Dermatology has come up with new non-invasive procedures which are becoming much more popular than some liposuction and plastic surgery procedures. Now people have a choice to lose fat painlessly, with no anesthesia and no downtime. There are three very popular procedures that get rid of subcutaneous (under the skin) fat. Though the science behind these technologies is quite different, these procedures are used to remove body fat without harming the skin or the rest of the body in any way.
Let’s look at Zeltiq cool sculpting and see how it works: Zeltiq cool sculpting is a medical procedure called cryolipolysis. Cryolipolysis chills the underlying fat cells without being cold enough to damage the skin, nerves, muscles and superficial blood vessels. The science behind the Zeltiq cool sculpting procedure is this: The fat cells, which are chilled, go through a process called apoptosis. Apoptosis is a process where the fat cells die systematically; the cells are programmed biochemically to shrink, die and break apart. When the fat cells crystallize and break apart they are phagocytosed (eaten) by immune cells called phagocytes.
The controlled fat cell death which is initiated by morphological changes instituted by the immune system’s response to the Zeltiq cool sculpting technology is accomplished without any tissue damage. How is this accomplished? Controlled cellular death through the process of apoptosis is different than cellular death induced by injury or disease. When cells die as a result of injury or disease, the tissue becomes necrosed. In other words, the tissue just dies and rots. However, when cells die through apoptosis, they go through morphological changes and slowly are eliminated by the body’s immune system.
The science of apoptosis isn’t just used in people who have a few pounds to lose. This science has been used to selectively kill and metabolize cancer cells in the body. It is an extremely complex science which is beyond the scope of this article. The same type of controlled cell death that can be programmed into diseased cells can also be programmed into fat cells located under the skin.
Let’s take a look at Zeltiq; it didn’t start out as a procedure for weight loss. Zeltiq was approved for use, by the FDA, to be used for dermatological problems. It was noticed that a byproduct or side effect of the treatment was weight loss. What was happening? The fat cells under the skin were being affected by the cold temperatures and the fat was going through a process of cryolipolysis. The cold temperatures in contact with the skin were enough to irritate the fat cells without harming the skin, nerves and other tissues. Now Zeltiq is widely used to remove those fatty areas that don’t respond well to diet and exercise. The muffin tops on your love handles, the fat under your upper arms, your tummy and other areas can be successfully removed without surgery or liposuction.
When you have a Zeltiq cool sculpting procedure done, the doctor or technician prepares the area to be treated. The cool sculpting machine is affixed to the body part, and the skin and underlying fat is suctioned up into the machine, where there are two paddles. The paddles apply cold temperatures to the skin and underlying fat that is squeezed inside of the machine. The cold temperature is enough to cause changes in the fat cells without causing damage to the skin and other structures. The changes within the fat cells cause enough irritation to turn on the immune system to digest the fat cells as they shrink, crystallize and break apart.
Is Zeltiq cool sculpting right for you? If you are not overweight, but have little muffin tops over your hips, or you have little troublesome areas on your body that won’t respond to diet and exercise, Zeltiq cool sculpting might be a viable treatment for you. Ask your doctor about Zeltiq cool sculpting.
There are other non-surgical procedures which are used in the place of liposuction and plastic surgery. There is a procedure called Zerona, which uses low intensity laser to emulsify the fat in the fat cells. An opening is created in the fat cells and the liquefied fat escapes and is channeled out of the body by the immune and lymphatic systems. There is also another procedure called Lipo Ex which uses bipolar radio frequencies to accomplish body contouring. A future article will address how these technologies work without causing harm to the skin and the structures beneath. Stay tuned!