Cryolipolysis is a noninvasive method for removal of subcutaneous fat for body contouring. Conventional cryolipolysis with topical cooling requires extracting heat from subcutaneous fat by conduction across the skin, thus limiting the amount and the location of the fat removed. The authors hypothesized that local injection of a physiological ice slurry directly into target adipose tissue would lead to more efficient and effective cryolipolysis.
Injectable slurries containing 20 percent and 40 percent ice content were made using common parenteral agents (normal saline and glycerol), then locally injected into the subcutaneous fat of swine. Ultrasound imaging, photography, histological, and gross tissue responses were monitored before and periodically up to 8 weeks after injection.
Fat loss occurred gradually over several weeks following a single ice slurry injection. There was an obvious and significant 55 ± 6 percent reduction in adipose tissue thickness compared with control sites injected with the same volume of melted slurry (p < 0.001, t test). The amount of fat loss correlated with the total volume of ice injected. There was no scarring or damage to surrounding tissue.
Physiological ice slurry injection is a promising new strategy for selective and nonsurgical fat removal.