I had the pleasure of attending a business dinner with the representative from Zeltiq, a recently FDA approved device that utilizes cryolypolysis (freezing fat) to sculpt the body.  Zeltiq chills the surface of the skin and the underlying fat, causing the fat to become irreversibly damaged, without damaging the overlying skin.  The body naturally clears this fat over time, leading to a loss of fat volume.  According to an introductory study:

  • Subjects were comfortable during the procedure and did not require pain medication.
  • Cryolipolysis results in a visible contour change in a majority of subjects.
  • 100% of a subset of ultrasound-evaluated subjects demonstrated a measurable reduction; the average for the group was 22.4% fat layer reduction 4 months post-procedure.
  • Noticeable cosmetic efficacy was more consistently observed in properly selected subjects.
  • 27 of 28 (96%) properly selected subjects (discrete fat bulges) had discernable efficacy.

But does this actually work?

I believe it does, but much of what we do as plastic surgeons is to discern who is and is not a good candidate for a surgical procedure – namely liposuction, as a comparative fat reducing procedure.  Although not having to go through the discomfort of the postoperative recovery period will appeal to some people, refined liposuction can really be done with minimal discomfort.  It may have some utility for those individuals who are not good candidates for liposuction, however.  And for those interested in liposuction in Las Vegas, minimal downtime to get up and running is often important.  I will continue to do more research on the topic, and discuss this with some of my colleagues around the country who are using the device, to see if this is something that we ought to bring into the practice.  If you have any interest in Hankins & Sohn Plastic Surgery bringing Zeltiq to Las Vegas, feel free to email us using the Contact Us tab on the website; I am not currently aware of any plastic surgeons using this device in the Valley.

For more on Zeltiq, click here for their website.

– Samuel M. Sohn, MD