Research on technology
Lipolysis procedures attempt to “dissolve” fat cells by nonsurgical means. A number of methods are used, including laser, ultrasound, and radio frequency. Popsicle panniculitis is a dermatologic condition that shows exposure to low temperatures can selectively damage subcutaneous fat while leaving skin intact. 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 (23 °F).
Reasons patients want cryolipolysis
Patients who wish to reduce a localized fat bulge that has persisted despite diet and exercise may be interested in cryolipolysis.
Who is not a candidate for cryolipolysis?
Patients with cold-related conditions, like cryoglobulinemia, cold urticaris and paroxysmal cold hemoglobulinuria should not have cryolipolysis. Patients with loose skin or poor tone may not be suitable candidates for the procedure.
What does cryolipolysis do?
The goal of cryolipolysis is to reduce the volume of fat in a fatty bulge. Some patients may opt to have more than one area treated or to retreat an area more than once.
Does cryolipolysis require anaesthesia?
This procedure is done without anaesthesia.
After an assessment of the dimensions and shape of the fatty bulge to be treated, an applicator of the appropriate size and curvature is chosen. The area of concern is marked to identify the site for applicator placement. A gel pad is placed to protect the skin. The applicator is applied and the bulge is vacuumed into the hollow of the applicator. The temperature inside the applicator drops, and as it does so, the area numbs. Patients sometimes experience discomfort from the vacuum’s pull on their tissue, but this resolves within minutes, once the area is numb.
Patients typically watch TV, use their smart phone or read during the procedure. After the hour-long treatment, the vacuum turns off, the applicator is removed and the area is massaged, which may improve the final results.
What are the risks of cryolipolysis?
The complication rate is low and the satisfaction rate is high. Side effect data are based on a limited experience. Transient local redness, bruising and numbness of the skin are common side effects of the treatment and are expected to diminish. Typically, sensory deficits will diminish 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.
Recovering from cryolipolysis
There are no activity restrictions. Patients sometimes feel sore, as if they had worked out. Rarely do patients experience pain.
What are the results of cryolipolysis?
The injured fat cells are gradually eliminated by the body over 4 to 6 months. During that time the fatty bulge decreases in size, with an average fat reduction of about 20 percent.
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