London: Scientists have developed a device that freezes body flab to remove love handles and beer bellies.
Known as CoolSculpting device, it is being promoted as a painless alternative to liposuction, features a gel patch that clamps on to flabby parts and freezes fat cells.
The sub-zero temperatures kills the fat cells, which are re-absorbed and flushed away by the body over the next few months, leaving the patient trimmer.
It was designed by scientists at Zeltiq in California. They realised that although fat freezes at a lower temperature than other types of tissue, skin and muscles can survive sub-zero temperatures without suffering lasting damage.
Last week, the treatment was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, reports the Daily Mail.
The first 80,000 pounds `CoolSculpting` device has arrived in Britain and is already being offered to patients at a London clinic.
Liposuction - where fat is sucked from the body - is big business for cosmetic surgeons and has overtaken breast enlargement as the most popular type of plastic surgery.
The new treatment costs around GB P 800 - about a quarter of the price of liposuction - and takes between one and three hours. The treatment, which is non-invasive, can be carried out in a patient`s lunch break.
Mitchell Levinson, Zeltiq`s founder, said patients have been monitored for three years without the fat returning.
A single treatment is usually enough for each love handle. A larger beer belly or a set of flaps of fat under the arms may need two treatments.
The device`s creators say it is designed for those in need of a little fat removal and is not suitable for treating obesity.
A spokesman for the company said patients feel a sensation of intense cold, but this "soon dissipates".
Debbie Scott, 60, an American living in London who went to Paris to have the treatment, said: "It`s uncomfortable but not painful. For the next couple of days you touch the area and it`s numb but after a month the bulge had shrunk."