Zeltiq - Non Invasive Fat Reduction Using Cryolipolysis

Steven F. Weiner, MD
Article by
Panama City Facial Plastic Surgeon

 "Zaftig", the Yiddish word which means a person with a full rounded figure, must of been on the minds of the developing physicians at Mass General (Harvard Medical School's Hospital) when they named their new fat reducing technology, Zeltiq. Using cold technology, Zeltiq is a very promising non-invasive technology for decreasing fat deposits in the belly, love handles, and back area. Recently highlighted on the Rachel Ray show, Zeltiq has shown in clinical studies to consistently remove 20-25% of the fat in the treated area with no incisions, no anesthesia, no pain, and absolutely no downtime.

As unique as it sounds, the concept of using cold technology to eliminate fat was conceived by a case report of a women riding her horse, naked, in cold weather and sustained a cold induced fat reduction of her inner thighs. Another known medical phenomenon is "Popsicle Panniculitis" which is fat reduction found in kids who sucked on a popsicle too long and froze their cheek area. With further investigation, researchers concluded there is a certain level of coldness which will cause fat cells to gradually die without adversely affecting the surrounding skin, muscle, or other organs.

The actual process involves attaching a hand piece, which uses suction, to the area that needs treatment. Patients will feel a tugging sensation but no pain with the placement, which is then followed by turning on the cold plates. The process lasts for one hour and typically, two areas are treated per session (left and right sides). During each one hour treatment, the client must stay seated, but is free to work on the computer, watch DVD’s, relax, or read a book. When the hand piece is removed, the treated area will be numb, which may persist in a mild form for a few weeks. Bruising can also occur, but usually very minor or none at all. One of the most attractive aspects of this treatment is there are absolutely no restrictions on activities afterwards allowing patients to return to the gym, go to dinner, or go shopping.

The fat that is terminally affected will gradually be removed by the body in a natural process. Studies have shown no elevations in the levels of fat, triglycerides, or cholesterol in the body after this treatment. Within two months, visible results can be seen and three months will show the full effect.

The ideal candidates are those that are at or near their ideal body weight, or those who have tried diet and exercise and still cannot eliminate the extra bulge. The only people who can't be treated are people with umbillical hernias or a rare blood disease called cryoglobulinemia. Currently, the prime areas for treatment are the love handles, belly, and back area, which is due to limitations of the hand piece; however, further hand pieces are under development for the thighs and buttocks area.

Recently introduced in the United States, Zeltiq but has been in use for over six months in Hong Kong, Canada, and Europe. The technology was developed by the premier cosmetic device physician, Dr. Rox Anderson, a Harvard Professor, and current President of the American Society for Laser Surgery and Medicine which should give plenty of assurance to the client considering this treatment.