What is cryolipolysis?
Cryolipolysis is a non-invasive procedure that aims to reduce localized fat, that is, that which is concentrated in certain areas of the body and which is very difficult to get rid of even with a proper diet and exercise, such as the famous “small tire”.
The word “cryolipolysis” is a combination of three scientific and ancient words. “Krios”, which comes from the Greek and means “cold”, “lipo”, which means fat” and “lise”, which means “breaks”. In other words, cryolipolysis is the breakdown of fat through cold.
It is not a technique that provides weight loss, but only a simple aesthetic procedure that is not suitable for obese or overweight people.
It was discovered in 2008. The procedure can be performed by trained doctors and beauticians. Its performance involves risks, especially if it is done under bad conditions, which can cause burns.
The technique involves placing a machine that works with the use of a tip similar to a vacuum, which sucks the surface fat by creating a vacuum and submits it to low temperatures.
Low temperature affects fat cells, causing their death and subsequent absorption and elimination. It is not yet known exactly what the fat elimination mechanism is, but there are 3 hypotheses: either it is eliminated by the lymphatic system, or by the liver, or it is reused by the body for the production of sex hormones.
Each session lasts around an hour and, as it is not invasive, it allows the patient to return to normal activities on the same day. The sessions must be at least 3 months apart, and can be safely performed in up to 4 regions at the same time.
It can be done on the body contour, abdomen, back, flanks, thighs, buttocks, arms and knees and has been shown to be an effective procedure in fulfilling its purpose. However, obtaining good results also depends on the patient’s behavioral factors.
If the person who underwent the technique does not follow the post-cryolipolysis medical recommendations, the procedure will not demonstrate such satisfactory results. It’s also important to remember that despite what many people say, results don’t show up after just one session. Most of the time, it takes several sessions to effectively reduce localized fat.
It is not a cheap procedure, and its cost can vary between 800 and 2000 reais. Although it brings risks, it is a safe and effective procedure, eliminating 20 to 30% of localized fat. Find out more about cryolipolysis in the text below!
In this article you will find the following information:
- How was it developed
- What is it for?
- How is done?
- When should it be done?
- Where can cryolipolysis be performed?
- Pre and post cryolipolysis care
- What can affect the results?
- Common questions
How was it developed
The first studies on cryolipolysis began in 2008, at Harvard, in the United States, by doctors Rox Anderson and Dieter Manstein after observing some rare events called popsicle panniculitis. Popsicle Panniculitis is a difficult and funny name at the same time, but calm down, it’s easy to understand.
Children who ate a lot of popsicles, ice cream and frozen foods had a reduction in the volume of the lips and cheeks, showing more dimples than the others. This made researchers begin to wonder if cold had any role in reducing fat in these areas.
And indeed, observations showed that fat was more sensitive to cold than the skin itself and the surrounding tissues. Because of this, more in-depth studies started to be done.
They were first performed on pigs, which had different body regions subjected to temperatures ranging from 20ºC to -7ºC. After exposure to low temperatures, there was a reduction of up to 50% of fat 6 months after the tests were carried out.
In 2009, the first studies with human beings began, which found a reduction of up to 25% of fat in the altered region without any change in serum levels.
In 2010, then, cryolipolysis was released for commercial use and spread and becoming a popular technique to get rid of that localized fat!
What is it for?
Cryolipolysis is a technique indicated for people who have and want to get rid of localized fat, but who are not overweight yet. It is a non-invasive and relatively safe procedure (see topic “Risks”).
It is important to emphasize that cryolipolysis is not indicated for weight loss! It is a procedure that seeks only to reduce localized fat, that is, that which is still very difficult to get rid of even with a lot of diet and exercise.
How is done?
First of all, you should consult with a doctor to see if it is necessary and whether or not you can have the procedure. Only after you have met all the prerequisites should you look for the procedure.
Before the sessions, the professional responsible for the application will take a skinfold measurement in the region you want to treat to make sure you can be treated. With the help of an adipometer, he will measure and if the result is less than 2cm, cryolipolysis will be contraindicated.
If the specialist determines that you are qualified to perform the procedure, he will explain in detail what will happen, the time needed for each session and how long it will take you to see the results.
On the day of the procedure, the doctor or guardian will place a protective anti-freeze cover over the area where cryolipolysis will be performed to protect the skin. The use of this layer is necessary to protect the skin, as the fat is subjected to a temperature that varies between -5ºC and -10ºC.
Then he will place the tip of the device in the region. It measures around 20cm square so it can cover as much space as possible. A vacuum will be created inside this compartment, causing the localized fat to be sucked entirely into it.
