WHAT IS CARBOXYTHERAPY?
Carboxytherapy refers to the cutaneous and subcutaneous administration of carbon dioxide gas [CO2] for medical therapeutic purposes. It was originally used in 1932 at the Royal Spas of France for the management of patients with peripheral arterial disease, where bathing in carbon rich pools was found to improve wound healing. In the 1950s it was more broadly used throughout the European medical community. Today, numerous studies demonstrate the ability of carboxytherapy to improve the skin’s elasticity, improve microcirculation, encourage collagen repair, destroy localised fat deposits, and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
HOW DOES CARBOXYTHERAPY WORK?
Carbon dioxide is a by-product that is always and naturally present in our bodies. It is the very same gas that is placed into carbonated drinks to produce their characteristic ‘fizz’. We breathe oxygen into our lungs that gets picked up and transported to all the tissues in the body via the red blood cells. All these tissues (irrespective if it be the heart, lungs or muscles) use the oxygen and generate carbon dioxide as a waste product. Any area that is being overworked produces more carbon dioxide. The extra carbon dioxide acts as a messenger that signals poor circulation which in turn signals to the red blood cells to release more oxygen in this area and remove the excess carbon dioxide. Carboxytherapy uses this mechanism to ‘trick’ the body into delivering more oxygen into the treatment area and improve the circulation.
WHAT CAN CARBOXYTHERAPY BE USED FOR?
With its ability to deliver oxygen and improve circulation, carboxytherapy is ideally used to treat conditions known to be plagued by poor circulation. This includes cellulite, dark circles under the eyes, stretch marks as well as a diverse range of medical conditions such as poor circulation ulcers, lymphoedema, neuropathies and many more. When infused into fatty tissue it has the ability to provide a lipolytic effect that is useful in treating small areas of localised fat collections.
The most common treatment indications in aesthetic use include: cellulite, stretch marks, fine wrinkles, loose and flabby skin, acne and surgical scars, and dark circles under the eyes.
IS CARBOXYTHERAPY SAFE?
Carbon dioxide is naturally found in our bodies. It is incredibly unlikely that the body’s inherent ability to process and eliminate carbon dioxide would be overcome by the rate of CO2 administration during carboxytherapy. In fact, for many years general surgeons have safely infused much larger quantities of CO2 in a shorter duration of time during laparoscopic surgeries.
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF CARBOXYTHERAPY?
The carbon dioxide is delivered into the treatment area via a very fine needle which is often felt as only a minor discomfort. The use of topical numbing agents and ice can be used to minimise pain in those that are very sensitive. The sensation of the gas filling the tissues may be uncomfortable, but is often described as a ‘feeling of water moving under the skin’.
Bruising may occur when any treatment is done using a needle prick.
A warm or cooling sensation is often felt directly after the treatment for approximately 30 minutes.
Swelling of the treatment area is possible, but usually settles as the gas is absorbed within 10-15 minutes.
All of these side effects are short-lived and the vast majority of patients immediately return to their daily duties.
WHAT DOES THE TYPICAL TREATMENT INVOLVE?
During the consultation your condition will be assessed by one of our Aesthetic Medical Doctors. A treatment plan will be formulated to address your specific concerns and conditions which may include carboxytherapy alone, or in combination with other aesthetic treatments. All your queries will also be addressed during the consultation and the costs involved will be conveyed prior to any treatments being performed.
Photographs of the treatment area will be taken for clinical records and a consent form will be completed.
Topical anaesthesia may be applied depending on the treatment area and your sensitivity. The treatment area is medically cleansed and the carbon dioxide is administered via a very fine needle. A soothing cream is then placed over the injection sites. The vast majority of patients are immediately able to return to the normal work routine.
HOW LONG DOES THE TREATMENT SESSION TAKE?
The time taken to perform carboxytherapy depends entirely on the specific treatment area and the number of treatment areas. Typically, the treatment sessions take 20-45 minutes to perform.
WHAT SHOULD I NOT DO AFTER CARBOXYTHERAPY?
Bathing and swimming should be avoided during the first few hours after carboxytherapy.
HOW MANY TREATMENT SESSIONS ARE REQUIRED TO ACHIEVE MY DESIRED RESULTS?
The number of sessions depends to a large extent on the degree of the condition being treated. Typical treatment courses involve 10-15 sessions held weekly apart.
WHO SHOULD NOT HAVE CARBOXYTHERAPY?
Although no detrimental effects have been observed, carboxytherapy is not recommended in pregnant or nursing women.
Patients with bleeding disorders and significant medical conditions such as cancers must inform their treating aesthetic medical doctor of their medical conditions when considering carboxytherapy.