Cool Sculpting Cryolipolysis Body Contouring


As of 2013, liposuction has replaced breast augmentation as the most popular surgical procedure with 363,912 procedures performed. This clearly shows that the public wants to improve their body image. But not everybody wants to undergo an invasive procedure and new less-invasive energy based modalities have gained popularity. Keep in mind that less-invasive means less of a result.

Even if you are not seeking body contouring, you are almost guaranteed to see an advertisement for Cool Sculpting. This fat freezing non-invasive approach to fat reduction is now one of the most popular non-surgical procedures offered as an alternative to liposuction. It is technically referred to as cryolipolysis which simply means the use of cold to cause destruction of fat cells. A hand piece is applied to the target tissue, followed by vacuum suction and regulated heat extraction to a goal temperature of 4 degrees Celsius. This is thought to impede the blood flow and induce crystallization of the targeted fat.

Studies have shown a reduction of subcutaneous fat when cryolipolysis is performed. Subcutaneous fat is located just underneath the skin. This is different than visceral fat, which is deep inside the belly around the intestines and other organs. The exact mechanism of fat destruction is not fully understood and the long-term side effects and outcomes are not known. But, there seems to be no significant change in lipid levels or liver function tests.

Cryolipolysis can be applied to the upper and lower abdomen, bra rolls, love handles, waists, flanks, inner and outer thighs, inner knee, and ankles. One or more sessions over the same area may be performed although it appears that the best fat reduction comes from the first session. The amount of fat reduced ranges from treatment areas to individuals and studies show average reduction around 20%. It may take several weeks for the changes to be apparent. Unfortunately, I have met many individuals with subtle to no change after undergoing cryolipolysis so your expectations have to be reasonable. Liposuction would be the next step if you sought more dramatic changes.

Cryolipolysis complications are typically minor, resolve in a few weeks, and include redness, bruising, swelling, and pain. There is a risk for asymmetrical results due to unpredictable fat reduction. This also holds true for liposuction but with liposuction there is more control over the exact amount of fat removed. I have seen two patients who presented with paradoxical adipose hyperplasia after cryolipolysis treatment. This is an increase in fat after the treatment. These patients subsequently underwent liposuction sculpting with high satisfaction.

Enhancing the fat reduction after treatment may be achieved by manual massage. Studies suggest immediate massage is the best approach. Endermologie is a massage technique commonly performed on post-liposuction patients to smooth out the results by manipulating swelling and breaking up scar tissue. Endermologie might serve as an even more effective massage technique for post cryolipolysis.

Cryolipolysis is an encouraging nonsurgical fat reduction approach with modest results. The best candidates for cryolipolysis are patients with a small to moderate fat reduction requirement, whom are initially opposed to liposuction, and have financial flexibility so that liposuction may be an option if results are not satisfactory.

Justin Yovino MD FACS is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon practicing in Beverly Hills, CA at Ideal Face and Body. He has performed thousands of liposuction sculpting procedures and is one of the busiest liposuction specialists in Beverly Hills.
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Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon