Assessment of the Efficacy of Cryolipolysis on Saddlebags: A Prospective Study of 53 Patients

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2017 Jul;140(1):50-57. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000003433.


Background: Cryolipolysis is a noninvasive subcutaneous fat removal technique. Its efficacy has been demonstrated on various fatty areas but not yet on saddlebags. The main objective of this study was to demonstrate the efficacy, patient tolerance, and safety of cryolipolysis on the saddlebags.

Methods: This prospective study enrolled 53 patients with saddlebags. Patients with a history of liposuction or other surgical procedure on the saddlebag area and those on diet pills were excluded. The primary endpoint was a decrease in fat thickness at 3 and 6 months, as assessed by thigh circumference measurement and by ultrasound evaluation of subcutaneous fat. Pain associated with cryolipolysis was assessed using a visual analogue scale. Body mass index at the different time points and adverse events were recorded. All patients completed a satisfaction questionnaire at the end of the study.

Results: At 6 months, there was a mean decrease of 5.63 cm in thigh circumference; the mean decrease in fat layer thickness measured by ultrasound was 1.31 cm. The satisfaction questionnaire showed that 93.75 percent of patients were satisfied with the results. The mean visual analogue scale score was 1.66 of 10 after the session. Reversible skin changes such as postprocedure postinflammatory hyperpigmentation were observed in 8.33 percent of patients.

Conclusions: Cryolipolysis is an effective technique for reducing saddlebag fat and is well tolerated by patients. A substantial risk of skin lesions, including postinflammatory hyperpigmentation that resolved after a few months, was observed. Cryolipolysis is a good alternative to liposuction in women with moderate, well-localized saddlebags.

Clinical question/level of evidence: Therapeutic, IV.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cryotherapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipectomy / adverse effects
  • Lipectomy / instrumentation
  • Lipectomy / methods*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Self Report
  • Thigh*
  • Treatment Outcome