Fat freezing, known under the technical term cryolipolysis, is a non-surgical and non invasive procedure that uses cold temperatures to reduce subcutaneous fat deposits in the target areas. It generally reduces the amount of fat by in the region of 20-40% per treatment, but this can vary with some people losing more or less than the figures quoted depending on how well the body responds. The treatment is known either under the generic term “fat freezing”, or variously marketed under trade marks including Cool Sculpting, 3D Lipo, Lipoglaze and others.
The treatment can be used on the following areas:
- upper arms
- inner and outer thighs
- waist / hips / flanks
- upper and lower back including bra fat
- the “banana rolls” under the buttocks
- pubic mound
What happens during the treatment?
An antifreeze pad is applied to the skin to protect it from cold spots. Handles which target the fat are then positioned and a strong suction sucks the fat between the cooling plates of the machine. The suction can initially be a little uncomfortable, together with feelings including tingling or intense cold, but within a few minutes the area goes numb from the cold and the treatment is very tolerable. Many clients choose to chat, sleep, play on their phones, catch up with work or watch TV whilst being treated. The handles generally stay in place for about an hour.
After treatment, the handles are removed and the area is either massaged or treated with shockwave therapy, to help start the break down of the fat cells.
How are fat cells killed?
The cold temperatures destroy the fat cells, but leave other bodily tissue such as muscle and skin cells undamaged. This triggers an inflammatory response by the body, called apoptosis, which kills the fat cells. The fat cells, over the following weeks and months are removed by specialist white blood cells called macrophages which consume the dead fat cells which are then excreted by the body.
Whilst some people can start to see a difference at around 4-6 weeks after treatment, final results are not seen for 3-4 months.
Before and after a single fat freezing treatment.