I’ve never been particularly tiny or particularly big, so apart from the few occasions over the years when I’ve completely and unhealthily starved myself down to a ridiculous and completely unsustainable size 8, I’m generally around a healthy size 12. We eat quite well (we’re experimenting more with meat free, veggie-rich recipes at the moment and loving it) and try to be sensible with alcohol. Add that reasonably healthy lifestyle to the fact that, thanks to the NHS Couch to 5k programme I’m now running 5k three times a week and I’m kind of annoyed that I haven’t really toned up that much. Cue, then, the most exciting email I’ve had in ages from the fabulous S-Thetics Clinic in Beaconsfield, inviting me to come and try SculpSure body contouring: the first ever treatment to use gentle heat technology to eliminate stubborn body fat without going under the knife.
In these days of loving ourselves as we are, it’s almost a bad thing to admit that you don’t like anything about yourself, and honestly, I don’t have a problem with popping a bikini on when I’m on holiday (who’s going to be looking at me anyway?). However, I do have a little sigh to myself every time I look down and see that mum tum. I can’t help it. I know, though, that there’s no ‘quick fix’ to toning up wobbly areas, so my first reaction when reading about SculpSure body contouring was ‘really? There’s no way that’s possible’, but I went along for a consultation with surgeon and cosmetic doctor, Miss Sherina Balaratnam, and I was soon completely convinced.
Located in a beautiful old building in pretty Beaconsfield old town, the historic facade hides a beautiful (and deliciously scented) aesthetic medical clinic with friendly, efficient staff. Surgeon and Cosmetic Doctor Miss Sherina Balaratnam has extensive plastic surgical training (specialising in reconstructive burn surgery and skin cancer reconstruction) and is one of the UK’s leading non-surgical cosmetic specialists. Miss Balaratnam also trains and mentors fellow practitioners on the latest advanced injectable techniques, so I felt complete confidence in the clinic.
As well as SculpSure, the clinic provides a range of aesthetic face and body treatments including dermal fillers, micro-needling, and the fabulous HydraFacial, which I’m desperate to try.
What is SculpSure?
Officially, SculpSure is ‘the world’s first FDA-cleared laser treatment for non-invasive lipolysis (breakdown of fats) of the flanks and abdomen. It’s a state-of-the-art, controlled light-based technology, ideal for patients looking to get rid of stubborn fat*.’
In layman’s terms (as far as I understand), SculpSure is basically a non-surgical way to get similar results to liposuction: it’s a laser technology that uses heat energy to break down fat cells in a cycle of heating and cooling which keeps it comfortable for the patient. The heat energy raises the temperature of the fat cells sufficiently to allow them to break down, after which they’re eliminated from the body via the lymphatic system, usually starting at around 6 weeks after the treatment. SculpSure can treat areas such as the abdomen, waist, flanks, hips, legs, thighs and even back, resulting in a permanent 24% reduction in fat after treatment.
What’s involved in a SculpSure session?
Well before anything happens there’s a really in-depth consultation process. We chatted in detail about everything from my medical history, weight and lifestyle to my body shape and even my expectations. Luckily, I’m deemed to be a good candidate for treatment (SculpSure won’t work if your BMI is too high – there’s an optimum level of fat above which it’s just not effective). Miss Balaratnam took me step by step through the process, answering any questions, and together we then decided which areas to treat.
When you return for the treatment, each laser diode (up to four can be used simultaneously) can be targeted at a specific area of the body. The lasers are clipped into a plastic grid system that is strapped tightly to your body (very tightly – note flesh squishing out of the grids below), holding the diodes against the skin. The process is then basically a 25 minute session of lying still while the lasers heat and then cool in a cycle. I’m not going to lie, I found the deep, tingly warmth a bit uncomfortable, but before I counted to ten each time, the cooling started, so it’s definitely manageable, plus Miss Balaratnam can tweak the laser so it’s comfortable for you to tolerate.
Post treatment, you need to commit to gently massaging the area twice a day for 5-10 minutes, keeping well hydrated and exercising regularly (this helps mobilise the disrupted fat for processing through the lymphatic system).
What’s the cost?
It’s really best to get a consultation to see what will suit you best, but individually the diodes cost £250 per session (I had 2 x 4 diodes in my first session).
What about the results?
Firstly, I want to be completely honest here: initially, I think I was expecting a flattering cosmetic treatment, a bit like a facial or a massage, but this is a serious medical procedure. To get brilliant results, you have to be prepared for a) the uncomfortable feeling of the treatment, and b) the fact that you’re going to feel mildly achy for a few days afterwards. So far, I’m only on day 7, but for the first few days my stomach was tender to the touch and ached a little when I moved (a dull ache similar to the post-exercise feeling you might get if you’d done sits ups the day before). It’s more or less worn off now and I’m feeling fine and excited to start seeing the results. The staff at S-Thetics ring the day after treatment to check that everything is okay and answer any post-treatment questions you may have and I was reassured that the aching was completely normal. Check back to see how I get on at my six week check-up and second session, and in the meantime do check out the before and after pictures and videos on the S-Thetics SculpSure microsite.
Massive thanks to Miss Balaratnam and the team at S-Thetics.