By CONOR FERGUSON and CATHY BECKER
The latest weapon in the battle of the bulge is the body contouring process known as SculpSure, a nonsurgical procedure that claims to be the first to use lasers to “melt” stubborn abdominal fat.
The $1,500-per-session procedure is reportedly less painful than other alternatives and convenient enough that it can be done in under half an hour.
“This is something you can do on your lunch break. Takes literally 25 minutes,” Dr. Hooman Khorasani, the chief of the dermatologic and cosmetic surgery division at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, told ABC News.
Here’s how it claims to work: First, cooling plates are attached to the patient’s abdomen. Next, a laser penetrates the skin, heating up fat cells and, SculpSure claims, destroying the fat cells in a way that means some of the fat can be eliminated by the body. Patients can determine the level of heat they want, meaning they might get different results.
Jordana Persad said her belly area has always been a trouble spot, so the 34-year-old New Jersey resident turned to SculpSure.
“I did it to jump-start my diet. I wanted to see a result right away,” she said.
Persad said the treatment didn’t hurt at all, so she decided to do it again.
“Once you remove most other part of the fat layer and you wait about six weeks or so … you can actually go back in the same area and repeat the procedure,” according to Khorasani. He did not perform Persad’s procedure.
She said she has lost 1 to 2 inches of belly fat. “I fit nicer in my jeans,” she said.
Persad did not mention whether her diet had anything to do with the change. She said she has recommended the procedure to friends.
Doctors say that it takes about 12 weeks to see full results and that the procedure is ideal for patients who already have a healthy lifestyle but can’t seem to get rid of certain areas of fat.
SculpSure is currently approved by the FDA only for use on the abdomen. Side effects include swelling, numbness and bruising.
There are no independent medical studies that prove the procedure works to “melt” fat. Khorasani described the procedure as one more alternative for patients.
“In some patients it’s actually a really amazing way of removing some localized area of fat that has been really bothering them for a while,” he said.
ABC News’ chief women’s health correspondent, Dr. Jennifer Ashton, called the procedure “an interesting new option.” She said that some studies have shown that after surgical liposuction, fat can reappear in other places in the body but “we don’t know” if that will happen with SculpSure because the procedure is too new.
“We have to remember the alternatives here,” she said today on “Good Morning America.” “Healthy diet and exercise are not only better for you on the outside but better for you on the inside.”
Ashton added, “There’s always the novel concept ‘Accept yourself as you are.’”