Carboxytherapy Examined

Posted March 17, 2015

Carboxytherapy, discovered back in the 1930s, is an ideal way to get rid of unnecessary body fat and cellulite. It is also useful for those who have aging skin. This nonsurgical treatment is performed when the doctor administers carbon dioxide gas by a single injection under the skin, to improve the appearance of the skin, by breaking down fat deposits and improving local tissue metabolism. The carbon dioxide that is injected into the area of the patient’s body allows for an increase of oxygen flow. Only certain areas of the body can be treated with carboxytherapy and they include the face, arms, neck, eyelids, buttocks, legs, and stomach. Stretch marks are also treated using this method because carbon dioxide helps the formation of new collagen which thickens skin and helps improve the appearance of the stretch marks. With cellulite, the carbon dioxide gas eliminates the fat cells causing any unwanted puckering. Treatments last about 30 minutes and, in order to reach the desired results, patients may need approximately 6-12 treatments.

How to Prepare for Carboxytherapy

There is no specific preparation required prior to the procedure although the doctor may have special instructions depending on extreme allergies or medical conditions that can impact the results of the procedure.

How Carboxytherapy is performed

The specifics of the procedure vary based on the part of the body being treated but the mechanics of the procedure is essentially the same each time. A tank of carbon dioxide gas is connected to a flow-regulator with plastic tubing. The surgeon will carefully regulate how much gas flows from the tank. The gas is emitted through the flow-regulator into some sterile tubing that has a filter at the end. The filter picks up any impurities before they reach the body. The gas runs through a very small needle on the opposite side of the filter. The surgeon injects the gas beneath the skin through the needle.

The procedure is almost entirely painless but, prior to the procedure, a topical anesthesia might be applied on the injection site before inserting the needle. Despite the lack of pain, there have been reports of patients feeling a strange sensation for a brief time after the treatment.

How Carboxytherapy Works

The principle behind carboxytherapy is based on the fact that poor blood circulation is partially responsible for cellulite, stretch marks and dark under eye circles. Cells in the body release carbon dioxide as waste while red blood cells take the oxygen that is inhaled and carries it to tissues that then “pick up” carbon dioxide. Eventually, the carbon dioxide is exhaled by the lungs.

A doctor can increase blood circulation to a specific area by injecting carbon dioxide which causes red blood cells to rush to the area. When the blood cells reach the targeted location, they create an increase in circulation. This works to repair skin elasticity and, in the case of under eye circles, change pigment to a healthy glow.

Carboxytherapy works to treat the following issues:

  • Stretch Marks – The stretch marks on the body are a rupture of dermal collagen. Carboxytherapy creates new collagen which thickens the skin and improves its appearance.
  • Cellulite – Carbon dioxide gas can also be injected into fat cells which cause the cells to burst and be eliminated in the body. Cellulite is caused when subcutaneous fat protrudes through the skin. Several studies have found that carboxytherapy is both safe and effective when used to treat cellulite.
  • Under Eye Circles – Dark circles under the eyes are usually caused by poor circulation which creates vascular pooling. Injecting the gas under the eyelid reduces the amount of pooling and replaces it with a blush tone.

Side Effects of Carboxytherapy

Carboxytherapy is a relatively safe procedure with almost no side effects. Patients may have minor bruising and swelling at the injection site but these should clear up within a week. Patients are generally advised to refrain from very physical activities for about two days following the procedure. People who get the procedure for fat reduction or cellulite shouldn’t immerse themselves in water for 24 hours and this includes swimming or using a bathtub.

Carboxytherapy Cost

The cost of carboxytherapy ranges between $100 and $200 depending on the level of expertise of the doctor, the geographic location of the procedure and any fees charged by the doctor or the facility.

What to Expect after Carboxytherapy

Following a carboxytherapy procedure, patients can expect minor bruising and swelling at the injection site which will dissipate quickly. When carboxytherapy is used to treat stretch marks and scars, it is relatively painless because scar tissue doesn’t have nerves. Patients may feel an itching sensation as the stretch marks are distended during the procedure. The itchiness should resolve in about five minutes.

People who use carboxytherapy for treating cellulite and fatty deposits may feel pressure during the injection, caused by the expanding gas, which is similar to the sensation felt during a blood pressure test. Treated areas will feel warm and tingly after the treatment for up to 24 hours as the carbon dioxide gas does its job and circulation improves.


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