Locate providers:   

Freeze Fat Away with Zeltiq

The latest option for patients looking to reduce a spot of fat doesn't require any surgery or needles. People everywhere are freezing their fat with Zeltiq.

Spot fat reduction is a concern for many women and men. Surgery is also a concern however, and many will trade the more dramatic results of cosmetic surgery for a non-surgical liposuction alternative with more slight results. CoolSculpting with Zeltiq doesn't require any cutting, any recovery, or any pain. All it needs is an hour and some patience.

Zeltiq gained FDA approval earlier this year and is quickly gaining in popularity. The devices uses targeted cold therapy to affect the fat. Dr. Rox Anderson, President of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS), did some of the initial work with the Zeltiq device. He describes how the phenomenon of fat's reaction to cold was serendipitously discovered. "There's a very rare condition where newborn children who are accidentally exposed to cold will suffer injury, and what's interesting is only the fat will die and regress. The kids are fine, but you end up with skinny kids in the area that's been contacted with cold and we got very curious, once I started thinking about fat, well what is that, how does it work? And is it only in babies or can you make it work in adults? It turns out that we understand the process now."

zeltiq before and after
Images Courtesy of Dr. Christopher Zachary


Dr. Anderson says the cold causes the fat cells to crystallize and eventually die. Eventually, that fat is flushed out of the body naturally. Dr. Lori Brightman, Board Certified Dermatologist of the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York says, "You're seeing this localized spot of fat reduced over time because it's your body's natural response to the inflammation that's created, so you'll see a slow resolution of that pocket of fat."
Dr Lori Brightman Zeltiq before and after
4 Months Post Treatment, 2 Applications per Flank


Results aren't apparent right away and may take as many as four months to appear. "This is a good treatment for love handles, back fat or a little lower poochey belly." says Dr. Brightman. She says that it's important to note that the results aren't as dramatic as with a surgical procedure, and it's not meant for treating large areas. The manufacturer is working on the development of a new larger hand piece that should be able to treat larger pockets of fat. Currently, most patients need to undergo two treatments for the stomach due to the small hand piece.

Each treatment session lasts for one hour. There is no numbing needed and patients can return back to work and normal activities right away. The risk is very low and typically confined to a little bruising that usually clears up within a couple of weeks.