What is Cryolipolysis, how does it work, risks, price, does it hurt?

What is cryolipolysis?

Cryolipolysis is a non-invasive procedure that aims to reduce localized fat, that is, one that is concentrated in certain areas of the body and which is very difficult to get rid of even with an adequate diet and exercise, as the famous “Little tire”.

The word “cryolipolysis” is the 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 “. That is, Cryolipolysis is the breakdown of fat through the cold.

It is not a technique that provides weight loss , but only a simple aesthetic procedure that is not suitable for obese people or people who are overweight .

It was discovered in 2008, becoming popular in Brazil in 2012. 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 cleaner, which sucks the superficial fat through the creation of a vacuum and submits it to low temperatures.

The low temperature affects the 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: it is either eliminated by the lymphatic system, or by the liver, or it is reused by the body to produce sex hormones.

Each session lasts about an hour and, as it is non-invasive, allows the patient to return to normal activities on the same day. The sessions must have an interval of at least 3 months between them, being able to be held safely 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 has undergone the technique does not follow the post-cryolipolysis medical recommendations, the procedure will not demonstrate such satisfactory results. It is also important to remember that, despite what many people say, the results do not appear after just one session. Most of the time, several sessions are necessary for the effective reduction of localized fat.

It is not a cheap procedure, and its cost may vary between 800 and 2000 reais. Although it carries risks, it is a safe and effective procedure, even eliminating 20 to 30% of the localized fat. Find out more about cryolipolysis in the following text!

Index – in this article you will find the following information:

  1. What is cryolipolysis?
  2. How it was developed
  3. What is it for?
  4. How is it done?
  5. When should it be done?
  6. In what locations can cryolipolysis be performed?
  7. Pre and post cryolipolysis care
  8. Results
  9. What can affect the results?
  10. Contraindications
  11. Scratchs
  12. Pricing
  13. Common questions

How it was developed

The first studies on cryolipolysis started in 2008, at Harvard, in the United States, by doctors Rox Anderson and Dieter Manstein after the observation of some rare events called popsicle panniculitis. Popsicle panniculitis is a difficult and funny name at the same time, but calm, it’s easy to understand.

Children who ate a lot of popsicles, ice cream and frozen foods showed a reduction in the volume of the lips and cheeks, with more dimples than the others. This made the researchers start to wonder if the cold had a role in reducing fat in these areas.

And in fact, the observations showed that the fat was more sensitive to cold than the skin itself and the surrounding tissues. Because of this, more in-depth studies began to be done.

They were carried out, first, in pigs, which had different regions of the body subjected to temperatures ranging from 20ºC to -7ºC. After exposure to low temperatures, there was a reduction of up to 50% in fat 6 months after the tests.

In 2009, the first studies with human beings started, where it was verified a reduction of up to 25% of fat in the altered region without altering the serum levels.

In 2010, then, cryolipolysis was released for commercial use and spread, arriving in Brazil in 2012 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 still do not face overweight . It is a non-invasive and relatively safe procedure (see topic “Risks”).

It is important to note 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 perform the procedure. Only after you have fixed all the prerequisites should you look for the procedure.

Before the sessions, the professional responsible for the application will make a measurement of the skin fold of the region you want to treat to make sure that you can be treated. With the help of an adipometer, he will make the measurement and if the result is less than 2cm, cryolipolysis will be contraindicated.

If the expert assesses that you are qualified to do the procedure, he will explain in detail what will happen, the time needed in each session and how long you will see the results.

On the day of the procedure, the doctor or guardian will place a protective antifreeze cover over the area where the cryolipolysis will be done to protect the skin. The use of this layer is necessary to protect the skin, since 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 that 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 that will then be replaced by the 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, that is, it is fleeting.

The sessions will last an average of 40 minutes to 1 hour. In the meantime, you are free to read magazines, fiddle with your cell phone and entertain yourself in some way to wait for time to pass.

However, the sessions will last this average time only if you are going to do it in a single area of ​​the body. If you go to the office in order to perform 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?

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Cryolipolysis should only be done in cases of localized fat. As stated earlier, 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 such cases, 1 to 3 sessions are indicated with a minimum interval of 2 months between them and a maximum of 3 sessions per year.

In what locations can cryolipolysis be performed?

There are several areas of the body that can be subjected to cryolipolysis treatment, but not all. 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, cryolipolysis machine manufacturers around the world have announced that they will make new tips that adapt to other parts of the body.

Even so, so far, only some areas of the body can be subjected to treatment. Are they:

  • Flanks;
  • Abdomen;
  • Inner thighs;
  • Arms;
  • Upper back.

