What is Fat Freezing?
Fat freezing (or Cryolipolysis) is the term given for fat destruction by freezing. It was discovered in the 1980's after it was noticed that Mexican children given ice lollies for toothache would develop a dimple on the affected side. This has been studied extensively and is now widely used to destroy fat in other areas.
There are several manufacturers of fat-freezing technology and you will hear different terms for this technology. We only offer cryolipolysis using CoolSculpting as we believe it is the only method which is capable of freezing fat for long enough without harming surrounding tissues, resulting in safe, permanent fat destruction. Some other methods appear to cause reversible injury to fat cells. In practical terms, this means you would notice an improvement for a short while but the treated area would relapse over a few months. In our experience this does not happen following cryolipolysis using CoolSculpting. If you are considering this kind of treatment, we recommend that you check the manufacturer of the device your practitioner intends to use.
During treatment, fat cells are frozen, shattered and destroyed. Over the next few weeks your body resorbs the remnants, and you see gradual improvement in the contour of the treated area over this time period, with a stable outcome by three months.
Does it work?
In short - yes. If the right equipment is used by properly-trained personnel then the results can be dramatic, although perhaps a little less than extensive liposuction. I usually quote a reduction in fat thickness of 50% following liposuction, whereas it is more like 35% following fat freezing. Unlike liposuction, however, there is minimal or no discomfort afterwards, there is no bruising and little swelling, no need for garments and you can return to normal activities pretty much straight away.
What to expect
Your first step will be scheduling a one-to-one consultation, at which you will be assessed for fat deposits and your suitability for the procedure. If you are suitable we will indicate the number of treatments required and the likely cost, as well as risks of the procedure. Once you've decided you want to go ahead we will schedule you in for a treatment.
One treatment area takes a little over thirty minutes, and we are able to treat two areas simultaneously. This means that four areas (a typical tummy treatment) would be treated in a little over an hour, whereas one area (for example the chin) would be treated in a little over half an hour. During this time you can read, watch a movie or catch up with work, but you won't be able to move about.
Treatment is not painful. The freezing process, unsurprisingly, does feel cold at first, but after a few minutes the treated area becomes numb and pain-free. No anaesthesia is needed and you can go home immediately after your treatment.
Image: Before and 27 weeks after the second Coolsculpting session to the outer thighs.
Are there alternatives?
Most fat is responsive to diet and exercise and these should be your first approach to fat loss. We can help by putting you in touch with our in-house nutritionist and personal trainer - just ask if you would like us to do this.
If after these interventions you still have stubborn fat deposits then you may be a good candidate for liposuction. Liposuction involves a trip to the operating theatre for fat to be removed by suction under general anaesthetic. The disadvantages compared to fat freezing are small stab incisions, significant early bruising and the need to wear a compression garment for around a month. However it is possible to remove a little more fat by means of liposuction than by fat freezing - I advise that fat thickness in a given area is reduced by around 50% following liposuction compared with around 35% following fat freezing.
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