The Zeltiq Cryolipolysis technique was developed as a result of observations of cold or popsicle panniculitis. Exposure to cold for long periods of time causes inflammation of and destruction of fat beneath the skin without damaging the skin.
Once developed, the first test subjects were pigs. Tests conducted in 2008 showed that fat cells die from cooling at a higher temperature than would cause frost bite. In other words, actual freezing is not necessary for fat cells to die.
Once the fat cells die, there is an inflammatory response. Over the course of several months, the dead cells are disposed and the result is a reduction of fatty tissue.
The first ten human patients received treatment in 2009. They were given a single treatment, which lasted for about an hour. No anesthesia was necessary. Reports about patient after care are limited. No pain or undesirable effects were reported in the research paper.
After two months, the researchers reported a 20% reduction in fatty tissues. Another 5% reduction was seen six months after the initial Zeltiq cryolipolysis treatment.
Fat bulges like love handles appear to be the best targets for treatment. It is as yet unclear if additional treatments are necessary to maintain results, although there is not expected to be any drawback to having additional treatments if they are desired.
Use of the procedure was approved by the FDA in September 2010. The Zerona laser, another device for fat reduction, was approved at the same time. The devices had been used for other purposes prior to receiving approval for use as fat-reducing tools. So, some doctors had performed the procedures in their offices prior to FDA approval.
The Zerona laser and Zeltiq cryolipolysis have some things in common. Both are non-invasive treatments. No anesthesia is needed and side effects are minimal. In other ways they are different.
The low-level laser works to disrupt the membranes surrounding fat cells, basically causing them to leak. As they leak, the fatty materials are broken down by natural bodily processes and eventually excreted.
The results of the clinical trials that led to FDA approval of the Zerona were exciting. On average, volunteers lost an average of 3.5 inches across their waists, hips and thighs after two weeks.
A cosmetic surgeon can provide additional information about Zeltiq cryolipolysis and the Zerona laser. If you’ve got some fat that just won’t budge, they are effective alternatives to liposuction.