DANA POINT, CALIF. – A growing body of evidence-based research supports the efficacy of cryolipolysis for noninvasive fat reduction in the abdomen and flanks.
At the Summit in Aesthetic Medicine sponsored by Skin Disease Education Foundation (SDEF), Dr. Lawrence S. Bass highlighted results from several recent studies that support its use.
In the first study, presented by Dr. Christine C. Dierickx at the 2012 American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS) meeting, researchers cataloged side effects in a phone review conducted with patients 1 month following cryolipolysis. All interviewed patients reported erythema that lasted about 1 hour and paresthesia that lasted for up to 1 month after treatment. Other reported side effects were ecchymosis (4%), vasovagal reactions from treatments on the abdomen (2.1%), induration/edema (0.9% and lasting 2-5 weeks), and severe pain (0.6% and lasting for a maximum of 1 month).
A separate study, presented by Dr. Gerald Boey at the 2012 ASLMS meeting, found an amplified fat reduction when concomitant massage was used. For the trial, 10 patients underwent 2 minutes of massage to one side only after cryolipolysis treatment. Ultrasound evaluation revealed that an additional 68% reduction in fat was achieved on the massaged side.
A safety and efficacy trial, carried out at 16 centers and involving 314 patients, was presented by Dr. A. Jay Burns at the 2010 ASLMS meeting. The study found no serious side effects and no skin damage or pigment change from the procedure. Minor side effects included transient bruising, minor pain, reduced sensation, erythema, and edema – all of which resolved spontaneously.
Of 41 patients in the study who underwent ultrasound measurement, the average reduction in fat was 21% after a single procedure. "That’s a consistent number you see in many studies," said Dr. Bass, of the plastic surgery department at New York University School of Medicine.
In a separate study also presented at the 2010 ASLMS meeting, researchers led by Dr. Ivan A. Rosales-Berber investigated the effect of consecutive cryolipolysis treatments separated by 2-3 months. The second treatment resulted in a similar proportion of fat reduction as the first treatment (14.6% vs. 16.5%, respectively).
Three months after the second procedure, the fat layer reduction exceeded 25%. This "means that there is repeatability [with cryolipolysis]," Dr. Bass said. "That’s important, because unfortunately a lot of patients have more than one body contouring emergency in their lives."
An earlier published study determined that cryolipolysis associated with modest reversible short-term changes in peripheral nerve function (Aesthetic Plast. Surg. 2009;33:482-8). Ten patients underwent a thorough neurological evaluation at baseline and weekly after the procedure. All patients returned to baseline peripheral nerve function in an average of 3.6 weeks. The study also found that mean fat reduction by ultrasound was 20.4% at 2 months and 25.5% at 6 months. "Even though we think it takes about 90 days for this whole apoptotic process to resolve, there may be something ongoing, or some tissue consolidation taking place for a longer period of time, allowing patients to continue to improve," Dr. Bass noted.