Skin Cooling Induces Fat Loss

Process can be done without skin injury or scarring

THURSDAY, Oct. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Exposing skin to low temperatures is an effective, noninvasive way to induce loss of subcutaneous fat without skin injury or scarring, according to a study published online Oct. 24 in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine.

Dieter Manstein, M.D., and colleagues from Harvard Medical School in Boston investigated the noninvasive, cold-induced selective destruction of subcutaneous fat (cryolysis) in anesthetized black Yucatan pigs. The pigs were exposed to temperatures as low as negative 8 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes.

The researchers found that the treatment induced a lobular panniculitis. At some test sites, cooling led to a gradual, grossly obvious loss of several millimeters of subcutaneous fat. They also noted adipocyte loss, lipid-laden mononuclear inflammatory cells and local thickening of fibrous septae but no evidence of skin injury or scarring. Serum lipid levels did not change significantly.

"Prolonged, controlled local skin cooling can induce selective damage and subsequent loss of subcutaneous fat, without damaging the overlying skin," Manstein and colleagues conclude.

Partial funding was contributed by Zeltiq Aesthetics.

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