Pre and post cryolipolysis care

Pre-cryolipolysis

Before doing the procedure, consult a doctor and see if the procedure is suitable for you, if you meet all the necessary requirements to perform it. Do not go expecting to lose weight, as cryolipolysis is only indicated to eliminate localized fat.

One of the main precautions to be taken is to research the equipment and check if they are certified by Anvisa. Among the main ones are:

  • Cool Shaping;
  • CoolTech;
  • CoolSmooth.

If you have doubts, you can contact Anvisa and check through the website  if the device that the clinic is using is properly certified.

On the day of the session, you must 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 processes of weight gain. If you are consuming 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.

Post-cryolipolysis

As a rule, especially with regard to aesthetic procedures, care should start between 1 and 2 weeks after cryolipolysis. However, each patient is unique, therefore, an individual analysis must be made.

Some aesthetic treatments can be carried out 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 the professional of the area before starting to do any type of treatment.

That’s because cryolipolysis is characterized by being 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.

Failure to perform cosmetic procedures after cryolipolysis does not mean that the procedure will be unsuccessful, however, the ratio between result and satisfaction will be greater if you follow the medical 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 benefit your health, such as adopting a specific diet and starting to exercise. Understand:

Adopt a healthy eating routine

The most important thing after cryolipolysis is to adopt a healthy diet. Do not think of it as something bad or worthy of suffering, but only as a way to obtain better results and to improve your quality of life.

If you continue to eat fatty and caloric foods, gluten and sodium in an unbridled 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 goes for alcohol, a well-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.

Start exercising

Exercising after the procedure is released. That’s because it is non-invasive and leaves no sequelae that will weaken the functioning of your body. So you have 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 nothing to leave the exercises behind after a while. Always remain firm in physical activities. This will be good for you and your health, bringing you more quality of life and disposition for everyday life.

Use a modeling belt

A nice tip to enhance the effects of cryolipolysis is to use a modeling belt in the treated region during the first 30 days after the procedure. This helps the fat metabolization process, increasing the lymphatic circulation and aiding in the drainage of the region.

Results

The results of cryolipolysis usually begin to appear within 1 or 2 months after the first session. The procedure can reduce 20 to 30% of the 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, more than one session  of cryolipolysis is necessary.

There are cases in which only one session will be necessary to obtain the perfect results, but they are closely linked to the amount of localized fat in the patient.

Thinner people are those who usually achieve effective results with just one session. But the truth is that the vast majority of patients who seek the procedure are not at the ideal weight.

So, if you need to go back to the office to do more sessions, do not find it strange. For most patients, this is necessary.

What can affect the results?

Because it is a procedure that reduces the levels of fat in the body, there are some factors that can interfere with the results and they are closely linked to the behavior and compliance with post-cryolipolysis recommendations.

One of them is poor diet . Doing the procedure and continuing to maintain a diet rich in carbohydrates and fats will increase the chances of the procedure going wrong, since the fat that is being removed by the technique is soon replenished through food.

Not adopting the practice of exercises and committing to one’s own health is also something that may cause the results to not be as good as expected. By exercising, you increase your metabolism, which guarantees faster results.

So don’t think that cryolipolysis alone is enough to make you lose that fat. It takes effort and dedication on your part too.

Contraindications

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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 the burning of localized fat.

It is important to note that you should keep in mind realistic expectations regarding the result, as it does not always go as expected. This is not a miraculous procedure and many people need to repeat sessions several times in order to have a satisfactory result.

Other than that, most people are likely 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 the age of 18, who had surgery less than 6 months ago and in countless other cases, such as:

  • People who are going through infectious processes;
  • The measurement made by the adipometer is less than 2 cm;
  • People who have hives (skin irritation);
  • People who have decompensated metabolic diseases, such as diabetes, dyslipidemia or metabolic syndrome;
  • Patients with hernia at the site;
  • 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 disease);
  • Patients suffering from diseases that cause changes in clotting factors, such as hemophilia, thrombocytopenia, Leide Factor V deficiency, etc.

So, before deciding whether you want to go ahead with treatment, consult your doctor and ask him if cryolipolysis is right for you. Prevention is better than cure.

Scratchs

Even though it is considered a safer procedure than liposuction, cryolipolysis still presents health risks. The main one is when the device is misused. In that case, cryolipolysis can cause burns !

Without the necessary medical precautions, it can cause burns of up to 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 the poor regulation of the machine, is found in the use of antipyretic 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 by Anvisa, the chances of serious burns happening 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 wary.

In addition, always look for the name of the clinics that offer the procedure on complaint sites and always try to make sure about the quality of care.

If you have recently had an unsuccessful procedure, try to make a police report so that other people know that, even though the technique seems simple and very safe, it can also have serious health implications.

