Hot and cold on Cryolypolysis

Posted on March 2nd, 2010 by Michelle

Pretty soon, we will just be able to select a body mold of the shape we want, squeeze into it for a given amount of time while lasers and suction cups do their thing, and emerge with the figure we’ve always desired.

Until then, we have a bevy of lipo treatments from which to choose, that get our bodies closer to that ultimate shape. The latest — cryolypolysis – is a non-invasive procedure for people already in pretty good shape who can’t quite seem to erase that last pouch of fat.

Cryolypolysis, sometimes referred to as Zeltiq or LipoFreeze, is a method of cooling fat cells, which then die and are carried from the body by white blood cells.  Being non-invasive, the only suction going on with this lipo is done by the vacuum device placed on top of the skin that cools the fat cells.  Despite the name, the cells aren’t literally frozen, they are just made cold enough to crystalize and croak, rendering them waste management for the white cells.

Because cryolypolysis is new, there isn’t a lot of information out there and it hasn’t yet been reviewed by any third-party, trustworthy sources that LookinGood uses.  Further, The Zeltiq device [pronounced Zel-teek] is not yet FDA approved for fat reduction, although it is OK’d for anesthetic and skin-cooling purposes.  In an article in Cosmetic Surgery Times, two physicians interviewed said that in most patients studied, the results of the procedure were noticeable after two or three months.  The doctors interviewed, however, are both on the  Zeltiq advisory board.

Doctors who answered questions about Zeltiq on, however, suggest that two or three cycles may be needed. Some charge separately for some areas: love handles (or flank) or the back, for example. One cycle could be the left side and another cycle could be the right side. Costs vary by surgeon and region of the country, but generally range from $600-$900 per cycle.

What is clear from the information out there is that:

  • Cryolypolysis isn’t for large areas of focus.  It is a procedure to reduce small pouches of fat.
  • It isn’t a treatment for cellulite.
  • It is currently limited in scope to flanks, bellies and possibly male breasts.  It isn’t effective on thighs or upper arms.
  • After-effects can include temporary tingling in the treated area; temporary loss of sensation from the Zeltiq vacuum and hickey-like red marks that disappear after a couple of days.

There are some aspects of LipoFreeze that we can really warm up to, especially as compared to other lipo body sculpting methods. It targets a specific area and the surrounding tissue remains unaffected.  There’s also the possibility of it being a one-time treatment, no downtime and no anesthetic is needed.   Until we can just mold ourselves a whole new shape, that’s pretty cool – pun intended.

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