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Cryolipolysis for Reduction of Excess Adipose Tissue


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Controlled cold exposure has long been reported to be a cause of panniculitis in cases such as popsicle panniculitis. Cryolipolysis is a new technology that uses cold exposure, or energy extraction, to result in localized panniculitis and modulation of fat. Presently, the Zeltiq cryolipolysis device is FDA cleared for skin cooling, as well as various other indications, but not for lipolysis. There is, however, a pending premarket notification for noninvasive fat layer reduction. Initial animal and human studies have demonstrated significant reductions in the superficial fat layer thickness, ranging from 20% to 80%, following a single cryolipolysis treatment. The decrease in fat thickness occurs gradually over the first 3 months following treatment, and is most pronounced in patients with limited, discrete fat bulges. Erythema of the skin, bruising, and temporary numbness at the treatment site are commonly observed following treatment with the device, though these effects largely resolve in approximately 1 week. To date, there have been no reports of scarring, ulceration, or alterations in blood lipid or liver function profiles. Cryolipolysis is a new, noninvasive treatment option that may be of benefit in the treatment of excess adipose tissue.

Keywords: Zeltiq; body contouring; cold panniculitis; cryolipolysis; fat removal; non-invasive

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Dermatology, UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA. 2: Total Skin and Beauty Dermatology Center, Birmingham, AL. 3: Dermatology Laser and Cosmetic Center, Wellman Center of Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA.

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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