Carbon dioxide is an odorless, colorless, sterile gas found naturally in the body. Human cells use oxygen as fuel and excrete carbon dioxide as a byproduct of metabolism. Carbon dioxide is a known vasodilator and has been used widely in France and Italy for over 50 years in a procedure called Carboxytherapy, to improve blood circulation. Carboxytherapy is the procedure of injecting carbon dioxide gas through tiny sterile, gauge30 needles to produce a therapeutic effect. From the gas tank, the carbon dioxide enters a carboxytherapy machine which filters the gas, and measures the amount and speed of delivery of the gas that exits the machine through a silicon tubing attached to a sterile gauge 30 needle at the end. With this needle, carbon dioxide gas is most commonly injected intradermally to improve the appearance of stretchmarks and cellulite. Deeper injections into the subcutaneous fat may also be performed for fat reduction.
Carboxytherapy has also been used successfully to treat Plaque Psoriasis, as well as keloid scars. Typically, one session of carboxytherapy takes 30-60minutes, and 10-20 weekly sessions are recommended to see good results. Intradermal injections produce ballooning of the skin (subcutaneous emphysema) and immediate redness (evidence of vasodilation); but these are temporary effects and disappear within a few hours after treatment. Small bruises or hematomas may also result from the injections. There are no serious side effects of Carboxytherapy and the only drawback of this procedure is pain which occurs while the gas is entering the skin, but ceases once the needle is withdrawn. Superficial intradermal injections of carbon dioxide gas tend to be more painful than deeper subcutaneous injections. Recently, Dr. Guillermo Blugerman, plastic surgeon in Argentina, has described the use of carboxytherapy for preparation of fat graft recipient sites prior to fat transfer to improve vascularity and graft uptake.