Some thoughts on fat reduction technologies.

What is your opinion on laser fat reduction technologies like Sculpsure? Are the results permanent? I need minor fat reduction but am too petite for coolsculpting vacuum applicators. Thank you in advance Dr. Irwin!

This topic is getting so complicated, isn’t it!!  I’ll try to help sort it out since the technology has literally been exploding in this area in the past few years.

When you think about how fat is removed, here’s the skinny (so sorry for the bad pun). 🙂

  • If the fat is physically removed, it can’t come back.  For example, liposuction, or any system that “sucks” the fat out.
  • If the fat cell is subjected to enough stress, it will die, and then the fat cells don’t come back.  For example, Coolsculpting or Kybella.
  • But if the fat cell membrane is just injured, fat may leak out temporarily, but then the cell repairs and the fat is back.  Many radiofrequency systems are in this category.
  • If you need large areas done, liposuction may still be your best option.
  • If you need contouring, Coolsculpting is safe and effective.
  • Skin tightening may be a better option if you are quite thin.

3 important guidelines:

  1. The skill and experience of the surgeon or technician often more important than the exact technology used.
  2. You can ask your doctor or consult provider, to give you a copy of the study paper or papers that prove that it’s permanent.  Look for a one year follow up period. Also, ask how they handle the situation if you get no results.  Provided, of course, that your weight is stable.
  3. Every fat-busting technology has the potential to cause some unevenness, bumps, lines or problems you weren’t expecting.  Do your homework, get at least 2-3 consults, and don’t rush!


Hope this helps,
Dr. Brandith Irwin
Founder, SkinTour
Director, Madison Skin & Laser Center
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Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

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