At first, you will feel a slight sensation of heat which will then be replaced by cold. In the first moments, you may feel some pain and even discomfort, but as time goes by, the treated area becomes numb and the discomfort fades away, that is, it is temporary.
Sessions will last an average of 40 minutes to 1 hour. In the meantime, you are free to read magazines, play with your cell phone, and entertain yourself in some way to wait for time to pass.
However, sessions will last this average time only if you are going to perform it on a single area of the body. If you go to the office with the intention of performing the process on the buttocks and belly, for example, the sessions can last up to 4 hours. This is because it is only allowed to perform the procedure in a maximum of 4 different regions on the same day.
When should it be done?
Cryolipolysis should only be performed in cases of localized fat. As stated before, this is not a weight-loss technique, but a simple aesthetic procedure with moderate results.
Most of the time, it is necessary to do more than 1 session to obtain satisfactory results. In these cases, 1 to 3 sessions are indicated, with a minimum interval of 2 months between them and a maximum of 3 sessions per year.
Where can cryolipolysis be performed?
There are several areas of the body that can undergo cryolipolysis treatment, but not all of them. This is mainly due to the applicator device having to be able to fit well in the treated region, which already delimits the areas a lot.
Therefore, the face region, for example, is out of the question. Despite this, manufacturers of cryolipolysis machines around the world have announced that they will make new tips that adapt to other parts of the body.
Still, so far, only some areas of the body can be subjected to treatment. Are they:
- Inner thighs;
- Upper back.
Pre and post cryolipolysis care
Before doing the procedure, consult a doctor and see if the procedure is suitable for you, if you fulfill all the necessary requirements to perform it. Don’t go expecting to lose weight, as cryolipolysis is only indicated to eliminate localized fat.
One of the main precautions to be taken precaution is researching the equipment and checking if they are certified. Among the main ones are:
- Cool Shaping;
On the day of the session, you should go to the office dressed in light clothes that are easy to take off and put on. This makes the procedure more comfortable for you.
It is also necessary to make some changes in the diet to avoid an accumulation of energy, which facilitates the weight gain processes. If you are taking in more energy than you consume, the fat that was removed with cryolipolysis will be re-stored in new, healthy fat cells and the procedure will have been in vain.
As a rule, especially with regard to aesthetic procedures, care should start between 1 and 2 weeks after cryolipolysis. However, each patient is unique, so an individual analysis must be performed.
Some aesthetic treatments can be performed to enhance the effects of cryolipolysis, as they stimulate the release and elimination of fat by the body.
It is worth remembering that the type of aesthetic treatment to be combined with cryolipolysis will depend on your individual needs, therefore, consult your professional in the area before starting any type of treatment.
This is because cryolipolysis is characterized as an inflammatory process, benefiting from it. When performing a treatment on your own, you may end up using creams with anti-inflammatory effects, which is not good for the success of the procedure.
Not performing cosmetic procedures after cryolipolysis does not mean that the procedure will be unsuccessful, however, the ratio between result and satisfaction will be higher if you follow the doctor’s recommendation and perform all the necessary procedures.
Still, there are other types of things you can do to ensure the success of cryolipolysis that will still bring benefits to your health, such as adopting a specific eating routine and starting to exercise. Understand:
The most important thing after cryolipolysis is to adopt a healthy diet. Don’t think of it as something bad or worth suffering, but only as a way to get better results and improve your quality of life.
If you continue to ingest fatty and caloric foods, gluten and sodium in an unrestrained way, the sessions will be useless. That’s because a sedentary diet will only make you store more fat, which is not expected.
The same thing goes for alcohol, a known weight loss villain. The ideal is not to consume any drop of the substance. However, if you don’t want to give up, at least wait for the fat elimination period, which varies between 20 and 60 days, to pass.
Exercise after the procedure is cleared. This is because it is non-invasive and does not leave sequelae that will weaken your body’s functioning. So there’s no excuse to stop working out.
Exercising stimulates your metabolism and makes you consume energy, not accumulating it in the form of fat, which is very good for making the results of cryolipolysis more effective and lasting.
But no leaving the exercises behind after a while. Always stay firm in physical activities. This will be good for you and your health, bringing you more quality of life and disposition for everyday life.
A nice tip to enhance the effects of cryolipolysis is to use a styling girdle in the treated region during the first 30 days after the procedure. This helps in the process of fat metabolism, increasing lymphatic circulation and helping to drain the region.
Cryolipolysis results usually start to appear within 1 to 2 months of the first session. The procedure can reduce 20 to 30% of localized fat.
