I have spent the last seven years researching aesthetic technology as well as offering technology based treatments in our clinic.
The medical aesthetic industry has become flooded with so many different machines for various treatments and making a decision can be overwhelming. Especially with social media showing us pictures of incredible transformations; sometimes unrealistic. And even more daunting, we are now seeing case studies of people who have suffered traumatic injuries from treatments.
When it comes to fat freezing, the goal is to freeze and destroy fat cells resulting in permanent fat reduction. In 2009, scientists at Harvard University discovered that if you freeze fat cells at a specific temperature for a certain period of time, they die (apoptosis). The body will identify them as a toxin and the cells are gradually metobolised over a 12 week period leaving you with permanent results.
The reason the cost for this treatment varies so dramatically comes down to the manufacturer and the clinical studies behind the device. A medical grade device from a reputable organisation carries out clinical studies which prove the efficacy and safety. They also ensure the clinics and practitioners are qualified and properly trained.
To really identify the technical differences, I decided to investigate why some fat freezing machines had phenomenal results, while others had minimal to none.
Inside the handpiece, there are metal cooling plates which deliver the target temperature. In order to destroy the fat cells effectively, but also safely so you do not affect any of the surrounding tissue (such as the skin and blood vessels), the plates need to maintain a very controlled specific temperature. If they are too cold, you could cause burns. If they are not cold enough, it will not work.
I carried out a test on a CoolTech device as well as another device which was a fraction of the cost. Using an infrared thermometer, I measured the temperature of the cooling plates for 30 minutes while the treatment was active. I consistently and constantly moved the laser across the plates to record the temperature.
Here were my findings:
CoolTech: The target temperature remained consistent across the entire surface of the cooling plates throughout. It did not deviate, nor did it vary in different areas of the plates.
Other machine: I discovered the temperature ranged from +7 degrees Celsius to -18 degrees Celsius. The temperature changed constantly and varied on different areas of the cooling plates.
With the temperature constantly changing, there is no accuracy and it is impossible to achieve apoptosis. Not only will these higher temperatures not destroy fat cells, leaving a metal plate against the skin at -18c could cause significant burns and even necrosis.
In order to achieve apoptosis effectively and safely, a controlled temperature must be maintained throughout the duration of the treatment. And therein lies one of the main the technical differences.
As consumers, we rely on well-known certifications such as “FDA approval” (which is an American certification) or Medical CE Marking (the European certification for medical devices), to give us the confidence and reassurance that the clinical studies have been evaluated by the necessary professionals. But with all the choices available, you still need to do your research. Know who developed the machine, where it was manufactured and if the practitioner is experienced and properly trained. Ask to see before and after pictures of clients they have treated themselves.
Fat freezing a revolutionary treatment and is life changing. So choose wisely and take the time to learn as much as you can.
Elisabeth Bester, Marlow Face and Body