Cryolipolysis Side Effects – The world of aesthetics is always bringing new procedures to solve what we consider to be an “aesthetic problem,” such as localized fats. Cryolipolysis is a procedure that gained tremendous fame in 2017, but there are several health issues that need to be raised before joining this new cosmetic treatment.
Let’s talk more about cryolipolysis: what is this cosmetic procedure, what are its benefits and what are its contraindications.
The world of aesthetics is always bringing new procedures to solve what we consider to be an “aesthetic problem,” such as localized fats. Cryolipolysis is a procedure that gained tremendous fame in 2017, but there are several health issues that need to be raised before joining this new cosmetic treatment.
Let’s talk more about cryolipolysis: what is this cosmetic procedure, what are its benefits and what are its contraindications.
What is cryolipolysis?
Due to its great success, this treatment that removes fat cells, is considered a “liposuction” without surgery.
The treatment is done with a specialized machine, which selects only the fat cells to freeze them and destroy them, not affecting the other cells of the body. Over time, the liver will metabolize and eliminate these cells.
This process of metabolizing fat is not so simple, since the body reacts with an inflammation, so it takes a lot of care after the procedure to help the body to stabilize.
How does it work
Coolsculpting is based on the assumption that fat cells can only withstand cold. By placing fat cells locally in a controlled manner first with heat and then confronting with cold, the fat disappears at that spot. The cells crystallize and break down. The body then discharges the fat as waste.
Clinics promise a loss of 3 to sometimes 10 centimeters after a few months after one treatment. It could make fat disappear in the places where it is not removed by sports. You can think of the abdomen and buttocks, but there are many areas of the body to treat with the freezing method. Because the fat slowly leaves the area and the body, the skin does not slacken due to weight loss which sometimes happens in other ways of losing weight. Cryolipolysis does not affect other cells than the fat cells.
Studies show that in the two to six months after one treatment the fat can reduce to 25% at the treated site. Whether the fat comes back again is unknown. It is also unclear what happens to the fat after it has ‘disappeared’. An Italian study showed that there was no weight loss after the treatments, while the fat had disappeared locally.
CoolSculpting: Cryolipolysis Side Effects
Just after the treatment, there is a visual side effect on the spot where the cold ‘attacked’ the fat cells, such as redness, something insensitive or a bruise. No other side effects have been observed so far. Within the trend of freezing fat, competition is no stranger. Manufacturers of new devices attribute certain side effects to ‘older’ devices, such as blistering. There is no scientific basis for this. Several clinics offering the treatment warn that two liters of water is needed after the treatment per day. In this way, the waste can leave the body. It is not known what happens if a person does not get two liters a day
Who can perform cryolipolysis?
According to the manufacturers of the machines, only doctors can perform the cryolipolysis treatment. That is, the ideal is to get a good dermatologist to perform the treatment.
Generally, there is no need to do any screening or preparation before performing cryolipolysis, but only a qualified physician may or may not do so.
What are the benefits of cryolipolysis?
The main benefits are the elimination of localized fats and also the reduction of measures. Machine manufacturers claim that the treatment is able to eliminate localized fats that even exercises and diets could not eliminate.
Advantages and disadvantages
Since there are no drawbacks in the various sources of information about coolsculpting, the advantages of cryolipolysis are listed:
• Few treatments needed for a quick result
• Desired zones can be treated separately (and simultaneously)
• No pain during treatment
• Fast recovery or virtually no recovery required
• A positive effect on the skin
• No surgery and anesthesia needed
The only drawback that can be called, is the fact that little is known about the consequences of cryolipolysis in the longer term. It should also be noted that many of the benefits mentioned come from the clinics themselves.
What are the results of cryolipolysis?
The results of cryolipolysis can be perceived after two weeks of the session, in addition, the body will eliminate the fat over time. With the treatment, it is possible to see an elimination of up to 20% of the initial fat.
It is important to wait some time between sessions so that the body responds first and metabolizes the already frozen cells.
What are the contraindications of cryolipolysis?
Cryolipolysis is contraindicated in overweight and obese people, in pregnant women, and in people who have a skin problem and are sensitive to cold.
What are the side effects of cryolipolysis?
In some cases, even done with doctors and official equipment, cryolipolysis can lead to pain in the region and also to the appearance of bruising.
When done by unqualified people and generic equipment, it can even lead to burn and other serious damage.
In some cases, the opposite effect may also occur, rather than eliminating fat cells, they are multiplied, but this is rare and also more likely in men.
Where To Do cryolipolysis?
Cryolipolysis should always be done in a reliable clinic and with a dermatologist or aesthetics specialist. Also, before doing the procedure, talk to others who have already done it and see the results.
What is the price of cryolipolysis?
The price of cryolipolysis can vary a lot, but always be suspicious of the promotions and very affordable prices. According to the Brazilian Society of Dermatology, a cryolipolysis session ranges from one thousand to one thousand five hundred reais.
Does cryolipolysis cause pain?
Pain is a very personal issue, so during treatment, there are people who feel nothing and others who feel some discomfort. After the treatment, you can feel pain in the treated area.
