Cellulite is a very common, harmless skin condition that causes lumpy, dimpled flesh on the thighs, hips, buttocks and abdomen. The condition is most prevalent in women.
Many people try, with variable success, to improve the appearance of their skin through weight loss, exercise, massage and creams marketed as a solution to cellulite. Medically proven treatment options are available as well, though results aren’t immediate or long lasting.
Cosmetic surgeons use a variety of treatments to help patients reduce cellulite. While none are permanent, many can achieve results that last a year or longer.
Commonly used treatment types and brand name applications — availability of these or any other treatment will vary depending on what cosmetic surgeons offer.
Laser treatments – 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;
- Releases some of the fibrous septae
- Reduce thickness of the subcutaneous fat layer
- Stimulates collagen production
- Improve skin texture and elasticity
Although it involves tiny incisions, laser cellulite reduction is considered a minimally invasive and can be safely performed by a qualified provider in-office, using local anesthesia. Downtime is typically limited to 1 to 2 days. Cellulaze is indicated to last about one year, and patients typically achieve their destined result after one treatment.
Radiofrequency – there’s also a device that uses heat (radiofrequency) for non ablative treatment that improves how the skin looks. Patients will likely need several sessions before they notice an improvement in the appearance of the skin. Non ablative treatments typically need to be repeated more often than do ablative treatment
- Cryolipolysis – with cryolipolysis (coolsculpting), fat below the skin is reduced with a device that uses vacuum suction to raise tissue into contact with cooling plates. Multiple sessions are needed. Results appear gradually over two to three months
- Acoustic wave therapy – 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 the body, breaking up cellulite. Several sessions are also needed before improvement in the appearance of the skin can be noticed.
- Surgery – the doctor may offer one of various procedures that use needles, blades or other special tools to separate the fibrous bands under the skin (subcision) in an effort to smooth the skin. One method also uses fat grafting to improve skin appearance. Results from these techniques may last two to three years.
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