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Body Contouring Guide: SculpSure Laser Lipolysis “Laser Fat Removal”  vs Cryolipolysis “Fat freeze” vs Liposuction

Body Contouring Guide: SculpSure Laser Lipolysis “Laser Fat Removal”  vs Cryolipolysis “Fat freeze” vs Liposuction

SculpSure Laser Lipolysis “Laser Fat Removal”  vs Cryolipolysis “Fat freeze” vs Liposuction: Guide to Body Contouring procedures

Body Contouring treatments refer to treatments targeted at improving the body shape and outline.

Common Body Contouring concerns include: excess fat, loose skin, cellulite and stretch marks.

An ideal candidate for Body Contouring should not be obese with Body Mass Index <27.

People opt for Body Contouring treatments when their best attempts to achieve their ideal body shape with diet and exercise has not given them their desired results.

Localised deposits of adipose tissue (“stubborn fat”) can persist despite a normal weight and active lifestyle. Common areas of concern include: abdomen (“tummy”), flanks (“love handles”), thighs, buttocks, arms and back (“bra fat”)

These areas of stubborn fat can be removed permanently with surgical or non surgical methods.

Liposuction is a surgery that suctions out excess fat via a thin tube called a cannula, attached to a vacuum. Fat cells are permanently removed, with visible results in 1 session. However, liposuction comes with significant downtime and potential risks.

Cryolipolysis is a non surgical procedure that uses cold temperatures to destroy fat cells. The Cryolipolysis device cools the fat cells to -5C, freezing and destroying fat cells without harming the surrounding tissues.

SculpSure is a non surgical body contouring treatment that uses laser energy to permanently destroy stubborn fat cells. SculpSure non invasive laser lipolysis treatment is FDA-cleared to reduce unwanted fat on the belly, flanks (aka love handles), back, inner and outer thighs, and under the chin.The SculpSure Laser device cools the skin’s surface, while its laser energy heats the underlying fat cells until they are too damaged to survive. Over the coming days and weeks, the body flushes out treated fat cells through the lymphatic system.


Above: Clients undergoing SculpSure Laser Lipolysis at Bay Aesthetics Clinic

SculpSure Fat Freeze Liposuction
Technology and mode of action Laser Lipolysis- Fat cells are heated to 50-60C causing cell death, removed gradually by lymphatic system. Non surgical, non invasive Cryo Lipolysis- Fat cells are cooled to -5C causing cell death, removed by gradually lymphatic system. Non surgical non invasive Surgery- Fat cells are physically removed from the body using a liposuction cannula
Location Medical Clinics. Class 4 Laser-operated under doctor’s supervision Spas, Beauty Salons, medical clinics- unregulated Hospital/Surgery Suite
Downtime No No Yes- 2-3 weeks
Results 20-25% permanent fat reduction- seen in 2-3 months 15-25% permanent fat reduction- seen in 2-3 months Variable
Sessions required 2-3 (a month apart) 2-3 (a month apart) Usually 1 session only, although some patients require 2nd liposuction for various reasons (want to remove more fat, initial surgery was botched etc)
Will Fat Cells regrow? No Yes- risk of Paradoxical  Adipose Hyperplasia where fat cells regrow larger than before No
Skin tightening effect Yes, skin tightening is reported after 2-3 treatments No. Post treatment skin laxity may occur No. Post liposuction skin laxity may occur
Weight loss No. Ideal candidate should be BMI <27 No. Ideal candidate should be BMI <27 No. Ideal candidate should be BMI <27
Improves stretch marks No No No
Improves cellulite No No No
US FDA approval Yes. SculpSure is developed by CynoSure (USA), device is manufactured in USA and has passed US FDA standards for safety and effectiveness, 75000 treatments performed worldwide Depends- Coolsculpt (Zeltiq) is US FDA approved, most spas and beauty salons are using unregulated Korea or China made fat freeze devices- not subject to vigorous testing and safety standards n/a- Surgical procedure, not regulated by US FDA
Singapore Regulations SculpSure Laser is NEA, HSA and MOH Licenced- Class 4 Laser operated by medical clinics under supervision of doctors n/a- cryolipolysis is unregulated and is available in Beauty Salons, Spas, home based businessesCoolsculpt (Zeltiq) available only in medical clinics n/a- Surgical procedure, not regulated by US FDA.Liposuction needs to be performed by an accredited doctor in a Surgical Facility
Risks Blisters, nodules, hyperpigmentation- avoid sun exposure for 1 week Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia, cold burns, blisters, hyperpigmentation, numbness, nodules Anaesthesia related- allergy, airway obstruction, myocardial infarction, hypotensionSurgery related- scarring, dimpling, skin laxity, bleeding, infection, hematoma, fat embolism, intestinal perforation, death
Cost $300-500 per treatment areaTotal cost $2-8K $400-500 per treatment area (CoolSculpt)Total cost $2-8K $10-25K (inclusive of surgeon fee, hospital stay, anaesthetist fee)

Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia after fat freezing

This is a major complication after fat freezing that is now in the spotlight after Supermodel Linda Evangelista developed it and subsequently sued Coolsculpt (Zeltiq) for $50 million compensation. A rare complication of fat freezing, this occurs after <1% of the treatments, although some experts believe the exact incidence is underreported. Simply put, when Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia occurs, instead of the fat cells getting smaller, they regrow larger and become hardened. This can be cosmetically unacceptable and distressing to an individual. Treatment is challenging and corrective surgery is required for a permanent solution.

Above (left): Male patient who developed Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia after Coolsculpt treatment. He required Liposuction to address the issue (center). Another case of Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia after Coolsculpt treatmentshowing severe regrowth of fat cells in the treated abdominal area (right). Image source: Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Clinic, USA. Patient not treated in Singapore. For educational purposes only.

Providers, Regulations, brands

Fat freezing is currently not regulated by Singaporean authorities (MOH, HSA, NEA) and is freely available in spas, beauty salons and medical clinics. Coolsculpt (Zeltiq) was the original cryolipolysis that obtained US FDA approval- this is only available in medical clinics. Spas, beauty salons and mass market clinics typically utilise cheaper cryolipolysis devices made in China or Korea which do not have US FDA or Singapore HSA approvals and have not underwent vigorous testing for safety and effectiveness. It is common to see advertisements for fat freezing at unbelievably cheap prices at such establishments- with the treatment delegated to staff without any medical supervision

Weight loss

SculpSure Laser Lipolysis, Fat freezing and Liposuction are NOT weight loss treatments- none of these treatments will result in significant weight loss! For patients who are overweight with body mass index >27, consider a medically supervised weight management program.

Loose skin, stretch marks, cellulite

SculpSure Laser has a skin tightening effect after 2-3 treatments, due to new collagen deposition in the skin stimulated by laser energy. Fat freezing and liposuction may worsen any pre-existing loose skin- as fat is removed without any tightening of the overlying skin. All 3 treatments do not improve stretch marks or cellulite.

Final Advice

When considering Body Contouring treatments, don’t just pick the cheapest offer, do your research, read up online and find reviews from real patients. Be skeptical when faced with promises of fast and guaranteed results- in truth, results take time and need to be maintained with lifestyle modifications. A reputable establishment will NOT use hard selling or pressure sales tactics, but will seek to understand the needs of the client. Work with a clinic and doctor that you can trust, have a detailed discussion before proceeding. Best wishes on the journey!

Body Contouring at  Bay Aesthetics Clinic

Body Contouring at Bay Aesthetics Clinic is a doctor supervised, MOH accredited program that utilises US FDA approved technology (SculpSure, BaySculpt) for non surgical body contouring. Female clients are typically assigned to a lady doctor (Medical Director Dr Hoe Ying Min)- for privacy and comfort. The clinic is open daily and is conveniently located near to 2 major MRT stations (Downtown, Raffles Place), ideal for working professionals in the CBD. A holistic approach to health and wellness is adopted that incorporates health screening for metabolic conditions and a medically supervised weight management program. Surgical options for body contouring are available- performed by our trusted partner Plastic Surgeon.

A customised treatment protocol is recommended after a detailed consultation, physical examination and systemic review. The team performs careful patient selection to maximise success and good outcomes- individuals deemed unsuitable or likely to get a poor outcome will not be onboarded (eg obese individuals with BMI >30 who will benefit more from a weight management program).

If you have been considering Body Contouring treatments, we would love to work together with you to help you achieve your goals. To learn more, schedule an appointment with our doctor today!

Dr Hoe Ying Min, Medical Director of Bay Aesthetics Clinic, has a deep passion for helping clients achieve their body contouring goals. Gentle, encouraging and patient, she has guided many of her patients successfully through their journey towards a better body and health.


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