Important Pieces of Information
Cryolipolysis should not be used for weight loss, but for removal of localized fats. Those that stay after you’ve lost weight.
Even with the treatment, it is necessary to have a balanced diet and physical exercises to maintain the ideal weight.
Your body goes through a process of inflammation after treatment, so it is essential to avoid the consumption of foods that increase this process.
Grease away fat with CoolSculpting (cryolipolysis): (how) does it work?
Some fat rolls do not seem to want to leave, regardless of the number of pounds that you lose or how fanatically you sport. So we are forced to walk around with a double chin, a pool or chicken fillets under the upper arms.
The standard treatment for the removal of local fat deposits is liposuction (or better: liposculpture). Liposuction is a surgical procedure in which the skin is cut open so that subcutaneous fat cells can be sucked away.
In search of less invasive alternatives to improve body contours, various techniques have now been developed, including radiofrequency, focussed ultrasound, laser lipolysis and cryolipolysis.
This kind of techniques, where you are promised that fat can be removed without pain and effort, naturally appeals to us.
Especially Cryolipolysis CoolSculpting in form is very popular nowadays (Stevens et al., 2013).
In this article you can read what cryolipolysis is, what CoolSculpting exactly means, what you can expect from such treatment – and what not.
What is cryolipolysis?
Cryotherapy, or the application of (extreme) cold as medical treatment, has been successfully used for a long time to treat various skin disorders. The best known example of this is probably the freezing of warts by spotting them with liquid nitrogen (Gage & Baust, 1998).
Based on several studies that found evidence that fatty tissue is likely to be more susceptible to degradation by cooling than other tissues, Manstein and his colleagues suggested the idea of cryolipolysis: a method to destroy subcutaneous fat cells by exposing them to prolonged and controlled cold.
They decided to test their theory of cryolipolysis on the fat rolls of pigs, and exposed their adipose tissue to different cooling temperatures for various times. The conclusion of their research was that ‘ cryolipolysis can be an effective way to induce selective damage to subcutaneous adipose tissue without damaging the overlying skin ‘ (Manstein et al., 2008).
Following the research by Manstein, several other small-scale studies have been conducted into the effectiveness and safety of CoolSculpting on the fat rolls of people, with all positive findings (Coleman et al., 2009, Avram & Harry, 2009, Klein et al. , 2009).
Although the exact mechanism behind the action of cryolipolysis is still unknown, there are good indications that the cooling of fat cells to sub-normal temperature leads to the death of these cells (apoptosis), after which the body cleans up the dead fat cells with the help of an inflammatory process, so that the subcutaneous fat disappears (Sasaki et al., 2014, Derrick et al., 2015).
All of the above mentioned studies (and moreover almost all of the studies used as sources in the article below) were in one way or another sponsored by Zeltiq Aesthetics. Prototypes of the cryolipolysis device developed by them were also made available for the conduct of the clinical studies, called CoolSculpting.
What is CoolSculpting?
CoolSculpting is a registered and certified trademark of Zeltiq Aesthetics, which refers to a non-surgical procedure, in which subcutaneous fat cells can be cooled and destroyed accurately using a hand-operated device, with the aim of improving body contours (Derrick et al. al., 2015, Ingargiola et al., 2015).
How does CoolSculpting work?
At CoolSculpting the area to be treated is marked off and covered with a gel (pad) to protect the skin from the cold. After this, the grease roll is evacuated in an applicator with cooling panels, and cooled for 45 to 60 minutes. By means of pressure massage, the skin roller is reheated, and an attempt is made to destroy as many fat cells as possible.
The animation film below shows and explains how CoolSculpting works.
What are the results of CoolSculpting?
The results of CoolSculpting differ per person and are partly dependent on the area to be treated.
CoolSculpting seems to give the best results in reducing fat deposits on the abdomen, hips and around the bra straps. CoolSculpting is not suitable for removing fat that lies behind the muscles or between the organs.
In the short term CoolSculpting seems to be able to reduce the amount of subcutaneous fat cells by about 20%.
Because it takes some work before the body has cleaned up the dead fat cells, it usually takes 6 to 8 weeks before the results become clearly visible. A condition for this, of course, is that a normal calorie balance is maintained.
CoolSculpting experiences and reviews
A treatment with CoolSculpting is well tolerated by most people. CoolSculpting can be performed without anesthesia or painkillers, does not lead to lasting skin damage, generally causes little discomfort and needs no recovery time.
Common, mild and temporary complications of CoolSculpting are local redness, bruising, swelling, numbness and pain.
On the website of RealSelf.com, until now (18-3-2017), 2.817 people have written a review about the CoolSculpting treatment they have undergone, of which 53% (1.482) indicates being satisfied with the CoolSculpting treatment they have undergone. Now this is not a reflection of the experiences of the entire group of people who have undergone CoolSculpting, but in my opinion, this is nevertheless a meager score.
Add the reviewers who are not (yet) sure whether they found the treatment worthwhile (which happens on the website and of which I think it gives a pretty distorted picture), then you arrive at a percentage of 83% to satisfied reviewers.
