It sure sounds like a pop-up ad you’d see online, but scientists have created and tested a new treatment that melts away belly fat. The new technique, developed by researchers from Harvard and the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), involves injecting an icy saline solution directly into fat deposits to shrink them by half.
The new process sounds simple enough. It uses a sterile solution made up of saline, glycerol, and between 20 and 40 percent small ice particles, giving it a slushy texture. This mixture is injected directly into fat deposits, such as around the abdomen, where it crystallizes and kills the fat cells. Over the course of a few weeks following the treatment, the body will flush out the dead cells.
The team says that this process could be used to reduce fat stores in basically any part of the body, at any depth, as long as it can be accessed by a needle or catheter. Importantly, it doesn’t seem to have any adverse effects on other tissues, such as muscle.
To test the process, the researchers injected the solution into pigs and monitored the effects over eight weeks. They found that the slurry reduced fat thickness by 55 percent, compared to a control group that received injections of the same solution without the ice particles. No damage was done to skin or muscle, and no side effects were observed elsewhere in the animals’ bodies.