Cryolipolysis – Fat Freezing
Sometimes, even a healthy diet and exercise are not enough to get rid of stubborn pockets of fat. Cryolipolysis, or fat freezing, is an FDA-cleared noninvasive procedure that can help you achieve your body goals without surgery.
During the treatment, you will lay down on the treatment bed with a gel pad and applicator. You will feel pressure and a slight numbness as the cooling starts.
How Does It Work?
Cryolipolysis works by using extreme cold to freeze the fat cells in the targeted area, which causes them to die. This doesn’t cause weight loss, but it does reduce areas of localized excess fat that have not responded to diet and exercise.
The procedure is a noninvasive treatment, and it does not require surgery or incisions. It has been FDA-approved since 2010 and is a popular alternative to liposuction.
This method is based on the observation that children who eat popsicles often develop red indurated nodules of fat cryolipolysis fat freezing in their cheeks, a condition called “popsicle panniculitis.” This led researchers to believe that lipid-rich tissues are more sensitive to cold than other types of tissue.
The technology behind cryolipolysis uses applicators with different sizes to target specific body sites. It doesn’t damage the skin, but it can produce some discomfort, such as tingling and numbness in the treatment area. The most common side effect is a little bit of redness and bruising, which usually disappears within a few days. In very rare cases, people can experience paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH), in which the treated area actually grows more fat cells instead of losing them.
What Are the Side Effects?
A rare side effect, which may occur in less than 1% of cases, is paradoxical adipose hyperplasia. This occurs when the fat cells enlarge in the treated area, which can result in weight gain and an irregular contour of the skin. This condition has been reported mostly in men and people of Hispanic ethnicity.
Cryolipolysis was first developed based on observations of children eating popsicles who got dimples in their cheeks. They realized that lipids in the fat tissue were impacted by the cold but not the overlying skin, so they started testing ice blocks to see if fatty tissue could be destroyed without damaging other cells or the surrounding tissue.
This led to the development of CoolSculpting, and the scientists discovered that by exposing specific pockets of fat to extremely cold temperatures, they could destroy those cells without harming other tissues. Over time, your body eliminates the dead cells, resulting in reduced fat accumulation in the treated area. Most areas only require one treatment, but some patients with more stubborn areas may need to have a second or third session.
How Long Will It Take?
Cryolipolysis works to eliminate fat bulges by exposing the area to cold temperatures (above freezing but lower than body temperature). This helps to selectively destroy the fat cells without affecting the surrounding tissue.
Patients will lay back on a treatment bed and relax during the procedure. The applicator is then placed on the area and a suction device is activated. The area may feel a little uncomfortable for the first few minutes because of the cold temperature being applied.
Once the treatment is completed the area can be massaged to help soften the tissues and kick-start lymphatic flow in the area. This will help to accelerate the elimination of the dead fat cells.
It can take up to six months for the full effects of cryolipolysis to become apparent. This is because the lymphatic system will be working to eliminate all of the fat cells destroyed during the treatment. It is important to note that this is not a weight loss treatment and it is best suited for those who have a healthy lifestyle but are struggling with stubborn pockets of fat.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
Fat freezing (also referred to as CoolSculpting) is a non-invasive procedure. It is a patented method of using specific cold temperatures to destroy fat cells, while leaving surrounding tissue unaffected. The treatment can cryolipolysis fat freezing be done at the clinic or in the comfort of your own home, and is a great option for people that have pockets of fat that don’t respond to diet or exercise.
After the fat cells are frozen, the body naturally removes the dead fat cells from the area. A single session will result in a reduction of 25 to 30% in the target area.
You can expect to see results in the weeks following your appointment, with the full effect occurring three to four months after your treatment. If you maintain a healthy weight, the results will be permanent.
It is important to be close to your ideal body weight prior to starting treatment, as your results will be more dramatic when you are closer to your goal weight. We recommend avoiding dairy products as they contain lactic acid and slow down the lymphatic system, and limit the amount of processed foods that you eat.
Are There Any Risks?
Cryolipolysis, also known as CoolSculpting, is FDA-cleared for fat reduction. It uses a noninvasive treatment to target and remove diet- and exercise-resistant fat cells from the body without surgery or downtime.
The treatment consists of a sculpting applicator placed over the treatment area that slowly cools the targeted fat cells to near-zero temperatures. Since these cells cannot survive at this temperature, they crystallize and die. Over time, the body naturally eliminates these dead cells from the body as waste. This is a safe procedure, and there are no risks associated with this type of treatment.
The cold temperatures used in the treatment are very effective at targeting and destroying fat cells, but they don’t harm the skin or other cells. However, people who are obese may experience paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH), which causes fat to build up in the treatment area rather than reduce it.
To avoid this problem, it is important to stay close to your target weight before you have treatments. Those who are obese should talk to a body and wellness therapist about how to lose the excess weight before they consider this treatment.