CoolSculpting and the risk of Paradoxical Adipose tissue Hyperplasia
However, there is also a more unpleasant complication that only becomes visible in the long term (3 to 6 months), called Paradoxal Adipose Hyperplasia (Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia).
Paradoxical adipose tissue Hyperplasia is a pathological change in the adipose tissue caused by cryolipolysis, whereby the tissue becomes hypocellular and hypovascular (less cells and fewer vessels), and the amount of adipose tissue actually increases instead of decreases (Jalian et al., 2014; Seaman et al. al., 2015).
Paradoxical adipose tissue Hyperplasia is a side-effect that appears to be particularly prevalent in men who have had the fat rolls rolled up on their lower abdomen with cryolipolysis (Singh et al., 2015, Keaney & Naga, 2016, Kelly et al., 2016).
Treatment locations and costs of CoolSculpting
An overview of clinics offering cryolypolysis in the form of CoolSculpting can be found on the official website of CoolSculpting.
The effects of cryolipolysis devices other than those of CoolSculpting have, for the time being, hardly been studied scientifically. For this reason, I do not think it advisable.
On average, official Coolsculpting Centers calculate € 500 per treatment session (‘cycle’). With the exception of the chin, at least 4 treatment sessions are usually recommended for each treatment zone.
The starting price for a complete treatment is therefore around € 2.380 (convert to Us).
There is some scientific evidence that cryolipolysis can remove small amounts of subcutaneous fat through CoolSculpting. Results of and experiences with CoolSculpting are very different. Any damage of CoolSculpting in the longer term, can not yet be ruled out. In particular, men who use CoolSculpting to remove fat deposits at the lower abdomen, run the risk of Paradoxical Adipose tissue Hyperplasia. The price for a complete treatment per problem zone is around € 2,380.
My advice? Wait a few more years to book a treatment until cryolipolysis has also been researched and proven effective by independent researchers on a larger scale!
Do you already have experience with CoolSulpting / cryolipolysis? Do not hesitate to leave it in a comment!
Avram, MM, & Harry, RS (2009). Cryolipolysis ™ for subcutaneous fat layer reduction . Lasers in surgery and medicine , 41 (10), 703-708.
Coleman, SR, Sachdeva, K., Egbert, BM, Preciado, J., & Allison, J. (2009). Clinical efficacy or noninvasive cryolipolysis and its effects on peripheral nerves . Aesthetic plastic surgery , 33 (4), 482-488.
Derrick, CD, Shridharani, SM, & Broyles, JM (2015). The safety and efficacy of cryolipolysis: a systematic review of available literature . Aesthetic Surgery Journal , 35 (7), 830-836.
Gage, AA, & Baust, J. (1998). Mechanisms of tissue injury in cryosurgery. Cryobiology , 37 (3), 171-186.
Ingargiola, MJ, Motakef, S., Chung, MT, Vasconez, HC, & Sasaki, GH (2015). Cryolipolysis for fat reduction and body contouring: safety and efficacy of current treatment paradigms . Plastic and reconstructive surgery , 135 (6), 1581.
Jalian, HR, Avram, MM, Garibyan, L., Mihm, MC, & Anderson, RR (2014). Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia after cryolipolysis . JAMA dermatology , 150 (3), 317-319.
Keaney, TC, & Naga, LI (2016). At risk for paradoxical adipose hyperplasia after cryolipolysis . Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology .
Kelly, E., Rodriguez-Feliz, J., & Kelly, ME (2016). Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia after cryolipolysis: A report on incidence and common factors identified in 510 patients . Plastic and reconstructive surgery , 137 (3), 639th-640th.
Klein, KB, Zelickson, B., Riopelle, JG, Okamoto, E., Bachelor, EP, Harry, RS, & Preciado, JA (2009). Non-invasive cryolipolysis for subcutaneous fat reduction does not affect serum lipid levels or liver function tests . Lasers in surgery and medicine , 41 (10), 785-790.
Manstein, D., Laubach, H., Watanabe, K., Farinelli, W., Zurakowski, D., & Anderson, R. (2008). Selective cryolysis: A novel method or non-invasive fat removal . Lasers in surgery and medicine , 40 (9), 595-604.
Sasaki, GH, Abelev, N., & Tevez-Ortiz, A. (2014). Noninvasive selective cryolipolysis and reperfusion recovery for localized natural fat reduction and contouring . Aesthetic Surgery Journal , 34 (3), 420-431.
Seaman, SA, Tannan, SC, Cao, Y., Peirce, SM, & Gampper, TJ (2015). Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia and cellular effects after cryolipolysis: a case report . Aesthetic surgery journal , sjv105.
Singh, SM, Geddes, Er, Boutrous, SG, Galiano, RD, & Friedman, PM (2015). Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia secondary to cryolipolysis: An underreported entity ?. Lasers in surgery and medicine , 47 (6), 476-478.
Stevens, WG, Pietrzak, LK, & Spring, MA (2013). Broad overview of a clinical and commercial experience with CoolSculpting. Aesthetic Surgery Journal , 33 (6), 835-846.