When nothing works, neither diet nor sport, cryolipolysis, a non-invasive technique appeared at the end of the years 2000, proposes to erase your unsightly bulges and to redraw your silhouette without suffering, from the cold.
What is the principle of cryolipolysis?
Early observations suggested that cold could reduce the size of small localized fatty areas. This is what led to the discovery of the phenomenon of apoptosis, i.e. death, adipocytes, fat storage cells.
Based on this discovery, two researchers at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine in Boston, America’s largest research center in lasers and allied techniques affiliated with Harvard University School of Medicine, developed a technique that reproduces this natural phenomenon, for aesthetic purposes (Coolsculpting, in English).
The area to be treated is sucked in by an applicator, a kind of large suction cup, equipped with a heat extractor by electrodes. Fat tissue freezes quickly to go below zero degrees. It is, in a way, a non-surgical alternative to liposuction.
It takes 45 minutes of application for this process to kill the cells. These must be eliminated in the following weeks by natural way.
“You need a very precise combination between the temperature applied, the duration of the procedure and the distance between the cooling plates to obtain a systematic result”, says Jean-Thomas Francois-Saint-Cyr, business development manager France at Zeltiq, the company that holds the patent for the technology platform.
This machine has FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval and medical CE marking, guaranteeing safety and good manufacturing quality.
This cold slimming technique is booming, but it remains poorly supervised in France. It is strongly recommended to turn to a health professional (dermatologist, cosmetic doctor or plastic surgeon most often).
Who is this cold weight loss practice for?
The cold lipolysis is suitable for people who, without being overweight, want to get rid of unsightly bulges on a specific area of the body : belly, love wrists, back, inner thighs. And on areas as difficult to treat as the bra fold, the sub-chin, and the gluteal fold which weighs down the silhouette.
Contraindications of cryolipolysis : in case of cold pathologies (cold urticaria) or hernia (cold causes deleterious contractures).
The technique is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
How does a cryolipolysis session go?
Diagnosis is essential. The doctor studies your figure, your skin quality, the thickness of the skin folds, your weight. It will pinch the small areas of fat and define the places to be treated.
After a series of photos, he places the applicator, connected to the central machine, which sucks the skin. the cold treatment lasts one hour per zone.
Then redness, small swelling, and a feeling of discomfort may appear. It is sometimes painful to sleep in the area. But all this is resolved within a fortnight and in any case, you can leave normally and resume your activities.
The price: around 250 to 350 € for one zone; around 600 to 650 € for the saddlebags (on both thighs).
Cryolipolysis is not without risks
As the technique is recent, long-term safety data is still scarce. Following reports of undesirable effects, sometimes serious, the Haute Autorité de santé (HAS) carried out an initial assessment of the cryolipolysis in 2018 in order to identify main complications (source 1):
- complications that appear immediately or in the days following the session: pain, bruising, rednessnumbness tingling. These annoyances usually go away within a few days or weeks.
- from Side effects longer lasting and possibly more serious: burns, hyperpigmentation, peripheral sensory neuropathies, inguinal hernias, local increase in adipose tissue.
Caution is therefore in order. As confirmed by Prof. Max Lafontan, research director at INSERM, specialist in adipose tissue and obesity:
“A long procedure for cleaning up cellular debris begins with this technique. But with a risk of inflammation and fibrosis in the long term, and nothing is known about the collateral damage to the vessels and capillaries of adipose tissue. “
What results on cellulite?
According to the manufacturer, we lose on average 20% of fat cells. Which, in volume, represents a third of the treated area.
“On toned or young skin, the fat cellulite, of fatty origin, not painful and which can be seen by pinching the skin, reacts very well, ”notes Dr Julien Carré.
But the cryolipolysis will have no effect on the watery cellulite related to water retention and poor blood circulation, as well as fibrous cellulite very old, hard and painful! According to Dr. Laurence Netter, “The Powershape, a combination of radiofrequency, LED and feel-roll, or the CelluM6 are then more efficient. ”
If you are over 10 pounds overweight, the result will also be very moderate, and you may be disappointed. Likewise, yo-yo enthusiasts will have to stabilize their weight if they want to see the results last over time.
Why are the results seen after two months? This technique destroys part of the fat cells. The time that they degrade and are eliminated by natural way, takes between one to three months.
According to the manufacturer, the fat cells do not reproduce, but if you get bigger, the remaining cells swell and can form unsightly areas again.
Not quite agree, Professor Lafontan replies:
“We renew 10% of our adipocytes per year, and any destruction will be followed by a compensatory reconstruction. Over time, stem cells and preadipocytes will replace the killed cells and form new adipocytes. A phenomenon that is also observed after long-term liposuction. “