What is cryolipolysis and how does it work?
Cryolipolysis comes from the Greek words kryos = frost, lipa = fat and lysis = dissolution. It is a therapy that was initially developed for pain management, but found other uses in recent medicine.
The local application of cold induces a fat cell apoptosis (“cell suicide”) for approx. 24% of the fat cells.
Generally, at least two sessions are recommended to achieve the desired result. The number of treatments to undergo depends on the thickness of the particular fat layer to be treated. To enhance the metabolisation process, it should be accompanied by a nutritionist with specialised nutrition and light athletic activity. This way the results are visible quicker and patients might be able to refrain from a third session.
Cryolipolysis however is not recommended for massive weight reduction.
Note that the success of the treatment also depends on the quality of cryolipolysis machine. Due to the very positive press about the treatment, many manufacturers have decided to produce copy cats, which do not conform with European standards. You should ask your provider about the type of machine s/he uses before making a decision. Our top-of-the-range cryolipolysis machine is produced by a German manufacturer and is CE-certified in order to provide you with high-quality and risk-free service.
For which patients is cryolipolysis a suitable therapy ?
The therapy is suitable for patients in good general health with local diet-resistent fat deposits. Diet-resistent fat cells differ from other fat cells in that they have different receptors than for example facial or breast fat cells. Those are the areas where you see the results of a typical diet first. However, other fat areas of your body are less susceptible to dietary changes and exercise. For men that generally refers to the belly, arms, love handles or the back, for women the problem areas generally consist of the inner or outer thighs, the so-called “saddlebags” and “riding breeches”, hips, knees or belly. With the exception of the face and neck, cryolipolysis can be used for all body parts, but is especially recommended for local problem areas. In these cases, cryolipolysis offers a viable option for anyone who does not want to undergo surgical liposuction.
Why is this non-surgical therapy performed by a doctor?
All serious institutions in the USA and the EU offer this treatment only under medical supervision. The reason is not the easy use of the machine, which does not require specialized training, but the ability to identify possible contraindications or complications during the treatment quickly and react efficiently.
For example, before being able to start cryolipolysis, a hernia must be ruled out as it could cause dramatic side effects possibly leading up to bowel necrosis. Furthermore, the doctor must also be aware of liver damages, diabetic nephropathy, Raynoud syndrome, Kryoglobinaemie etc. In some cases, a blood test is recommended in order to ensure the good health of the patient before starting therapy.
Which, if any, side effects can occur?
In the USA – always a bit faster than Europeans in the adaptation of new trends – cryolipolysis is done during lunch break which goes to show that side effects are extremely rare and not permanent as an invasive procedure as liposuction, for example, would be as it would tie you to the bed for at least a few weeks. No syringe, anaesthetic or drugs are used during the treatment.
During the treatment, where the machine is cooling the skin and fat cells down to 4 degrees for approx. 60 minutes, the patient will experience the sensation of cold. However, the treated body parts warm up quickly afterwards. During the therapy the skin is protected to avoid irritation, however it is possible for slight soreness or redness and possibly slight numbness to occur for a few hours.