We’ve come to think of losing fat in terms of working it off through exercise and diet, suctioning it out via liposuction, or even dissolving it with chemical injections. Now there’s another option: Cryolipolysis.
Cryolipolysis selectively targets localized fat deposits — abdominal fat, love handles, back rolls, muffin-tops and bulges above Cesarean section incision lines — and reduces them by chilling them to just above freezing. It’s done gradually, without causing any harm to the surrounding tissues.
Cryolipolysis has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for fat cell reduction as well as for several dermatologic applications that require cooling. The procedure was previously available in Europe, Asia and Canada.
The science of cryolipolysis is a term that combines “cryo” (icy cold) with “lipolysis” (the chemical decomposition of fat). The premise is that under carefully controlled conditions, subcutaneous fat cells are more vulnerable than other surrounding tissue to the effects of cold.
Cryolipolysis differs from other fat removal procedures in a number of ways. For example, liposuction suctions fat cells out of the body, often destroying them first with fluid, ultrasound or laser energy. Lipodissolve accomplishes the same thing with fat-melting injections. Zerona uses low-level laser energy to open a pore in the fat cell, evacuating its contents.
Cryolipolysis Procedure – What to Expect
The Cryolipolysis procedure is usually performed by a plastic surgeon or dermatologist in his or her office and takes about one to three hours. The area to
be treated is marked and covered with a gel pad to protect the skin. The physician then uses a hand-held vacuum applicator to gently draw the excess skin and underlying fat between two cooling panels. You will feel a firm pulling sensation and may feel mild cold in the treated area. This sensation will dissipate, and the area will become numb (much as it would if an ice pack were applied).
The cooling process lasts for a predetermined amount of time. It must damage the fat cells, turning fat within the cells from a liquid to a solid. The fat is naturally flushed from your body in the ensuing two months. There is no evidence that the procedure has any adverse effects on levels of liver enzymes or blood fats (such as cholesterol).
You will experience a gradual reduction of the fat layer, typically over two to four months’ time.
There are no needles, no anesthetic, no surgical incisions, no pain medications and no downtime. Temporary side effects include redness, minor bruising, cramping, tingling or numbness in the treated area. The manufacturer says that people can enjoy leisurely pursuits like reading, listening to music, surfing the Internet — even napping — during the procedure, and can resume their normal routine the same day.