However, it is worth remembering that the results will only be effective if the patient strictly follows the post-cryolipolysis recommendations, that is, maintaining a healthy diet, playing sports and not having a caloric intake higher than the expenditure.
Still, we can say that the results will vary from patient to patient. This is because, contrary to what many offices say, in most cases, to have effective results it takes more than one cryolipolysis session.
Yes, there are cases in which only one session will be needed to obtain perfect results, but they are closely linked to the amount of localized fat in the patient.
Thinner people are those who usually get effective results with just one session. But the truth is that the vast majority of patients who seek the procedure are not at their ideal weight.
So, if you need to go back to the office for more sessions, don’t think it’s strange. For most patients this is necessary.
What can affect the results?
As it is a procedure that reduces body fat levels, there are some factors that can interfere with the results and they are closely linked to behavior and compliance with post-cryolipolysis recommendations.
One of them is poor diet. Performing the procedure and continuing to maintain a diet rich in carbohydrates and fats will increase the chances of the procedure going wrong, as the fat that is being removed by the technique is soon replaced through the diet.
Not adopting the practice of exercises and committing to your own health is also something that can make the results not as good as expected. By exercising, you increase your metabolism, which ensures faster results.
So, don’t think that cryolipolysis alone is enough to make you lose that little fat. It takes effort and dedication on your part too.
Cryolipolysis is indicated for patients who are healthy and are not experiencing overweight or are morbidly obese. This is because it is not a procedure that seeks to provide weight loss, but only localized fat burning.
It is important to emphasize that you must have realistic expectations in mind regarding the result, as it does not always turn out as expected. It is not a miraculous procedure and many people need to repeat sessions several times to have a satisfactory result.
Apart from that, most people are ready to start treatment for cryolipolysis. The procedure is even more recommended than liposuction, as it is safer and non-invasive.
Still, it is contraindicated for people under 18 years old, who underwent surgery less than 6 months ago and in numerous other cases, such as:
- People who are going through infectious processes;
- The measurement taken by the adipometer is less than 2cm;
- People who have hives (skin irritation);
- People who have decompensated metabolic diseases such as diabetes, dyslipidemia or metabolic syndrome;
- Patients with local hernia;
- Patients with metallic implants;
- Patients with a history of heart disease;
- Pregnant or lactating women;
- People who have some peripheral neuropathy;
- People highly sensitive to cold;
- Patients with cryoglobulinemia (cold-related illness);
- Patients who suffer from diseases that cause changes in coagulation factors, such as hemophilia, thrombocytopenia, deficiency of Factor V Leide, etc.
So, before deciding whether to go ahead with treatment, consult your doctor and ask him if cryolipolysis is right for you. Better safe than sorry.
Even though it is considered a safer procedure than liposuction, cryolipolysis still poses health risks. The main one is when the device is misused. In this case, cryolipolysis can cause burns!
Without the necessary medical precautions, it can cause burns to the third degree.
It may seem strange that a procedure that uses cold causes burns, but it turns out that inadequate exposure to low temperatures can cause burns as well.
The main cause of these burns, in addition to poor machine regulation, is the use of heat-resistant blankets. They have an antifreeze liquid that protects the skin from damage caused by the cold made by the machine.
If they are not used correctly, are reused, cut or are of bad origin, that is, not certified, the chances of serious burns occurring are very real.
It is very important that you pay attention to the price of your consultation. Cryolipolysis is not a cheap treatment. If you see this procedure being offered at a price well below the market, be suspicious.
In addition, always look for the name of the clinics that offer the procedure on complaint websites and always seek to ensure the quality of care.
If you’ve had an unsuccessful procedure recently, try filing a police report to let others know that while the technique seems simple and very safe, it can also have serious health implications.
In addition to burns, the procedure can bring some other inconveniences. They are rare and the satisfaction rate is high and usually involve surface irregularities and asymmetry.
Expected side effects are the appearance of bruises and transient numbness, which usually disappear after a period of 14 days after treatment.
Very rarely cases of paradoxical adipose hyperplasia may occur. It happens when there is an unexpected increase in the number of fat cells in the region where the treatment was applied.
This effect appears around 3 to 6 months after the procedure and is 3 times more likely to happen in men than in women.
Still, the incidence of this complication is very low. It ranges from 0.0051% to 1% for every 20,000 patients.
It is not yet known exactly what causes this effect to occur. Therefore, further studies are needed to investigate the mechanisms of action involved, their causes and the most appropriate therapeutic approach to be taken.
