Liposuction is big business! In fact, worldwide, liposuction is the number one cosmetic procedure performed today. But not everyone wants or is a candidate for liposuction, so there has been a push to develop non-invasive, non-surgical fat reduction. Some of the newer technologies have either had significant risk of skin burns, permanent nerve damage, are painful to endure, and/or produce negligible or bad results (such as dents). In 2015, Cynosure approached my physician employer with SculpSure, a new laser-based body sculpture device. After looking at the scientific studies, safety and efficacy, we made the choice to incorporate SculpSure into the practice. I was excited we would be offering another procedure to help patients get rid of unwanted fat.
As an RN practicing in California, it is within the scope of practice for me to administer the SculpSure laser treatment with physician supervision. In the first year, I have administered over 1300 SculpSure PACs, an average of 325 treatments on about 150 different patients, making me one of the most experienced SculpSure Clinicians in the United States. The FDA has only approved areas of abdomen and flanks for SculpSure, but SculpSure is very safe and effective on other areas of the body, known as “off-label” treatment areas.
I began working in the fat sculpting business in 1991 and have felt much pleasure in helping patients achieve joy and satisfaction when they get rid of a bump or bulge that has bothered them for years. In 1993, I became one of the first nurses worldwide to be trained to inject large volume dilute local anesthetic, and have safely and gently injected local anesthetic into thousands of patients with not even one complication. Identifying the depth of fat pockets is second nature to me, and is also key to knowing where to place the SculpSure Applicators to assure a noticeable and pleasing result.
I was initially worried that SculpSure results would not be as dramatic as Cynosure (the SculpSure Laser manufacturer) promised, and patients would be disappointed, so I made every effort to not over-sell or promise too much. Since that time, I have found that SculpSure truly is effective at diminishing fat pockets and reshaping the body for most patients. Additionally, many patients enjoyed the additional benefit of skin tightening. The key to patient satisfaction is achieving realistic expectations. It is important to listen to what the patient hopes to achieve and to discuss the likelihood of meeting those expectations.
SculpSure is easy to use. I have not encountered any skin burns, but a couple patients have experienced mild bruising and/or slightly more prolonged tenderness following treatment. Less than 10% of patients reported small temporary subcutaneous nodules, a harmless inflammatory response that is a known side effect of treatment. In a future blog, I will discuss a few precautions to observe when applying the applicators to prevent skin burns.
While the SculpSure laser is fairly easy to operate, there are a few key concepts to protecting the skin and providing a safe treatment. I started this blog so that I can educate patients to help them make their choice among the options available for fat reduction, to educate clinicians and patients on realistic expectations, and to promote safe and effective SculpSure. I have no financial incentives to sharing my opinions, knowledge and experiences.
– Michele Horwich, RN