Cryolipolysis

Nonsurgical Fat Reduction

Cryolipolysis, commonly referred to as fat freezing, is a nonsurgical fat reduction procedure that uses cold temperature to reduce fat deposits in certain areas of the body. The procedure is designed to reduce localized fat deposits or bulges that do not respond to diet and exercise.

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What areas of the body are best suited
for cryolipolysis?

Cryolipolysis is use to treat fat deposits beneath the chin, upper arms, inner and outer thighs, abdomen, hip/flank (“love handles”), upper back (“brassiere rolls”), lower back, and underneath the buttocks.

 

How is cryolipolysis performed?

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The size and shape of the fatty deposit is assessed and the area to be treated is outlined with a skin-marking pencil. Clients are awake during the procedure.

A handheld device called an applicator is used to freeze the layer of fat cells (adipocytes) underneath the skin. First, a gel pad is applied to the area to protect the skin. Next, the fatty bulge is suctioned or vacuumed into the applicator’s hallow opening. You will feel a tugging or pulling sensation as suction is applied. These sensations, intense cold plus other possible sensations – tingling, stinging, aching, cramping – lessen after 5 minutes as the area becomes numb during the cooling down process. The fat layer is gradually cooled to the target temperature of between 10 and 10 degrees.

It takes up to one hour to treat an area. After the area is treated, the applicator is removed. The area may be massaged to assist with the breakdown of the fat cells.

How are fat cells destroyed?

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The technique is based on the finding that fat cells are more susceptible to damage from cold temperatures than other cells, such as skin cells. The cold temperature injures the fat cells. The injury triggers an inflammatory response by the body, which results in the death of the fat cells. Macrophages, a type of white blood cells and part of the body’s immune system, is “called to the injury location,” to rid the dead fat cells and debris from the body.

How much localized fat can one expect to lose from cryolipolysis and when will I start to notice results?

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The injured fat cells are gradually eliminated by the body with an average fat reduction of 30 percent at around 4 months after initial treatmento. However, you may begin to notice changes as early as 3 weeks after treatment. Dramatic improvement is noticed after about 2 months.

What are the advantages of cryolipolysis?

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  • No surgical incision is required.

  • It is a low risk procedure. There is no risk of infection.

  • The procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis.

  • Patients do not need to be sedated or anesthetized before undergoing the procedure.

  • More than one area of the body may be treated in a single session.

  • The procedure can be performed on people of all ages.

  • There is no damage to nerve fibers, blood vessels, muscles, or lasting damaging to skin in the treatment area.

  • Fat cells that have been damaged or destroyed are permanently removed from the body.

 

What are the disadvantages of cryolipolysis?

  • The procedure is recommended only for people who are in good general health with no neurologic or orthopaedic problems and who are looking for “spot” fat reduction in specific areas on the body.

  • More than one session may be needed to achieve a person’s desired results.

  • If more than one treatment sessions in the same area is needed, the next session can’t be performed until 6 to 8 weeks after the first session. This is because it can take this long for damaged fat cells to be eliminated from the body.

  • Results are not evident immediately. Since fat cells are removed gradually from the body, it can take 3 to 6 months to achieve optimal results.

  • One rare side effect that may occur is paradoxical adipose hyperplasia. In this rare condition, the size of fat cells increases after cryolipolysis. Men and people of Hispanic ethnicity are more likely to experience it.

 

Are there any people for whom cryolipolysis is not recommended?

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Cryolipolysis is not recommended for people who are significantly overweight or obese. Also, it should not be performed on areas of skin that are cut or injured, contain severe varicose veinsdermatitis, or other skin lesions.

People who have abnormal cold sensitivity or cold intolerance are not suitable candidates. The procedure is not recommended for people who have the following conditions:

  • Raynaud’s phenomenon. A rare condition in which cold temperatures can impede blood flow to the fingers and toes.

  • Cryoglobulinemia. A type of vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels) caused by abnormal proteins that become solid or gel-like in the presence of cold temperatures. It is associated with blocked blood vessels and other problems.

  • Paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria. A very rare autoimmune disease in which red blood cells are damaged during exposure to cold.

  • Cold urticaria. A rare condition in which the skin develops red, itchy spots (hives) after exposure to cold temperatures.

  • Cold agglutinin disease. A rare type of autoimmune hemolytic anemia in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys its own red blood cells. The condition is often triggered or made worse by cold temperatures.

Other conditions that pose a risk include

What side effects are to be expected immediately after cryolipolysis?

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Temporary side effects for the areas that are treated may include:

  • Pain or aches

  • Stinging or tingling of the skin

  • Redness

  • Swelling

  • Skin discoloration or bruising

  • Skin sensitivity or numbness

Side effects may persist for a few days to a few weeks after treatment.

How many cryolipolysis treatment sessions are typically needed?

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The amount of treatments needed depends on the results you want and the number of areas being treated.

One session is normally enough for smaller areas, but if you want to treat a larger area or have a little more fat to address, two to four ssesions may be necessary. In general, most people achieve their desired results after two sessions.