Being a mother has its privileges. But in life, for everything that’s good, there’s always the bad, and having a baby changed my stomach forever. It’s been eight years since I was pregnant, and while the baby weight has been off for years, I find myself still fighting to abolish this undesirable little pooch on the lower part of my stomach. There’s nothing short of surgery (honestly, I probably would do that, too) that I won’t put to the test—workouts, diets, strange compression garments and even noninvasive fat fighters. If I think it will help make a difference and get me a flat tummy, I’ll try it.
About three months ago I decided to test out the latest noninvasive fat fighter, SculpSure, at Miami plastic surgeon Sean Simon, MD‘s, office. Not quite sure what I was getting myself into, Dr. Simon explained to me that the biggest point of difference between SculpSure and other devices on the market is the way they go at the fat. “SculpSure utilizes a diode laser technology to obliterate fat under the skin. The laser energy is transmitted through the skin and then absorbed by the fatty tissue, which is the main target,” he says. “In doing so, the energy is absorbed by the fatty layer creating heat, which in turn destroys the fat cells. The analogy I use with patients is that SculpSure is like a sniper with the specific target of fat, whereas other devices are more like a grenade, destroying everything in its path.” The areas of attack for this mission: my middle to lower stomach and my flanks.
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Never having SculpSure before (full disclosure: I have had other types of body treatments done before and they all feel differently) I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in terms of pain over the next 25 minutes (that’s how long each treatment area lasts). I hopped up on the table and got hooked up to the machine, which involved a belt of sorts that went around my waist and two applicators that hooked into them. Once everything was in place and tightened up so that it wouldn’t move during the treatment, we got started. The first few seconds felt like nothing and I thought to myself that it would be a breeze. But, I was wrong. As the device started to heat up, I started to notice discomfort, and fast. The best way I can describe it is like a really bad menstrual cramp that’s also hot at the same time. But, the cramping was isolated just to the area where the applicators were. My only saving grace to get me through the treatment was that each time the cramping got to the point of being barely tolerable for another second, the chill cycle (Dr. Simon says the machine has a cooling system in place to maintain safe and comfortable skin surface temperatures) would kick in and I could feel my anxiety levels drop. This went on over and over until the session was done.
Next came the flanks. I got unstrapped from the machine and was moved over to a massage chair, you know the ones at the nail salon where you stick your head through a hole and your knees go up on the pads. Again, I got hooked up to the machine, but this time the applicators (a smaller size) were placed on the fatty parts of my flanks. It was the same thing as before: heat up for a few seconds and then cool down. Only, the flanks hurt substantially more than the stomach did—or at least for me. When I asked Dr. Simon why, he said, “Everyone is different and it really depends on how much fat and nerves are in the area and where the pad is positioned.”
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The next day, I definitely felt tender in the treated areas and a little bloated and swollen in my stomach, which was to be expected. “You can sometimes get some areas that are a little firm after the treatment, which is totally fine. I have my patients massage those spots for a few days to up to one week to aid the lymphatics,” says Dr. Simon. The swelling and firmness persisted for about two weeks, but it wasn’t anything uncomfortable—I just had to pay a little more attention to which pair of jeans I was wearing and steer clear of anything super tight.
About 12 weeks after the initial treatment I was back at Dr. Simon’s office for my first follow-up appointment. I was definitely starting to see a difference in my stomach, but it wasn’t until he pulled up the before-and-after pictures that I knew it was working (mind you, this was all before I really kicked my diet and workouts into high gear). I was so impressed with the results, that when he suggested going for round two I said yes! Even though I knew that I would have to go through 50 minutes of what felt like, to me, cramping, burning and pinching, in the end I knew it was all worth it.
I completed the second session and still have another six weeks or so to go until I’m at the 12-week mark, and already I can see even more improvement. There’s little fat on my flanks, my pants fit looser in my stomach and I see the fat starting to whittle away. I’m so excited to see the final end result, and if it’s anything like what I saw on the first go around, I know I’ll be thrilled!
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