While traditional liposuction and treatments such as LipoDissolve continue to be popular choices for getting rid of excess body fat, there may soon be another option: freezing the fat cells until they die with a procedure known as Cryolipolysis. The procedure is currently undergoing clinical trials in the United States, and was developed by researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University.
Cryolipolysis is a non-invasive procedure that involves freezing the fat cells to trigger the process of lipolysis. A small plate-like device made by Zeltiq is placed directly on the treatment area and cooled to near-freezing temperatures. This results in the breakdown of body fat, and the cells can then be flushed out of the body naturally.
Researchers report that this procedure does not cause damage to the surrounding tissues and blood vessels, and will not traumatize the nerves and bones around the area. Plasmetic.com states that the procedure is 'more effective in areas that have a lot of fat than in leaner areas,' and that 'the natural biological inflammatory process removes dead fat cells over time and causes a reduction in the fat layer.'
Zeltiq.com, the company behind the Cryolipolysis device reports that:
"Cryolipolysis is the non-invasive cooling of fat cells to induce lipolysis (the breakdown of fat) without damage to other tissue types. This novel technology is designed to enable safe reduction of fat tissue near nerves, muscle and bones. Cryolipolysis penetrates deepest in thick fat areas, tapering to less effect in leaner areas, which causes natural body sculpting."
If the clinical trials continue to be successful, 'fat-freezing therapy' may offer a new option for millions of people interested in body contouring procedures and losing body fat without surgery. Currently, there are only a few infrared heat-based treatments on the market that claim to deliver circumferential reduction (VelaShape, Thermage), and ultrasound fat reduction (UltraShape) is available in the UK and Canada.
Cryolipolysis may lead the next generation of fat reduction procedures and reduce the need to pursue extensive liposuction and fat removal surgery.