Medical device company ZELTIQ has developed a safe procedure that could potentially say goodbye to “love handles." Developed at the Wellman Center of Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Coolsculpting is a method that freezes unwanted fat cells and removes them permanently without invasive surgery. After a series of clinical trials and evidence from ultrasound and histological results, Coolsculpting has recently been approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is targeted for those who are not considered to be clinically overweight but may carry pockets of unwanted fat in areas of their body which have not responded to diet or exercise.

The procedure involves placing a specifically designed cooling applicator over the area desired for fat reduction, which then extracts energy from the underlying fat cells (i.e: cools them) without damaging skin or surrounding tissue. The procedure is designed to deliver controlled and precise cooling conditions to the targeted area, causing the cooled fat cells begin a process called apoptosis (natural cell death), reduce in size, and then be naturally removed through the body’s normal metabolic processes.

The procedure lasts between one to two hours and on average will reduce fat cells by 20 percent. There is no required recovery time after the procedure, so patients can resume normal activities immediately and should start to see results after three weeks.

Coolsculpting procedures are now available through a network of medical centers throughout the United States.