What are the advantages of cryolipolysis?

There are many advantages to cryolipolysis:

  • No surgical incision is required.
  • It is a low risk procedure. There is no risk of infection.
  • The procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis.
  • Patients do not need to be sedated or anesthetized before undergoing the procedure.
  • More than one area of the body may be treated in a single session.
  • Most people can resume their normal daily activities immediately after treatment.
  • The procedure can be performed on people of all ages.
  • There is no damage to nerve fibers, blood vessels, muscles, or lasting damaging to skin in the treatment area.
  • Fat cells that have been damaged or destroyed are permanently removed from the body.
  • Patients may experience an increase in self-esteem due to an improvement in their appearance.

What are the disadvantages of cryolipolysis?

Disadvantages of cryolipolysis include:

  • The procedure is recommended only for people who are in good general health with no neurologic or orthopaedic problems and who are looking for “spot” fat reduction in specific areas on the body. Cryolipolysis is not recommended for people who are significantly overweight or obese.
  • There is a risk that the skin surface may be irregular/not smooth after healing.
  • More than one session may be needed to achieve a person’s desired results.
  • If more than one treatment sessions is needed, the next session can’t be performed until 6 to 8 weeks after the first session. This is because it can take this long for damaged fat cells to be eliminated from the body.
  • Results are not evident immediately. Since fat cells are removed gradually from the body, it can take 3 to 6 months to achieve optimal results.
  • One rare side effect that may occur is paradoxical adipose hyperplasia. In this rare condition, the size of fat cells increases after cryolipolysis. Men and people of Hispanic ethnicity are more likely to experience it.
  • Weight gain is possible after undergoing cryolipolysis. Fat may be deposited in other areas of the body.

Cryolipolysis should not be performed on patients who are obese or significantly overweight. Also, it should not be performed on areas of skin that are cut or injured, contain severe varicose veins, dermatitis, or other skin lesions.

People who have abnormal cold sensitivity or cold intolerance are not suitable candidates. The procedure is not recommended for people who have the following conditions:

  • Raynaud’s phenomenon. A rare condition in which cold temperatures can impede blood flow to the fingers and toes.
  • Cryoglobulinemia. A type of vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels) caused by abnormal proteins that become solid or gel-like in the presence of cold temperatures. It is associated with blocked blood vessels and other problems.
  • Paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria. A very rare autoimmune disease in which red blood cells are damaged during exposure to cold.
  • Cold urticaria. A rare condition in which the skin develops red, itchy spots (hives) after exposure to cold temperatures.
  • Cold agglutinin disease. A rare type of autoimmune hemolytic anemia in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys its own red blood cells. The condition is often triggered or made worse by cold temperatures.

Other conditions that pose a risk include

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/25/2019.

References

  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Nonsurgical Fat Reduction: Cryolipolysis. Accessed: 11/9/2018.
  • Ingargiola MJ, Motakef S, Chung MT, et al. Cryolipolysis for Fat Reduction and Body Contouring: Safety and Efficacy of Current Treatment Paradigms.Plast Reconstr Surg. 2015;June 135(6):1581-1590.
  • Meyer PF, Costa e Silva JD, de Vasconcellos LS, et al. Cryolipolysis: patient selection and special considerations. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology 2018;11:499–503.
  • CoolSculpting by Zeltiq. CoolSculpting Procedure. Accessed: 11/9/2018.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy