Fat freeze

By Carrie Johnson • Published: May 13th, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Tired of unsightly bulges? Diet and exercise aren’t working but you don’t want a procedure as invasive as liposuction? Forget about feeling the burn… now some dermatologists are recommending their overweight patients embrace the cold.

A new technique that freezes fat cells without damaging the surrounding tissue is now being marketed in the U.S. It’s based on the idea that cold triggers lipolysis [lip-oh-LIE-sis], or the breakdown of fat. After an area has been exposed to extreme cold, the fat cells die and are expelled through the body’s normal metabolic process.

Freezing cells to get rid of unwanted tissue is nothing new. It’s called cryosurgery and it’s been used for years. But researchers at Harvard Medical School theorized that because fat freezes more easily than other cells, it could be eliminated selectively.

To test their theory, they experimented on black Yucatan pigs. They applied plates of varying temperatures… from twenty degrees to minus ten degrees Celsius… on the pigs’ skin for ten minutes. They then measured the pigs several times over the next three-and-a-half months.

The researchers found the pigs lost several millimeters of fat. Further, they didn’t experience any harmful side effects.

Now some dermatologists are offering some form of fat freezing. The best candidates for the procedures are those close to their ideal body weight who want to get rid of belly fat, love handles or back fat. In other words, it will shave some fat off the body but won’t make an overweight person slender.

So stick with your diet and don’t forget to exercise. Otherwise, this is one hot trend that just might leave you cold.