Cryolipolysis is not a cheap procedure. On average, its cost varies from 800 to up to 2 thousand reais depending on the clinic and the region to be treated. This price is normal and justifiable, since the rental of the machine is not cheap and that, at each session, new special blankets must be used for patient safety.
Pay close attention to clinics that offer treatment for a very low price, usually in the range of 200 reais, as we can see on many collective buying websites. Despite being a safe procedure, it can bring risks if done in bad conditions (see topic “Risks”).
So know right away that, to perform the technique, you’ll have to take some money out of your pocket. Assess whether it’s worth it or not and go for it!
Does cryolipolysis hurt? Do you need anesthesia?
Not! Cryolipolysis is an almost painless procedure. What you may feel at the beginning of the session is a slight discomfort accompanied by a feeling of heat that will soon be replaced by cold.
After a few minutes of the procedure, you will only feel a kind of tummy pinch as the treated area is being pulled. Because it causes, at most, some discomfort, the need for anesthesia is non-existent.
Does cryolipolysis lose weight?
No. Contrary to what many blogs would have you believe, cryolipolysis only serves to combat localized fat, that is, fat that can hardly be eliminated, even with regular physical exercise.
The best way to lose weight remains through a healthy diet and physical exercise. Cryolipolysis is just an aesthetic procedure and performing it does not guarantee that you will have a better quality of life.
So, be strong-willed, get up and start exercising. Your body and your scales are grateful.
Is cryolipolysis a single session?
Most of the time, no. Although it’s sold as a one-session procedure, it all depends on how much fat you have in your body. Only in thinner women and men, that is, with a low index of localized fat, satisfactory results are observed with a single session.
So, if you’re chubby or chubby, don’t be fooled: more sessions will probably be needed to achieve the perfect result.
Can cryolipolysis leave with hematoma?
In most cases, cryolipolysis ends up leaving some kind of hematoma. Some redness or irritation of the skin is usually seen. These bruises, however, are superficial and tend to disappear naturally in a period that varies between 6 and 7 days.
Still, it is possible that deeper bruises may appear. In these cases, post-cryolysis treatment must be carried out using a special anti-hematoma ointment.
It is important to emphasize that ointments with an anti-inflammatory effect should not be used, since the process of inflammation is what is sought with the cryolipolysis procedure.
Can I have cryolipolysis if I am diabetic, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or liver fat?
Yes! This is because, according to one of the hypotheses about the elimination of fat promoted by cryolipolysis, it is considered that the fat cells that undergo the procedure are killed, having little impact on the liver.
It works like this: once dead, the fat cell is no longer recognized as a functional part of the body and is absorbed by the immune system, being eliminated without going through the liver.
Can you work out or have sex after cryolipolysis?
Not only can you, but you should! Cryolipolysis does not seek to promote weight loss, but to eliminate localized fat.
Therefore, both sports practices and sex will help you burn calories, maintain weight or lose fat! These practices not only increase your metabolism, helping you to expend energy instead of storing it, but they also help you to lead a healthier life, providing more health and disposition.
It’s a double benefit! So there’s no excuse to keep the gym (or your partner) waiting for you, huh?
The results appear after how long?
The time for results to appear will differ from person to person. People with faster metabolisms will notice results faster than slower metabolisms, as fat cells are eliminated faster the faster their metabolism.
However, in general, it takes 20 to 60 days to start seeing the results of the procedure.
How long do I have to wait to do another session?
It depends. If you are thinking of doing another session in the same place where you did the first, it takes at least 2 months of waiting for the body to go through the inflammatory process and recover in health.
However, if you want to do another session in another part of the body, there is no need to wait for a while. It was done on the belly once and now that it is done below the buttocks, you are free to do another one.
Can I do cryolipolysis to treat cellulite and flaccidity?
Cryolipolysis is not an indicated procedure for the treatment of cellulite, but reducing localized fat can have a positive effect on reducing this unwanted appearance on the skin.
The flaccidity can worsen after the procedure. Changes in measurements can worsen depending on the amount of fat lost.
Which professionals can apply cryolipolysis?
There is no national rule that explains exactly which professionals are qualified to perform the procedure. Both dermatologists and beauticians, physiotherapists and biomedical doctors can apply.
If done correctly, the procedure does not cause a burn or any other serious problem. However, we recommend that you look for established professionals in the field and who at least are qualified in some way, with academic or similar background.
Despite being a safe technique, cryolipolysis can indeed pose some health risks, especially if performed without the necessary care. Therefore, before doing so, be aware of the price you are paying for the procedure and the clinic that is offering it.