Cryolipolysis® is the non-invasive cooling of adipose tissue to induce lipolysis - the breaking down of fat cells - to reduce body fat without damage to other tissues. The scientific principles of Cryolipolysis® were discovered by Dermatologists Dieter Manstein, MD, PhD and R. Rox Anderson, MD, of the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School.
The physicians and their team conducted research that demonstrated that under carefully controlled conditions, subcutaneous fat cells are naturally more vulnerable to the effects of cold than other surrounding tissue. Their initial work, published in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine in November 2008, showed that:
- Exposure to cooling via energy extraction causes fat cell apoptosis - a natural, controlled cell death, which leads to the release of cytokines and other inflammatory mediators that gradually eliminate the affected cells.
- Inflammatory cells gradually digest the affected fat cells in the months after the procedure, reducing the thickness of the fat layer.
- Lipids from the fat cells are slowly released and transported by the lymphatic system to be processed and eliminated, much like that of fat from food.
Based on their research findings, the investigators concluded "prolonged, controlled local tissue cooling can induce selective fat cell reduction and subsequent loss of subcutaneous fat, without damaging the overlying skin." This discovery, called "selective Cryolipolysis®," led to the development of the patented technology behind the non-invasive CoolSculpting® Procedure.
Why the CoolSculpting Procedure Is Different
The CoolSculpting Procedure using Cryolipolysis® is fundamentally different from other non- or minimally invasive modalities. Other methods of fat removal primarily involve necrotic cell death by damaging fat with heat, high-intensity focused ultrasound, or chemical injections. Each approach poses potential technical challenges, particularly with respect to targeting the right tissue depth and unintended damage to other structures close to or within the fat layer. Predictability of efficacy using these other techniques is also uncertain. In contrast, the CoolSculpting Procedure using Cryolipolysis® induces apoptosis only in fat cells to gently and gradually reduce the fat layer while preserving all other tissue.
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