The world of lasers and technologies alike is broad and complex, and always evolving. And it is a good thing, as we get better and better at it!
Being an aesthetic plastic surgeon for 16 years now (since 2001), I realized that the technologies had gotten much better in 2017 and that the demand for nonsurgical, noninvasive fat reduction and fat removal procedures was on the rise. Wanting the best for Visage Clinic and my patients, I studied each brand and tried several technologies before “lasering” down on the newest: truSculpt 3D.
Last May, Cutera® announced it launched truSculpt 3D, a significant advance to its truSculpt nonsurgical body sculpting platform. Visage Clinic is a Centre of Excellence, and I am proud to be the FIRST aesthetic plastic surgeon in Toronto to acquire this hot liposuction alternative.
TruSculpt 3D works by heating the tissues to 45–47 degrees Celsius via deep radio frequencies. This leads to fat cell apoptosis, or cell death. Oil is released and reabsorbed. Fat reduction occurs. New collagen is deposited, and skin tightening occurs. Voilà!
Using controlled, monopolar radiofrequency, truSculpt 3D offers on average 24% fat reduction in ONE single treatment, according to research results submitted to the FDA and Health Canada — something other technologies can only reach with several treatments (for example, CoolSculpting requires 3 treatments at a minimum).
Everyone knows that radio frequency has been used in medicine for many years for heating tissue and destroying targeted cells (think cancer treatment, for example). We are also very satisfied with our other radio frequency machine — our VoluDerm radio frequency and PRP device currently in use in our medical spa. So, radio frequency made sense to me for targeting and destroying fat cells.
Studies were conducted treating patients with a single truSculpt 3D treatment. Fat thickness reduction was objectively measured using controlled ultrasound imaging and photography. The investigators found the truSculpt 3D results from the ultrasound measurements and photography were in line with — or better — than other noninvasive body sculpting technologies, which was good news to me. Even better, discomfort with truSculpt 3D is minimal, complications are few, and often only a single treatment is required.
The research also revealed that truSculpt 3D:
1) has clinically achieved the highest percentage of fat thickness removal, at 36% after ONE treatment
2) is the only FDA-cleared device to do ANY area of the body
3) is the ONLY device to create fat cell signal reduction and to tighten skin
4) is done in almost half the time needed by other devices
5) Cutera (the truSculpt 3D manufacturer) has NEVER obsoleted a product — a testimony to the quality of Cutera’s technologies. Cutera prides itself in innovation without obsolescence and this is shared by Visage Clinic.
“Am I a good candidate for TruSculpt 3D?”
Indications for truSculpt 3D are like other technologies for noninvasive fat reduction:
1. Excess fat in targeted areas, equally for men and women.
2. Active lifestyle to maintain the results.
3. Reasonable skin elasticity, unless the technology also tightens the skin (and truSculpt 3D does).
4. Patients who understand that noninvasive technologies will never produce the results that liposuction would.
5. Patients who are looking for some improvement with no downtime and who understand that results can vary from very minimal to a significant change
6. Patients who are not interested right now in liposuction, its associated bruising, swelling, discomfort, downtime, etc.
To me, having a machine that equally does fat burning AND skin tightening is a true advantage for my patients. TruSculpt 3D does both, so my patient get both effects during the same treatment. My patients have busy lifestyles and want to minimize their visits to the clinic, so it is very useful to address both issues in one setting. The tightening component of truSculpt 3D is also very important for my post-pregnancy and post weight loss patients, as having the ability to tighten the skin post-surgery allows me to recommend perhaps a less aggressive procedure, smaller scars, or to be able to perform a larger liposuction with less risk of skin laxity (sagginess).
Having two good laser hair removal devices with Cynosure, I did consider SculpSure for some time, as it uses a specific laser wavelength — and we love our 3 lasers at VISAGE! But its current legal battle about its non-effectiveness and excessive pain made me look away, for obvious reasons. Again, patients’ satisfaction and comfort are very important to me.
My newest truSculpt 3D is different than other radio frequency devices (BodyTite and Vanquish) because truSculpt 3D uses a different radio frequency, which penetrates more deeply and heats fat more effectively than skin, so skin stays at a lower temperature and won’t burn.
It is true that CoolSculpting is getting strong brand recognition, in big part because of the large amount of money behind “the machine” (now owned by the BOTOX® manufacturer, Allergan). However, CoolSculpting has a very high cost of consumables, which is often passed on to the customers. But don’t get me wrong, I do like Allergan’s BOTOX and fillers – the JUVÉDERM® family. Unfortunately, CoolSculpting requires several treatments and will not tighten the skin, as cooling soft tissue may reduce fat cells but it will not stimulate collage and elastin synthesis. This is correct, it will not tighten the soft tissues after fat removal, which could be an issue. Many patients may then require a tightening treatment with another device. Only radio frequencies were showed to tighten tissues, other that a real surgical procedure, such as body lift, facelift, neck lift, or tummy tuck.
