Can Fat Be Frozen to Lose Weight

Skinny is the new black. It looks good on everyone. However, it’s notoriously difficult to get into shape, which means that a lot of effort is put into finding alternative methods for losing weight. One of these methods is fat-freezing.

What is fat freezing and how can fat be frozen to lose weight anyway? Here are the basics of cryolipolysis – a method of reducing your fat cells by freezing them to death.

What Is It for?

First of all, you need to know what this method is meant for, and what it is not. Cryolipolysis is not a method you can use to deal with obesity. It can only affect a small area at a time, and it would be impractical to use it to treat your whole body.

What it does, though, is target very specific areas of your body. Those are the areas that, no matter what you do, you can’t seem to get to shrink. For most people, those are the love handles on their hips.

In short, cryolipolysis isn’t a substitute for exercise and a healthy diet. It is only a method you can use to deal with a little bit of stubborn fat in very specific parts of your body.

How Does It Work?

You probably already know that there is nothing you can do about the number of fat cells you have in your body. As you gain weight, the cells grow. As you lose weight, they become smaller. However, the numbers don’t change.

Well, fat freezing changes that. The reasoning is that freezing kills the fat cells, which are then disposed of over the next few weeks by the body’s natural processes. This is not a completely new idea – they already use freezing to destroy cancer cells in certain situations. Destroying cells with low temperatures works, at least to some degree.

If you’re thinking something along the lines of being frozen half to death in an attempt to get skinny (which does sound a bit insane, to be sure), hold your horses – it’s quite safe. The fat cells freeze more quickly than the skin, so don’t worry, you won’t end up as Mr. Freeze.

How Much Does It Cost?

It’s not cheap, but it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. A single treatment can cost you somewhere between $500 and $800. However, a single treatment is rarely enough, so you’ll need to multiply the cost with the number of repetitions necessary. Also, keep in mind that targeting some parts of your arms or legs means that you’ll be charged for each limb separately.

All in all, the estimated total cost ranges from $2,000 to $4,000. Not great, not terrible. Keep in mind that this is a cosmetic procedure, and as such generally not covered by insurance.

Are There Any Real Results?

There are some results. Research has shown that this method is effective at reducing fat in problematic areas. Both short-term and long-term effects were noted, and the good news is that the results stick around even after five years. The targeted areas stay slimmer, even though there are natural changes in weight over time.

The bad news is that this method won’t give you any dramatic results. It will keep the areas that are resistant to exercise and diet a bit slimmer than you’d have them otherwise, but you shouldn’t expect a drastic change. If you want to lose a lot of fat quickly, a surgical procedure like liposuction might be more appropriate for you.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Fat freezing is a non-invasive procedure, so there aren’t many side effects. There is no cutting involved, so there’ll be no scar. There might be some bruising or discomfort, but nothing serious or long-lasting.

However, there is one thing you should be aware of, which your doctor is obligated to tell you about. Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH) is a possible adverse effect. In some patients, for reasons unknown, fat freezing has the opposite effect. Those patients report that the treated areas started to grow, not shrink, after some time. This results in a lump of fat that is bigger, tougher, and more difficult to get rid of than the original mass. In those cases, patients might require liposuction since the newly gained fat can get much more stubborn.

The problem with this is nobody knows how this happens or how often. Some studies claim that only one in 221 patients developed PAH, while others state that the actual number is 1 in 100.

While that doesn’t sound like an extremely high possibility, it is high enough to be relevant, so make sure you’ve thought this through before you make your decision.

Does It Work for Weight Loss?

Because fat freezing affects only small areas of your body, it is a decidedly bad option if your goal is to lose weight. Fat doesn’t even weigh that much – it’s much lighter than muscles. Therefore, getting rid of a few fat cells won’t do you any good if you plan on reducing the number that your bathroom scale shows you.

For dealing with serious cases of obesity, look into weight loss surgery. For less health-threatening cases, consider liposuction, or better yet – adjust your lifestyle and work your way into a steady regimen of healthy diet and exercise. Then, when you’ve lost most of the problematic fat, you can use fat freezing to deal with whatever is left.

The Last Pound

So, can fat be frozen to lose weight? Yes and no. You can use this method to improve your shape and deal with stubborn fat in places that exercise and diet don’t affect easily. However, if you want to make significant changes in your weight, this option is neither practical nor effective. So, hit the gym and stop avoiding your leafy greens, and consider fat freezing when the time comes.

 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4444424/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5118516/

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