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The dimpled, irregular skin appearance known as "cellulite" can prove frustrating for patients who work hard to achieve a slim, smooth body. Thanks to recent technological breakthroughs, cosmetic surgeons can now offer long-term reduction in cellulite through minimally invasive treatments.Procedure Videos
Cellulite forms when fibrous bands called “septae,” which connect the skin to the underlying muscle fascia, tighten irregularly, pulling down on the skin, and/or begin to break down, allowing the normal layer of fat beneath the skin to push upward. This results in the puckering or “cottage cheese” appearance.
An estimated 85 to 90% of adult women have cellulite, typically on the abdomen, buttocks and thighs. The aging process can worsen the appearance of cellulite, as skin loses elasticity and is less able to resist irregular tension created by the fibrous bands. While overweight individuals tend to have more pronounced cellulite, it is common even in very lean women, and losing weight rarely gets rid of cellulite altogether. | For more information, or to see if we could help you, please contact us at (919) 578-8593.
Laser treatments (Cellulaze®)
Laser cellulite reduction (the FDA cleared treatment is called Cellulaze) uses a tiny laser probe, which is inserted just beneath the skin through a small incision. This laser heats the tissues beneath the skin’s surface, where it works to:
Non-laser energy treatments
Many treatments use energy from radiofrequency (RF), ultrasound, infrared light, or radial pulses to heat skin, stimulate collagen production and reduce cellulite. Depending on the specific treatment, energy-based cellulite reduction may also help achieve mild fat reduction and/or relax the fibrous septae to achieve a smoother, more even skin texture. Current FDA cleared treatments include:
Specialized massage techniques have been used for years as a way to address cellulite. These typically use vacuum suction or a roller to “knead” the skin and subcutaneous fat. While some patients report positive effects, improvements are temporary and any smoothing effect likely results from mild inflammation in the treatment area.
Most patients who are bothered by cellulite have tried cream or lotion that promises to improve cellulite. While certain medical grade products can help gradually improve collagen production for firmer skin, even high-quality products are rarely effective on cellulite, which requires more extensive remodeling of fat, connective tissue and collagen than a cream can provide. Cellulite creams are rarely a worthwhile investment.
Cellulite is much more common in women than in men. In fact, most women develop some cellulite after puberty. This is because women’s fat is typically distributed in the thighs, hips and buttocks — common areas for cellulite. Cellulite is also more common with aging, when the skin loses elasticity.
Weight gain can make cellulite more noticeable, but some lean people have cellulite, as well. It tends to run in families, so genetics might play the biggest role in whether you develop cellulite. An inactive lifestyle also can increase your chances of having cellulite, as can pregnancy.
Various wounding (ablative) laser treatments are available to treat cellulite. In one method, a thin fiber is slipped under the skin to deliver laser heat that destroys the fibrous bands binding fat. This approach has shown to reduce the appearance of cellulite for six months to a year. Further study is needed.
There’s also a device that uses heat (radiofrequency) for nonablative treatment that improves how the skin looks. You’ll likely need several sessions before you notice an improvement in the appearance of your skin. Nonablative treatments typically need to be repeated more often than do ablative treatments.
With cryolipolysis (CoolSculpting), fat below the skin is reduced with a device that uses vacuum suction to raise tissue into contact with cooling plates. You’ll need multiple treatments. Results appear gradually over two to three months.
With this technique, a technician applies gel to the affected skin and runs a small, hand-held device (transducer) over the area. The transducer sends sound waves into your body, breaking up cellulite. You’ll likely need several sessions before you notice an improvement in the appearance of your skin.
Preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For cellulite, some basic questions to ask your doctor include: