Cold Panniculitis | Can Popsicles Cure Your Love Handles?

Panniculitis is a medical term used to describe inflammation of the fatty layer of the skin. Patients who develop panniculitis typically complain of red, swollen and tender nodules under the skin.

“There are a number of medical conditions that can cause inflammation of fat, or adipose tissue,” says Dr. Adam Mamelak, a board certified Dermatologist in Austin, Texas. “Depending on the area involved, the associated symptoms, and the appearance and distribution of the skin lesions, dermatologists can identify the cause of these reactions.”

Panniculitis often resolves without consequence to your skin or health. However, if the panniculitis reaction is intense enough, the inflammation can actually destroy the fatty tissue in the affected area. Similar to other cosmetic procedures like liposuction or a Tummy Tuck surgery, this would permanently remove fat cells in the affected area. If you want to try tummy tuck surgery, you might want to know more about Tummy Tuck with Dr. Karol Gutowski. You might also want to visit Rejuvenate Med Spa for expert med spa services.

Popsicles and Horses? Oh My!

Young woman looking at the camera while eating a delicious ice creamCold Panniculitis  is a type of panniculitis that occurs when skin is exposed to freezing temperatures for a prolonged amount of time. The inflammation in cold panniculitis is a response to the freezing of subcutaneous fat beneath the skin’s surface.

“It was originally called popsicle panniculitis,” says Dr. Miriam Hanson, board-certified Dermatologist and cosmetic expert in Austin. “A dermatologist noticed red, swollen nodules in a child’s cheeks after eating a popsicle! It may sound silly, but the consistent and recurrent that developed every time the child ate a popsicle was key in discovering the affect of cold temperatures on fat in the body.”

A number of other cases of Cold Panniculitis have been reported. “Female equestrian riders were noted to develop inflammation, redness and swelling on their outer thighs after horseback riding in freezing weather,” says Dr. Mamelak. Now the condition is most commonly reported in overweight, adult women.

From Cold to Gold

Fat removal seems to be the holy grail of cosmetic treatments, and doing so without surgery or serious gym time is almost unheard of. “I suspect it was the decrease in fat cells and shrinking effect observed after episodes of Cold Panniculitis that inspired Zeltiq to begin developing their CoolSculpting treatment system,” says Dr. Hanson. CoolSculpting is a non-invasive procedure proven to reduce fat by 20-30% with each treatment.

The CoolSculpting Technique

The CoolSculpting technique utilizes freezing temperatures to strategically target unwanted areas of fat. “It’s actually pretty miraculous that with a one hour treatment we are able to remove specific areas of fat in the body with no downtime,” says Dr. Mamelak. A specialized hand piece is placed on the target area and held in place for one hour. After an initial cold sensation lasting less than 5 minutes, the procedure is comfortable and well-tolerated. There is no need for pain medication or sedation. The treatment causes a temporary hardness of the skin in the targeted area, which is massaged back to normal within 2 minutes after the treatment session is finished. Results are seen in as little as 6-8 weeks after treatment. There is no downtime, hospital stays or pressure garments required after Coolsculpting. Patients can literally return to their regular activities immediately after the treatment is complete. If you have questions about CoolSculpting or other cosmetic procedures, you might want to check out sites like to learn more.

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