CoolScupting delivers controlled cooling to gently and effectively target fat cells underneath the skin, while leaving the skin unaffected. Zeltiq

There is a new and non-invasive way to remove fat from thighs, arms and stomach. Done in the salon, CoolScuplting does not involve going on a diet or exercising in the gym.

So far, about 2.5 million procedures has been performed by Zeltiq, the company behind the only US Food and Drug Administration-approved cold-based treatment. In the UK, there are only 50 salons with the fat-freezing machine because the establishment must prove its credentials before it could apply to operate one. The European Commission has classified the machine as a Class IIa medical device.

The Telegraph explains that CoolSculpting gently sucks fatty tissue into a vice-like contraption by freezing fat cells at temperatures as low as -12ᵒC. It is then broken down and eventually passed through the body’s natural lymphatic drainage system. Once the treated fat cells are frozen, or crystallised, it would die and are naturally processed and eliminated from the body. The treated fat cells are then gone for good.

According to the NASDAQ-traded (ZLTQ) ZELTIQ® Aesthetics, the technology is based on cryolipolysis, a scientific technology, in which fat cells are more sensitive to cold than the overlying skin and surrounding tissues. Initial cryolipolysis research was done at the Wellman Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, a teaching affiliate for Harvard Medical School.

CoolScupting delivers controlled cooling to gently and effectively target fat cells underneath the skin, while leaving the skin unaffected. The machine has built-in safety sensors that indicate if the skin is getting too cold, resulting in shut down of the system automatically.

The idea behind CoolScupting came from observation by Dr Dieter Manstein and Dr R. Rox Anderson, Harvard University scientists, who observed children who ate popsicles got dimples in their cheeks. The popsicles were freezing and eliminating small pockets of fat cells, the two realised.

But it is not as fast as invasive procedures. About 12 weeks are needed to see the full effect. Each body area needs an hour to treat, and the cost is at £750 (AUD$1,426) per treatment. People who undergo the procedure could experience some pulling, tugging and mild pinching as well as intense cold, tingling, stinging, aching and cramping that subside when the treatment area becomes numb.

After the treatment, there could be some redness, bruising, swelling, tenderness, cramping and aching for one to two weeks. However, there are some cases when the patient experiences rare side effects which include paradoxical hyperplasia, or visibly enlarged tissue volume within the treatment area; late-onset pain; freeze burn; vasovagal symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, flushing, sweating or fainting; subcutaneous induration, or generalised hardness; hyperpigmentation; and hernia.