Localised Fat Reduction (“Fat Freezing”)

The ideal abdominal contour is that of taut abdominal skin with a thin layer of subcutaneous fat and a well-toned muscle wall. Women often desire a reduction of lower abdominal, inner thigh and hip fat deposits, and wish to create a feminine, gently curving silhouette that is maximally tapered at the waist, also commonly known as the hourglass figure. Men often desire lower abdominal and flank fat reduction and accentuation of the visible muscle contour to project a more athletic and masculine image.

How Does It Manifest?

Despite having normal weight, individuals may have unsightly localized fat deposits that obscure the muscle contour and create unaesthetic silhouettes. Men tend to deposit fat in the flanks (“love handles”) and the lower abdomen. In contrast, women tend to have deposits in the side boobs, inner arms, hips, thighs, and lower abdomen. Individuals with such deformities may experience adverse effect on their body image and self-confidence and this may affect their social functioning.


How does it arise?

Fat deposits may be developmental (“born with it”), persist after weight loss, or occur as a natural consequence of aging. Fat deposits may accumulate despite having a normal BMI and is a result of intrinsic metabolic changes in the fat cells (adipocytes) that occur with age.

Fat freezing | Cryolipolysis

Fat cells are sensitive to cold temperature and undergo cell death (apoptosis) when exposed. Modern technology is able to deliver cryogenic treatments to the subcutaneous fat while ensuring that the overlying skin is not injured. The body gradually absorbs the destroyed fat cells and their lipids over the next few weeks, causing a gradual reduction in the thickness of the subcutaneous fat. Cryolipolysis is an ambulatory treatment that delivers modest subcutaneous fat reduction with minimal recovery time.

Individuals with normal BMI with localized fat deposits and good skin elasticity are good candidates for LipoCryo. Ideally, individuals undergoing LipoCryo should have a relatively stable weight in the past 3 months. Individuals who have a high BMI may wish to consider other forms of weight loss interventions (e.g. diet and exercise interventions, or gastric surgery) to achieve ideal weight as a first step. LipoCryo is not a suitable treatment for weight loss.

Lipocryo is a non-surgical technique for fat reduction that does not require anesthetic. A specific transducer is positioned on the selected area. Gentle vacuum suction is applied to isolate the fat layer for application of cooling. Each treatment session lasts for 90 to 120 minutes. The reduction of subcutaneous fat thickness occurs gradually over a few weeks.

Mild redness and swelling may be observed for a few hours following Cryolipo and there may be very mild bruising on rare occasions. No special post-procedural care is required. Repeat treatment sessions may be performed at 6 weekly intervals. A good diet and exercise regimen is required for maintenance of results.

Fat freezing devices are often marketed as capable of providing non-surgical liposuction. Fat freezing treats the superficial layer of fat but not the intermediate or deep layers. Individuals with significant thickness of the subcutaneous fat layer may find limitation in its efficacy. Cryolipolysis is appropriate for reduction of small amounts of localized fat deposits in non-obese individuals.