Complications

In addition to burns, the procedure can bring on some other disorders. They are rare and the satisfaction rate is high and usually involve surface irregularities and asymmetry.

Side effects and expected effects are bruising and transient numbness, which usually disappear after a period of 14 days after treatment.

Paradoxal adipose hyperplasia

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 occur in men than in women.

Even so, 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.

Price

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, at each session, new special blankets must be used for patient safety.

Pay close attention to the clinics that offer the treatment for a very low price, usually in the range of 200 reais, as we can see on many collective buying sites. Despite being a safe procedure, it can bring risks if it is done in bad conditions (see topic “Risks”).

So know now that, to perform the technique, you will have to take some money out of your pocket. Evaluate whether it is worth it or not and go ahead!

Common questions

Does cryolipolysis hurt? Do you need anesthesia?

No!  Cryolipolysis is a virtually painless procedure. What you may feel, at the beginning of the session, is a slight discomfort accompanied by a feeling of warmth that will soon be replaced by cold.

After a few minutes of the procedure, you will only feel a kind of pinch in the belly, since the treated area will be being pulled. As it causes, at most, some discomfort, the need for anesthesia is non-existent.

Does cryolipolysis lose weight?

No.  Contrary to what many blogs want to make you believe, cryolipolysis only serves to fight localized fat, that is, the one that can hardly be eliminated, even with the regular practice of physical exercises.

The best way to lose weight is still through a healthy diet and physical exercise. Cryolipolysis is nothing more than an aesthetic procedure and performing it does not guarantee that you will have a better quality of life.

So, have willpower, get up and start practicing physical exercises. Your body and your scale are grateful.

Is cryolipolysis a single session?

Most of the time, no . Despite being sold as a single session procedure, everything will depend on the amount of fat you have in your body. Only in thinner women and men, that is, with a low localized fat index, are satisfactory results observed with a single session.

So, if you are overweight or overweight, make no mistake: it will most likely take more sessions to achieve the perfect result.

Can cryolipolysis leave with hematoma?

In most cases, cryolipolysis ends up leaving some type of hematoma. Usually, some redness or irritation is observed on the skin. These bruises, however, are superficial and tend to disappear naturally in a period that varies between 6 and 7 days.

Even so, it is possible that there will be the appearance of deeper bruises. In such cases, a post-cryolipolysis treatment should be performed with the use of a special anti-hematoma ointment.

It is important to emphasize that ointments with anti-inflammatory effect should not be used, since the inflammation process is what is sought with the cryolipolysis procedure.

Can I do cryolipolysis if I am diabetic, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or liver fat?

Yea!  This happens because, according to one of the hypotheses about the elimination of fat promoted by cryolipolysis, it considers that the fat cells that go through the procedure are killed, having little impact on the liver.

It works like this: after death, the fat cell is no longer recognized as a functional part of the body and is absorbed by the immune system, being eliminated without passing through the liver.

Can you work out or have sex after cryolipolysis?

Not only can it, but it should ! Cryolipolysis does not seek to promote weight loss, but rather to eliminate localized fat.

Therefore, both sports and sex will help you burn calories, maintain weight or lose fat! These practices not only increase your metabolism, helping you to spend energy instead of storing it, but also help you to lead a healthier life, providing more health and disposition.

It’s a double benefit! So you have no excuse to leave the gym (or your partner) waiting for you, huh?

How long will the results appear after?

The time for the results to appear will be different from person to person. People with a faster metabolism will notice results faster than those with a slower metabolism, as fat cells are eliminated more quickly the faster your metabolism is.

However, in general, it takes 20 to 60 days  to start observing 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 performed the first, it takes at least 2 months to wait for the organism to go through the inflammatory process and recover with health.

However, if you want to do another session on another part of your body, there is no need to wait for any time. If you did it in the belly once and now that you do it under your buttocks, you are free to do one more time.

Can I do cryolipolysis to treat cellulite and sagging?

Cryolipolysis is not a suitable procedure for the treatment of cellulite , but reducing localized fat can have a positive effect in reducing this unwanted appearance on the skin.

Flaccidity can be aggravated after the procedure. Changes in measurements can be aggravated depending on the volume of fat lost.

Which professionals can apply cryolipolysis?

There is no national rule that explains exactly which professionals are qualified to perform the procedure. Dermatologists and beauticians, physiotherapists and biomedical practitioners 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 that they are at least qualified in some way, with academic or similar training.


Despite being a safe technique, cryolipolysis can bring some health risks, especially if it is performed without the necessary care. So, before you do, keep an eye on the price you are paying for the procedure and the clinic that is offering it.

Did you think that some information was missing? Did you have any doubts? Put them in the comments below and we’ll answer them! Thank you very much!

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