(WUSA) -- A trim and toned physique is something many of us strive for, especially as spring turns to summer.
Having stubborn love handles or other pockets of fat can be discouraging as you diet and exercise. Dermatologists are testing a new way to shrink those pockets, and one of those ways involves cooling the fat.
Karen Vuong of Alexandria, Virginia is trying to lose inches from her waist, and recent birth of daughter Haley is motivating her decision to shed pounds. On motherhood, Karen says it's "Really wonderful. It's a blessing, but it's hectic."
Karen recently underwent a cesarean section to bring her daughter into the world, but she is not pleased with what's left behind.
"I didn't go back to the original size I was," Karen says, "And it just doesn't feel right. My other cousin, she had the C-section and went back to her normal weight, her normal size and back to her jeans, but I wasn't able to go back."
Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi with the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery recommended a new non-invasive technique called Cryolipolysis.
The device used, Zeltiq, is FDA-approved as a way to cool the skin during laser and other thermal treatments. But dermatologists like Dr. Tanzi say its new off-label use is a medical breakthrough.
Tanzi said, "Zeltiq is entirely new, because it uses advanced cooling to target fat cells rather than heat. Although heat can be effective, it can also damage surrounding tissue whereas cold dosen't do that."
Zeltiq chills the fat to just above freezing for prolonged periods of time, signaling the body to get rid of them.
"The body just absorbs those fat cells naturally over two to four months," Tanzi says, "Basically like it would absorb a cheeseburger, and eliminates them from the body.
"Her (Karen's) full treatment will probably be two or three applications, so two to three hours," Tanzi said.
But make no mistake, this is not for weight loss or a huge reduction of fat. Cryolipolysis is best for those "love handles" or stubborn pockets of fat which are resistant to diet or exercise.
"It's best for people who are relatively fit," Tanzi said.
Two months later, WUSA checked out what the procedure did for Karen.
"It's been about two months now," Tanzi said, "And we can see a flattening of the overall buldge on her stomach."
Karen said, "Most of my co-workers noticed that it went down, and my clothes I'm going back to, my other clothes that I been wearing. They said 'Hold on, your stomach got smaller.' I was like, 'Yeah!'"
Dr. Tanzi considers the procedure to be an average result from one session with a 20 to 25 percent reduction. Again, using Zeltiq for cooling fat cells is considered off-label use. FDA aproval for it is still pending.