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How fat freezing works

How fat freezing works

With fat freezing we shape and sculpt specific areas of the body. This shaping and sculpting is achieved by safely reducing localised fat cells permanently.


Fat freezing should be undergone in addition to exercise and a healthy diet. The treatment does not replace a healthy lifestyle, and a health lifestyle will not help you to sculpt or shape your body.

With fat freezing you can add definition, tighten and flatten specific areas such as the stomach and flanks and even remove movement from the underarms and inner thighs.

Summary description of how fat freezing works

Fat freezing, also known as cryolipolysis or lipo freeze, is a non-invasive fat reduction treatment that reduces fat cells permanently using the 45-minute application of freezing temperatures to specific fatty areas.


The freezing treatment instigates a process during which fat cells are broken down and eliminated from the body through the lymphatic system.

As fat freezing treatment is non-invasive, there are few risks associated, treatments don't take long and are more affordable. You don't require any downtime after treatment and you do not have to make any significant changes around the time of treatment.


With each treatment you can see a significant reduction in fat in the treatment area after a period of approximately 6 weeks. 

How to book cryolipolysis fat freezing treatment

Book online with ease using the book button below. 

Description of how fat freezing works

A more thorough explanation of how fat freezing works

What is "fat"


Fat cells are also known as adipose cells or adipocytes. When we talk of "fat" we talk of an area that consists of billions of fat cells. 


Fat cells can be considered energy storage space. The cells store triglycerides in the form of lipid droplets as a reserve of energy. When we exercise and/or diet our body will use up existing triglycerides that are stored, allowing our bodies to become smaller: we lose weight and look slimmer. If we consume too much energy, the fat cells will store more triglycerides and become larger, therefore our bodies look larger and our weight goes up. If weight gain is profound our bodies may also create additional storage space; more fat cells. 

When you lose weight naturally, the triglycerides are used up and the fat cells become smaller, which makes us lighter and slimmer. However, the fat cells themselves remain in place.


There is no natural way to lose fat cells. There is also no natural way to lose fat from specific areas of the body. With fat freezing we can reduce the amount of fat cells in targeted areas permanently.

Cell death and the removal of the cellular debris


The freezing of the adipose cells in the subcutaneous tissue triggers a process of natural programmed cell death. This process is known as apoptosis. 

After the apoptosis process is triggered the body's immune system responds with an inflammatory reaction. Immune cells are attracted to the treated area to break down and clear away the damaged fat cells. 


The immune cells primarily responsible for clearing away dead or damaged fat cells (adipocytes) following apoptosis are macrophages. Other immune cells that contribute to the response include neutrophils, lymphocytes, mast cells, dendritic cells and eosinophils.

The cellular debris from the targeted fat cells, along with other waste products and fluids, is then absorbed into the  lymphatic system.


The role of the lymphatic system in fat freezing


The lymphatic system plays a big role in the clearing of fat cells following fat freezing treatment.

The lymphatic system is a network of vessels, nodes, and organs that work together to transport and filter a clear fluid called lymph throughout the body. It plays a vital role in maintaining fluid balance, filtering waste products, and supporting the immune system.


Lymphatic vessels collect excess fluid, cellular waste and debris, and substances from tissues, carrying them through lymph nodes where immune cells help cleanse and process the fluid. The lymphatic vessels absorb the cellular debris from the targeted fat cells following the inflammatory response triggered by apoptosis.


The lymphatic system then  returns the filtered lymph to the bloodstream, aiding in waste elimination and immune defence. From there, the waste products and cellular debris are filtered and processed through the liver and kidneys, from where it is eliminated from the body through urine and other metabolic pathways.

Fat freezing temperatures and what they mean

The temperature used during fat freezing


This exact freezing temperature is decided by the thickness of the fat layer in that specific area. We freeze the area to the temperature that you get the best results in the safest possible manner.

