Doctors' offices are full of brochures listing new nonsurgical procedures that promise to tighten skin, eliminate redness or brown spots and get rid of fat. Though the machines have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the clearances don't encompass all of the cosmetic procedures that are popping up in doctors' offices; physicians can use approved products for off-label procedures. What follows is a sampling of some of those devices and cosmetic procedures that are associated with them.


What it is: A device that contains a freezing unit that is used to freeze and kill fat cells without damage to the skin or internal organs. The procedure is known as CoolSculpting.

Who makes it: Zeltiq, in Pleasanton, Calif.

FDA-approved: 2010

Length of treatment: One hour

Downtime: None

Cost: $700 to $1,500 per treatment


What it is: A device that uses radio frequency waves to stimulate and strengthen the skin's collagen. The goal of the procedure is to tighten skin, shape body contours and smooth wrinkles.

Who makes it: BTL Aesthetics, in Prague, Czech Republic

FDA-approved: 2009

Length of treatment: About 20 minutes

Downtime: None, though redness and swelling may last a few hours after treatment

Cost: $400 to $600 per treatment


What it is: A laser used to target the red in blood vessels, heating them to the point of collapse and disappearance

Who makes it: Cutera, in Brisbane, Calif.

FDA-approved: 2010