Another concern for me with CoolSculpting was that it works only with templates (stencil applicators) and will only work where a certain area of soft tissue can be “sucked in” in those “suction cups”. It may leave areas untreated, resulting in uneven surface areas.
Although truSculpt 3-D also works with stencils for traditional “trouble areas,” I like the fact that a qualified technician (and for those who knows my master esthetician, you know how skilled she is!) will be able to treat other areas. We are much less limited with truSculpt 3D. The handpieces with truSculpt 3D are gently glided over the areas to be treated and a constant heat is delivered to all tissues, with a constant result. The temperature is also self-regulated and self-adjusted, for safety precautions.
When I considered BodyTite, my concern was adding time to my surgeries. My well-done and thorough body contouring procedures performed here in Toronto, including liposuction, etching, mommy makeovers and post weight loss procedures, are already long enough under general anesthesia, I was therefore not keen to add a significant amount of operating time with the BodyTite Radio-Frequency Assisted Liposuction (RFAL); I prefer offering the tightening postoperatively, when needed.
CoolSculpting and SculpSure are both painful, both in the first part of the treatment and for several days post treatment, with occasional bruises and sometimes downtime. We tried it. And many treatments are required. To me, this was getting too close to a surgical recovery for patients who are looking for a noninvasive treatment.
This is in sharp contrast with our truSculpt 3D. The truSculpt 3D’s attributes allow the treatment to take place without much discomfort and, yet, get an effective response: more than 80% of patients saw more than a 20% reduction in size of the fat thickness as measured by ultrasound. No downtime.
So, pain is not an issue with truSculpt 3D and its new deeper radio frequency. The other great quality of the truSculpt 3D technology is its safety mechanism; it has an internal temperature-monitoring device which keeps the temperature uniform and automatically reduces the temperature of the handpiece if the skin gets too hot. I like to play it safe.
Another advantage is the time it takes to perform a truSculpt 3D treatment; one treatment with truSculpt 3D is much shorter compared to CoolSculpting, and this is even truer when compared to the older CoolSculpting devices that most clinics have, before the DualSculpting technologies.
Other clinics will complain that truSculpt 3D is “hands-on” and see this as a disadvantage or inconvenience, as the technician must stay in the room and perform the treatment. We see it as a GOOD THING. Vanquish, SculpSure and CoolSculpting are all “hands-off” treatments and patients are left alone with a call bell for when they experience too much pain, for example.
For my 5000 square-foot clinic spanning several floors, this was a concern. Visage Clinic, is recognized for its results and customer service, and our master esthetician enjoys being present and performing the entire treatment herself. It allows for SAFETY, EFFICIENCY and COMFORT for our patients, and a true customized 3D sculpting result. This is one of the main factors, along with its efficiency, that led us to choose truSculpt 3D.
1. TruSculpt 3D has a shorter treatment time than competitors.
2. With truSculpt 3D, often one single treatment is required for an average 24% fat reduction. With its increased radio frequency depth and heat, patients are seeing significantly more fat reduction and skin tightening. Studies show an average of 24% fat reduction after a single, 1-hour treatment, some even up to 36%.
3. TruSculpt 3D is the only treatment to destroy fat AND tighten in just one single treatment.
4. TruSculpt 3D can literally go anywhere on the body. With a qualified laser technician, truSculpt 3D is not restricted to only a few areas. Alternatively, CoolSculpting is limited to the soft tissue that can be “suctioned in” in the suction cups, potentially missing areas in between that have fat, and producing uneven surface areas.
5. TruSculpt 3D gets to higher temperature in the fat layers, for more fat destruction.
6. TruSculpt 3D goes deeper, for more results in sculpting.
7. TruSculpt 3D treats ALL areas including abs, flanks, bra line, under chin, entire thighs, arms, and calves.
8. TruSculpt 3D treats larger treatment areas — we can now target larger zones of unwanted fat.
9. TruSculpt 3D is a “hands-on” treatment with a technician in attendance at all times for safety and comfort.
10. With truSculpt 3D, discomfort is minimal.
11. There is no downtime with truSculpt 3D.
12. TruSculpt 3D works well both for nonsurgical patients and for post-op body contouring patients.
13. With truSculpt 3D, the patient can get up and go, whereas with CoolSculpting, the skin needs time to be massaged and de-thawed after treatment, and there is some significant discomfort post-treatment for 5–6 days.
I am always open to offer the best for my patients. I am not saying “no” to other technologies but my conclusions after 3 months of research narrowed it down to truSculpt 3D.
Dr. Marc DuPéré, aesthetic plastic surgeon in Toronto