by Jacqueline Rupp
When I confirmed my appointment with Dr. Claudette Jatto of Jatto Internal Medicine and Wellness, I didn’t really know any of the specifics of SculpSure. All I had heard was that it was a non-invasive procedure that almost like magic, melted away stubborn fat. That’s all I needed to hear! Although I work out at least twice a week, keep an active lifestyle and watch (for the most part) what I eat, I’ve been frustrated by stubborn belly flab that doesn’t seem to respond to any of my efforts to get rid of it. I can feel my arms becoming more muscular from weight-lifting, my legs firmer from squats, but still nothing seems to have changed — for all my discomfort and effort — with my belly fat. Enter Dr. Jatto and the SculpSure procedure she offers at her practice in the Forest Hills section of Harrisburg. Dr. Jatto has a unique practice that includes patient care you would typically find at a general practitioner with a host of other aesthetic services like Botox, fillers and laser skin treatments.
What is SculpSure?
SculpSure is an FDA-approved, light-based, body-contouring therapy that is designed to destroy fat cells. Meaning once they are gone, they are gone for good. Sounds amazing right? Lasers are calibrated to a specific depth to target only fat cells and the procedure is now approved for not only the abdominal region, but the back, chin, legs and thighs, as well.
Debbie, Dr. Jatto’s nurse was there to greet me as soon as I came in for my appointment, the Thursday before Christmas. She told me that it would take about a half hour to complete, gave me a bottle of water (I would soon learn water was going to become my new BFF over the next few days) and some consent forms to sign. She explained to me that after the procedure I would need to massage the area twice a day for the next 6-10 weeks to help my body dissolve the destroyed fat cells. Great, just what I wanted to do over winter break, rub my problem spot — but if it led to a smooth belly, I figured I’d bite the bullet. I started to get a little nervous at this point at the thought of lasers entering my body. Would there be discomfort? Would I be able to handle it? I didn’t have time to stress more as Debbie whisked me off for a weigh-in and soon I was entering the SculpSure room. I imagined I would be standing against some big machine, casually, like getting a spray tan. Nope, I was wrong. There was a bed and next to it a device that looked like a cross between a vacuum cleaner and a Dalek (though hopefully much less malicious). Debbie strategized where to put the plastic placeholder molds on my abdomen to get the maximum results, i.e. she found the spots with the most fat. I started to get excited, despite my anxiety, to finally be rid of this fat that bugs me so often throughout the day. I envisioned burning my Spanx and was ready to get this party started.
So, What Does it Feel Like?
I laid down on the table and the placeholders Debbie had positioned were strapped tightly into place on my belly and the exam table. Yep, I was trapped. Debbie clicked the hoses from the SculpSure into place on my abdomen and I braced for pain. But…nothing. Turns out we were just warming up. The SculpSure machine is designed to make the patient experience as easy as possible. The intensity slowly increases and there are 40 seconds of laser followed by 10 seconds of cooling, with optional additional “cool bursts” whenever you feel the need. Note: I didn’t need any additional cooling — a testament more to the tolerable nature of the procedure than my high pain tolerance (I’m a wuss).
At its most intense the SculpSure laser feels like heat, pressure and pinching all at once. The pinching sensation is probably the most intense, but each time I thought it was getting too much, the 10 second cool blast would kick in and give me the break I needed to keep going. Debbie was also there the whole time, distracting me with family stories, giving me time checks on where we were in the procedure (thank you, Debbie!) and also cheering me on as she cranked the machine up to “maximum fat destruction” level, like Emperor Palpatine manning the Death Star. Even though we were at the most intense part of the procedure, I was stoked to be having the greatest chance to get rid of the most fat. And before I knew it, the 25 minute procedure was over and I was drinking more water.
Now We Wait… And Drink Water
Water, it turns out, plays a huge part in helping to flush the body of the destroyed fat. If you want to SculpSure, prepare to drink loads of water and take lots of bathroom breaks. Truth, you only need to drink the normal recommended 8-10 glasses of water a day, but for someone like me, who skimps on the water often, it’s a big change.
Dr. Jatto also took some time to go over my diet and lifestyle choices, to see if there were other ways I could whip my body into better shape. She helped me see that I was not doing my body any favors by forgetting to eat breakfast and skipping lunch when work became too hectic. She also noted that I should try to incorporate a quick source of protein at these times, like a protein shake, rather than reach for the carbs like I normally do when ravenous.
I had a two-hour drive after the procedure and I did start to feel the tenderness I was told to expect. There was a bruising feeling in certain parts and others felt like I had done a respectable set of sit-ups.
Over the next few days, despite understanding that the procedure takes 6-12 weeks to show results, I kept looking for a slimmer belly. Nothing yet. But it’s only been six days. I’ll admit, the diet improvements have been a challenge with a total of four Christmas dinner feasts in three days and zero workouts, but I’m determined to get back on track.
You can follow my SculpSure journey and efforts towards a healthier lifestyle through my blog entries at harrisburgmagazine.com and next month I’ll be back here to detail my results. Wish me luck!