The lower the freezing temperature, the higher the risk of negative side effects. With our treatments we aim to achieve the most optimal results with the least risk of negative side effects, for which we use temperatures between -4 degrees and -7 degrees Celsius on the body, and -1 to -4 degrees Celsius on the chin. 

Risk to other cells

Skin cells, nerve cells and other cells in the area are able to resist these freezing temperatures with ease, and aren't damaged by the freezing process at the temperatures that we work with. During the fat freezing treatment, only fat cells are damaged.

Fat freezing suitability, side effects and aftercare

Fat freezing suitability


At the clinic we see clients of all sizes and of all ages (over 18).

Whether you're big or small, younger or older, fat freezing can be highly effective in reducing specific areas of fat.


If you are close to your target weight and you are looking to "tidy up" those stubborn last areas then fat freezing is the treatment for you.


If you are bigger and looking to lose weight then fat freezing should only be considered if you are on a weight loss journey. Fat freezing helps you to see results in your difficult areas much quicker, which can be highly motivational to your overall weight loss journey.

There are some health conditions that would exclude you from our fat freezing treatment. If you are not sure if you may have a health condition that could exclude you from treatment, check this full list of fat freezing contra-indications before booking in. You can also contact us before booking to check whether your health conditions may make the treatment unsafe for you.


Your wellbeing will always come first, so its important to always be honest and thorough when talking about your medical history.

Side effects of fat freezing


As with most beauty treatments, some side effects can be expected.


Most commonly clients will see some bruising in the treatment area, feel some numbness and possibly some bumps and tightness following the treatment. These side effects generally subside quickly, within a matter of hours or days, depending on the person and the area treated. 


Some areas of the body bruise faster and more severely than others. The chin is a area that is known to bruise quite severely, and bruising lasts days if not weeks for most clients, while stomach applicators often barely leave a mark. Bruising is the result of the vacuum function of the fat freezing applicators, which can be adjusted to your body. Often, in areas where there is more subcutaneous fat present bruising is often less severe than in areas where there is less subcutaneous fat.


Rare side effects


There are some rare side effects all clients should be aware of.


It is very unlikely you will experience any of these, and we will take all precautions possible to avoid any such more serious side effects, but we cannot guarantee serious side effects from occurring. At the time of writing (August '23) no such occurrences have been reported by any of our clients. These serious side effects include paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH), nodules, hernia, and skin damage through frostbite.


The following 3 simple steps are recommended following treatment to ensure you can enjoy the best possible results following your treatment;

  1. Drink plenty of water following your treatment. We recommend you keep this up for at least 2 weeks (if not forever!)

  2. Massage the treatment areas regularly following the appointment. 

  3. Aim to live healthily by exercising regularly and eating well. 

Fat freezing treatment and how it works

The treatment

A quick description of the fat freezing treatment

To start the treatment the applicator is carefully placed on the area you want to treat.

The applicator suctions the fat into the applicator head, where the area will be heated up to 40 degrees for a period of 3 minutes, before the temperature drops to the target freezing point, where it will remain for the rest of the treatment. The applicators are each on your body for 45 minutes.

The suction and the freezing are the two main areas of discomfort. For most clients this discomfort is temporary and reduces within minutes.

Gel membranes used during treatment


During the treatment the skin is protected by a gel membrane to ensure no damage is done to the skin. This gel membrane is placed between the skin and the applicator and keeps the skin moist throughout the treatment.

Clinical efficacy of fat freezing

Key studies and scientific research that have explored the efficacy of fat freezing include the below.

Manstein et al., 2008 - "Cryolipolysis for Noninvasive Fat Cell Destruction: Initial Results from a Pig Model"

This study, published in the journal Dermatologic Surgery, presented the initial results of cryolipolysis on pigs. The researchers found that exposing fat tissue to cold temperatures led to a reduction in fat layer thickness.
The study provided early evidence of the concept's potential effectiveness.

How to book your next appointment 


Book in your next fat freezing appointment online. We often have same day appointments, weekday and weekend appointments available. 

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