Tools in the quest for the perfect body continue to advance. One recent step forward is the FDA-approved Coolsculpting method of fat freezing from Zeltiq. Mostly or completely painless, quick, and relatively affordable, fat freezing can in some cases accomplish the same goals that were once addressed with invasive procedures like tummy tucks. But how do you know if you're a candidate?
CoolSculpting is a good option for both men and women, and anyone from eighteen into retirement can benefit from the treatment. Anyone with area-specific fat deposits that resist the effects of diet and exercise is a potential candidate, but it is best suited for those within 10 - 20 pounds of their ideal weight (or those less than 20% overweight). In CoolSculpting, an adhesive gel patch is placed over the desired area and then treated with cold to gradually reduce the size of the fat pocket.
The most commonly treated areas are the pooch in the belly that resists any number of crunches, the love handles or muffin top that just barely show over the top of your jeans, and the back fat that often becomes more obvious after you've lost weight. Patients usually undergo one or two treatments and within two to four months see a contouring of the desired area as the fat cells gradually die. The technique has some limitations as to where it can be used.
The device is for use on fat pockets, not cellulite. This means that firm thighs with a thin layer of fat on top might not benefit. Buttocks and the outer backs of the thighs, the "saddlebags" that many women want to change, have to be assessed on a person by person basis, depending on how moveable the area is and whether it can fit in the hand piece of the tool. Zeltiq intends to release more area-specific tools in the new future, so for some people it may be best to wait until technology catches up to desire. People who have lost significant weight and want to reduce their loose skin might not see the results they want from CoolSculpting.
Additionally, those with aging skin might see reduced benefits in some areas, as aging skin loses its elasticity. Though the fat will still decrease in the area, the skin might not tighten as wished. Consult with your physician about whether CoolSculpting can help you achieve your goals.