Cryolipolysis

Cryolipolysis is a medical treatment used to destroy fat cells by freezing. The functional principle is the controlled application of cooling, within the temperature range of +5 to −5 °C, for the non-invasive, localized reduction of fat deposits, in order to reshape the contours of the body. The degree of exposure to cooling causes the apoptosis (cell death) of subcutaneous fat tissue, without apparent damage to the overlying skin.

Based on the premise that fat cells are more easily damaged by cooling than skin cells, cryolipolysis was developed to apply low temperatures to tissue via thermal conduction. In order to avoid frostbite, a specific temperature level and exposure are determined, such as 60 minutes at −5 °C.

As a medical procedure, cryolipolysis is a nonsurgical alternative to liposuction. Etymologically, the term cryolipolysis (freezing of fat) is derived from the Greek roots cryo, meaning cold; lipo, meaning fat; and lysis, meaning dissolution or loosening. In Europe and USA, specific-design cryolipolysis machines are used in aesthetic clinics and spas; the brands of machine include CoolSculpting.

Cryolipolysis is used for removing certain areas of body fat that are just under the skin to contour a person. It appears primarily applicable to limited discrete fat bulges. According to a 2015 review it shows promise with the average fat reduction, measured by calipers of about 20 percent.

Transient local redness, bruising and numbness of the skin are common side effects of the treatment and are expected to subside. Typically, sensory deficits will subside within a month. The effect on peripheral nerves was investigated and failed to show permanent detrimental results. No serious long-lasting side effects were encountered during follow-up time of six months.