SculpSure melt fat or kill fat cells?

If Sculpsure melts fat in the cells. Does it mean the cells can reabsorb fatty later and the tummy will bounce back? Thank you for your answer doctors.

Doctor Answers 16

What is SculpSure doing?

SculpSure uses heat from the laser to target the nucleus of the fat cell causing enough damage to result in cell death and eventual reabsorption of fat and shrinkage of the fatty tissue layer.  Interestingly, there was a very good research study published several years ago out of Japan, in which a fat transfer was performed in mice.  The fat cells, termed "adipocytes" had their DNA labelled with one tag and the stem cells accompanying the fat had their DNA tagged with a different molecule.  Several months later, the fat grafts were analyzed and the adipocytes were noted to only contain DNA that was tagged with the stem-cell DNA tags!  This is very strong evidence that, at least in mice, fat cells can be regenerated from stem cells - these were human fat cells, by the way - which goes against everything we have understood (that we do not generate new fat cells).  In all of my liposuction cases (thousands) I have had one patient who, after putting on a modest amount of weight after lipo, regained fat in the area we liposuctioned - twice!  So, although it is most common that people will put on weight more in areas that were not treated, it is not guaranteed and the same thing would hold true for SculpSure-treated areas.

How does SculpSure work?

Thank you for your question. SculpSure works through laser technology to specifically target the fat cells and kill them. In clinical studies, up to 24% of fat cells are reduced per treatment. In this sense, it is similar to liposuction in that once the fat cells are gone, they're gone - with the caveat that if you gain weight and are prone to gaining weight in your abdomen, the fat cells that are left behind can replicate again. It is an easy, safe, fast procedure that works - however, in my patient population, I suggest at least 2 treatments for the best results (and this, of course, depends on the amount of fat in the area treated). Once the laser kills the fat cells, it takes your body some time to eliminate them - so it's important to note that you will not see results right away. In fact, most patients start to see results at about the 3-6 week mark with maximal effects at 3 months. I will often retreat at around 6 weeks. After treatment, you can go right back to your life - you may have some slight soreness in the treated area, but most patients don't feel much of anything. A relatively large area can be treated in about 25 minutes, and the entire abdomen and flanks (love handles) in most patients can be treated in under an hour. Best of luck! 

How does SculpSure work?

SculpSure is the world's first FDA indicated laser for non surgical fat reduction.  So, what is a laser and how does it work?  Without going into all the physics behind laser technology, suffice it say that a laser is a concentrated beam of light, the type of light beam is determined by the wavelength.  The electromagnetic radiation spectrum ranges from gamma rays and X-rays with very short wavelengths to FM and AM radio signals with very long wavelengths.  The visible light spectrum, that you and I can see, ranges from 400-700 nm (nanometers),  SculpSure uses a laser with a wavelength of 1060 nm, the light is generated by a diode.  This is the most common type of laser, other examples of diode lasers are bar code readers, light pointers and DVD readers.Many outcomes are possible when a laser beam comes in contact with an object; transmission, scatter, reflection or absorption.  If an object absorbs the laser, then the energy in the light beam is transmitted to that object.  That energy concentration can be very strong, strong enough to disrupt the targeted area.  The wavelength of 1060 nm is the absorption wavelength for adipose tissue (fat cells).  So, when this laser is placed on the skin, it is transmitted through the skin, without damaging it, ignores muscle, bone, blood vessels and nerves and targets the fat cells which then heat up and are disrupted.  This now dead fat cell is cleared by the very efficient immune system of our bodies.  Our bodies process millions of dead cells (in the skin, bowel, etc) that are cleared and eliminated daily.  This is a permanent removal of the fat cell.  We are all born with a finite number of fat cells, when we gain or lose weight the fat cell gets larger or smaller.  Once a fat cell is removed, new cells do not replace them, this is a permanent removal.  SculpSure, on average, removes 24% of the targeted subcutaneous fat cell for each session.An applicator head is placed on the skin overlying the targeted fat area. The applicator head contains the laser and and a sapphire cooling device.  There are a maximum of 4 applicators that can be utilized at once, each measuring 4" X 6".  The entire treatment session takes 25 minutes, the laser alternates with the cooling device, which is necessary to prevent overheating of the skin as the laser does generate heat.  The laser technician adjusts the power of the laser based on the response from the patient to maximize the outcome of the procedure.  It should be slightly uncomfortable, but not painful.  The final result is seen after 12 weeks and most people will need 2 treatment sessions, however you can have as many sessions as you want!  There is no down time, one can return to normal activity immediately.  No anesthesia is necessary during the procedure and there is minimal if any pain or discomfort after the procedure.  Some lumpiness during the inflammation process does occur and twice daily massage of the area for 5-10 minutes is recommended.This is wonderful new technology and has been proven to be very safe and effective.  Good Luck!

David Finkle, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

It kills the fat cells

however there is no magic. even though it kills about 20-25% of the fat cells in the treated area, that still means that you have 75% of the fat cells still alive.  if you want your best results, you will want to exercise and be stricter with your diet.

david berman md

David E. Berman, MD
Sterling Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

#sculpsure/#Body Contouring/ #Hi Definition Prcoedures

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.

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

Sculpsure does destroy fat cells

The amount of fat cells in our bodies are predetermined at birth.  The number of fat cells are stored in our bodies and remain constant throughout our adult life. If you gain weight  the fat cells get larger.  If you lose weight the fat cells become smaller.  The number of fat cells stay consistent and do not decrease in number. The SculpSure will destroy up to 24% of the fat cells treated. The destroyed fat cells will never return.


Thank you for your question. SculpSure physically destroys unwanted fat. Its ability to eliminate fat has enabled SculpSure to be a much more effective treatment in all clinical studies than its competitors, including CoolSculpting. I suggest that you next consult in person with a board certified facial plastic surgeon.

Best wishes,

Ross A. Clevens, MD
Melbourne Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

SculpSure disrupts the fat cell

The heat of the SculpSure laser disrupts and damages fat cells.  The injured fat cells and any lipid they contain are metabolized over time enhancing a more sculpted look. SculpSure kills fat cells.


Sculpsure and Coolsculpting both permanently reduce the fat bulge in a given area.  One is done by heat and one by freezing.  Please consult an expert to determine which is the best procedure for you.  Best, Dr. Green

SculpSure Permanently Removes Fat

You are correct that the fat is actually stored in cells and not free in the tissue.  The laser energy from SculpSure irreversibly damages the fat cell and since the body does not have the ability to create more fat cells the results are permanent.  It will take the body 12-16 weeks to completely reabsorb and process the damaged cells and debris. New fat has to be stored in a different spot.  This is true of any treatment that permanently removes fat (tummy tuck, lipo, Coolsculpt or SculpSure).  Continue to take care of your self and maintain your weight for best results.

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.