When walking around New York City, it’s hard not to be bombarded with ads for the latest fat reduction procedure (and even harder not to be tempted). Although not for everyone, some procedures serve as a complement to the effort put into diet and exercise.
I was intrigued by one treatment in particular: TruSculpt. I headed over to Spring Street Dermatology in TriBeCa, Manhattan to try it for myself, and I had the opportunity to speak to Dr. Sapna Palep, founder and board certified dermatologist. We discussed its similarity to other non-invasive innovations on the market today, and what to expect at your appointment.
What is TruSculpt and How Does it Work?
TruSculpt is a non-invasive, non-surgical, fat reduction procedure that uses radio frequency to permanently destroy fat cells. Patients achieve an average of 24% fat reduction in one treatment. It is intended for body contouring, sculpting, and fat and cellulite reduction in small amounts.
How Does it Differ from Other Non-invasive Fat Reduction Procedures on the Market?
The procedure’s main competitors are Coolsculpting and SculpSure. Coolsculpting freezes fat cells as opposed to melting fat cells through radio frequency. While SculpSure also melts fat cells, it uses laser technology rather than radio frequency. The primary difference is that TruSculpt also improves skin laxity, whereas its competitors do not.
What is the Purpose of TruSculpt?
The purpose of TruSculpt is to contour and sculpt the body of weight stable patients. It’s intended to treat “problem” areas resistant to diet and exercise.
When Can you Expect to See Results? What is the Process Like?
Visible results are expected within 6-8 weeks, but full effect of the treatment will be seen at 3 months. The process itself is simple to go through. Pockets of fat are treated in 15 minute increments with a handpiece delivering low and uniform radiofrequency to selected fat cells. The patient experiences a sensation of extreme heat. An average of 24% fat cells are irreversibly damaged and are slowly removed and excreted by the body naturally over a 12 week process.
Who is TruSculpt Best For?
TruSculpt is best for weight stabilized patients with stubborn areas resistant to diet and exercise.
How Many Treatments are Needed?
The treatment gives an average of 24% reduction in the area treated, so the number of desired treatments depends on the individual patient’s end goal. Typically, most people get 1-2 treatments spaced 3 months apart.
What is the Recovery Like?
Moderate redness is expected as a reaction to the heat and typically dissipates within a few hours. Mild edema and tenderness may develop, but this typically resolves itself within 24 hours. Superficial nodules or lumps may develop, which you can massage down. Long story short: there might be a mild reaction, but nothing that will last longer than a day. You can resume normal activity afterwards!
When I went to try TruSculpt for the first time, I went into the TriBeCa location and was prepped by Dr. Palep. First, the area is completely sanitized. Then, applicators are placed on your abdomen in order to graph the area you’ll be receiving the treatment. TruSculpt is a device that uses radio frequency by going over each set of rectangles for a period of 15 minutes, separated by 3 sets of 5 minute intervals, where the temperature gets hotter and hotter. A conductive jelly-like liquid is placed onto the abdomen to help glide the device across skin.
Pain-wise, I thought the heat was extreme in some areas (a 9 out of 10 to be quite honest), since you are not sedated or numbed whatsoever. The feeling is comparable to that of getting burned, but Dr. Palep says that it’s dependent on skin sensitivity and pain tolerance from person to person. It doesn’t last long, though, and is definitely tolerable.
After the three month period mark, I have definitely seen visible results in the problem areas of my abdomen. A second treatment might be recommended dependent on your target areas, but I am personally satisfied with the result of one. I would highly recommend this procedure to anyone looking to reduce a small amount of fat on their bodies, that you cannot get rid of with exercise alone. It’s a great motivator and tool to encourage your fitness journey, as well as a lower cost alternative to more invasive options.
Feature Image via Daniela Spector