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Freezing Fat Cells

February 2013

Ice Cool looksIce Cool Looks!

February is the time when we suddenly realise that winter will not last forever and we need to start now if we want to lose weight and look gorgeous for spring.

But most of us have been there before and we all know just how difficult it is to lose weight. Now, increasing numbers of clinics across the UK are offering what some describe as a breakthrough treatment -freezing fat cells so that they simply die, dissolve and well, melt away!

The idea is not new - as far back as the seventies it was noticed that children who ate a lot of ice lollies developed cheek dimples. The new treatment developed after scientists at Harvard University in America reported that research was showing that fat cells were especially sensitive to cold. Across the world doctors and researchers took this up to undertake further research and investigation.

Dr Craig Layt, an Australian plastic surgeon and also president of the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, has tried the treatment himself and says that keeping fat at a specific low temperature for a period of time and then applying pressure kills the fat cells. Dr Mathew Avram , at the Massachusetts General Hospital Dermatology Laser and Cosmetic Centre in America, agrees that the technique targets and cools the fat cells to a specific temperature that triggers their natural death.

Interestingly, he adds that because lipids crystallise faster than normal cells, there is no damage to nerves or other tissue.

Now, the treatment is becoming widespread across the world and is increasingly becoming available at specialist clinics and treatment centres in the UK.

Treatments vary slightly, but generally a patient is connected to a special machine that combined deep cooling plates together with vacuum pressure. The chilling and pressure permanently destroys fat cells which the body disposes of through the liver in a normal fashion.

A good thing about the treatment is that is it totally non-invasive. Patients can read or relax with minimal discomfort and there is no need for any anaesthetic or medication.

The treatment is best for people who have smaller areas of fat - it does not offer the potential for extensive fat loss that can be available with liposuction, for instance, but it is said to be very good for unwanted fat cells around the waist, or perhaps on the hips or arms. Surgeons say it is best for people who are around 15lb to 20 lb overweight (7-9kg) and the treatment can remove around 30 percent of fat in the targeted areas. The results aren’t instant but show gradually over the following weeks. It is proving especially popular with men who appreciate the speed and ease of the treatment.

More and more clinics and specialist salons are beginning to introduce the treatment here in the UK and it is described under different names from coolsculpting and icesculpting to lipoice. Because it is still fairly new, you need to check out various local clinics and background research of course before undertaking the treatment yourself, but the coolsculpting website gives a list of 19 centres right across the UK that now offer the treatment.

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