- truSculpt is a newly launched treatment that simultaneously reduces fat cells and tightens skin tissue.
- It is the only FDA-cleared device that can be used on the entire body.
- The procedure is in the same price range as CoolSculpting and SculpSure.
- It uses a unique type of energy modality to reduce non-invasive fat.
While surgery remains the gold standard for fat reduction, according to the International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine (IAPAM), non-invasive fat elimination showed a 58% increase between 2014 and 2015 alone.
With the myriad of devices from which to choose, change is the only constant in the business of body sculpting. So, what sets each device apart and what results can be realistically expected? Read on as we provide answers to the top five questions on the latest addition to this trend: truSculpt 3D.
How Does truSculpt 3D Work?
We’re always on the lookout for state of the art body contouring technology that delivers results with minimal recovery time and an affordable price tag. Let’s see if truSculpt fits the bill by first exploring how this technology works.
truSculpt employs a multi-dimensional approach to fat reduction and body sculpting by delivering precise therapeutic temperatures to the subcutaneous adipose tissue. A controlled, monopolar radiofrequency (instead of bipolar RF) is used to selectively heat large volumes of subcutaneous adipose tissue while maintaining relatively low skin temperature (44 °C/111.2 °F on average).
Details of the Procedure
A handheld module is used to deliver RF energy, which is pulsed into the fat layer without damaging the skin or surrounding tissues. A return pad is attached onto the patient’s back to ensure satisfactory electrical contact.
Each anatomical body part requires a single 15-minute session, and an average of 24% overall fat reduction can be expected. Results can be seen as early as 6 to 8 weeks post treatment.
According to Cutera Inc. – the makers of truSculpt 3D – a patient typically requires one treatment to achieve significant fat reduction (i.e. 20-30%).
The destruction of fat cells is permanent. However, it is not meant to treat obesity. If the patient’s diet changes, the remaining fat cells will expand accordingly. All skin types can be treated.
How Does truSculpt 3D Differ from Coolsculpting and SculpSure?
The differences are worth noting. Given how the device works, truSculpt 3D offers two particularly unique advantages in the form of skin tightening and the lack of downtime required. It is also the only FDA-cleared treatment that has been approved for use on the entire body.
Toronto-based plastic surgeon to the stars Dr. Marc DuPéré was among the first Canadian plastic surgeons to offer truSculpt 3D as an alternative to liposuction. He confirms that the use of radiofrequency is known for its skin tightening effects, unlike fat freezing (i.e. CoolSculpting).
This is because the heat RF energy produces destroys fat cells, which in turn creates an inflammatory response that eventually leads to collagen production and tissue repair. SculpSure, by comparison, uses a laser to melt fat instead of RF energy.
Note that in recent news, several patients have reported dissatisfaction following their SculpSure treatments. In fact, the makers of SculpSure are presently facing a class-action lawsuit regarding its effectiveness and discomfort.
Post-Op Skin Tightening
Dr. DuPéré explains that as a surgeon, he sees truSculpt 3D’s skin tightening benefits as a huge asset: “Post-op, it allows me to treat certain things that otherwise would have forced me to be more conservative during the surgery.” He goes on to explain that following surgical fat reduction, skin sagginess due to a previous loss of skin elasticity might require excisional skin surgery afterwards.
“Should the patient be willing to undergo 1 or 2 treatments post-surgery for skin tightening with truSculpt 3D, it is easier to avoid surgery scars,” Dr. DuPéré notes.
Hard to Reach Places
Dr. DuPéré adds that this device proves beneficial in post-pregnancy and post weight loss as one treatment can sculpt anatomically difficult areas such as back adipose deposits (a.k.a. the bra bulge) and the chin area.
While several devices only work in the areas where the soft tissue can be suctioned into an applicator, truSculpt 3D can be used directly over an area where the skin cannot be pinched (as opposed to CoolSculpting and SculpSure).
“I regularly use truSculpt 3D in adjunction to many liposuction and body contouring procedures, especially for the arms, legs and the abdomen,” he adds.
Treatments Are Hotter — but Shorter
Another beneficial feature of truSculpt 3D is the frequency of operation: 2 megahertz (MHz) as opposed to the 1 MHz delivered by other systems. This means the rate of heating is three times greater. This advantage translates to noticeably shorter treatment times with truSculpt 3D.
Do Studies Support truSculpt 3D’s Claims?
There are a few recent studies that show promising results.
Dr. Amy Taub is the Founder and Director of Advanced Dermatology, LLC and Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Northwestern University Medical School. Her team conducted a truSculpt 3D study with 13 patients to evaluate the efficacy of the device at 8 and 12 weeks post-treatment. 360 degree clinical photography was used and fat reduction was measured using controlled ultrasound.
Dr. Taub notes that each subject responded well to the study and achieved an average of 24% fat reduction in one single treatment, with up to 34% reduction confirmed by ultrasound at the 12-week interval.
Dr. Tahl Humes and Dr. Michael McGuiness evaluated the safety and efficacy of a single treatment with the truSculpt 3D monopolar RF device using the 2MHz handpiece in 10 patients. In this small study, digital photographs and ultrasounds were used to evaluate the results at 12 weeks post-treatment. Overall fat reduction was consistent with the first study and the procedure was deemed safe and effective.
Does Treatment Hurt?
Treatment with truSculpt is generally described as easily tolerable. There’s no suction involved and no reports of cramping during the procedure, tingly sensations, numbness or delayed onset. Some patients describe a sensation akin to a hot stone massage and say it is relatively comfortable and tolerable.
However, Dr. DuPéré stresses that the procedure is not entirely pain free: “It’s heat, after all. The beauty of the treatment is that the temperature is monitored and fully customizable. We bring up the heat slowly, and like to bring it to a level that is tolerable for the patient, knowing that as high as we go, the better the results.”
In addition, the body cools down instantly once the treatment stops or the temperature is dialed down. Several studies note that patient pain scores during their treatment session ranged from a score of 2-4 out of 10.
Mild Side Effects
Moderate redness is expected and typically dissipates within a few hours. Mild edema and tenderness may develop and typically resolves within 24 hours. Superficial nodules or lumps may develop, which can be massaged down.
How Much Does truSculpt Cost?
TruSculpt 3D’s price point is in the same range as CoolSculpting and SculpSure.
The cost will vary based on the number of areas treated and the surface area of each. It normally retails for $750 USD per area.
The Final Verdict on truSculpt 3D
Compared to CoolSculpt and SculpSure, the average fat reduction is similar across all three devices. The real difference is that truSculpt 3D offers skin tightening, can be used on the entire body, results in less discomfort and has no downtime.
Dr. DuPéré stresses the importance of getting the procedure done at a practice where several fat loss treatments are readily available so you can make an informed decision based on unbiased information.
» If you would like to consult an expert to see what works best for you, use Zwivel’s cosmetic doctor directory to find a professional practicing in your area.