The physicians and their team conducted research that demonstrated that under carefully controlled conditions, subcutaneous fat cells are naturally more vulnerable to the effects of cold than other surrounding tissue. Their initial work, published in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine in November 2008, showed that:
- Exposure to cooling via energy extraction causes fat cell apoptosis – a natural, controlled cell death, which leads to the release of cytokines and other inflammatory mediators that gradually eliminate the affected cells.
- Inflammatory cells gradually digest the affected fat cells in the months after the procedure, reducing the thickness of the fat layer.
- Lipids from the fat cells are slowly released and transported by the lymphatic system to be processed and eliminated, much like that of fat from food.
Based on their research findings, the investigators concluded “prolonged, controlled local tissue cooling can induce selective fat cell reduction and subsequent loss of subcutaneous fat, without damaging the overlying skin.” This discovery, called “selective Cryolipolysis,” led to the development of the patented technology behind the non-invasive CoolSculpting procedure.