How is a cellulite treatment performed?
You will typically get a cellulite treatment in a physician's office. There are several techniques for removing cellulite. Below outlines the general steps for a cellulite treatment; however, these steps may vary depending on the cellulite treatment technique you and your aesthetic plastic surgeon choose.
- Your surgeon will clean your skin using a sterile technique to prevent postoperative infections.
- Your surgeon will anesthetize your skin with a tumescent fluid to help minimize bruising and comfort during the procedure.
- Then, your surgeon makes a small incision approximately 2 mm in size in your skin and inserts the surgical probe.
- The surgeon advances the probe to the levels where the active tissue (fibrous septa) are tethering the skin (causing the cellulite) and applies the laser energy. This technique releases the septa while also tightening the skin. There is also a component where heat energy simultaneously destroys fat cells (fat lipolysis).
What are my cellulite treatment options?
There are several cellulite treatment options available. Your aesthetic plastic surgeon will select an option based on your degree of cellulite, your desired outcome, and what you're willing to commit in terms of resources, time, and money. Below are the brand names for the different cellulite treatment options.
Cellulaze (by Cynosure, Inc.)
Cellulaze is a minimally invasive procedure that uses an Nd:YAG 1440 nm pulsed laser. Your surgeon marks the cellulite on your skin, makes small incisions, and inserts the laser cannula (tube) under the skin in the areas of concern. Your surgeon will inject a local anesthetic into the treatment areas before making the incisions. The laser heats up and follows a three-step process to 1) melts excess fat 2) releases fibers that connect the dermis to the underlying fascia (fibrous connective tissue) that pull down on the skin and create the dimpling effect and 3) stimulates collagen production to tighten and thicken the dermis, increasing skin elasticity. After the laser procedure, your surgeon will squeeze the treatment area to expel the liquefied fat cells.
VelaShape by Syneron, Inc.
VelaShape treats cellulite on the thigh, buttocks, love handles and abdominal areas with a vacuum, mechanical massage, radiofrequency and infrared light. This treatment can also provide a circumferential reduction on the thighs. Your surgeon places the applicator directly on the treatment area to smooth the skin's surface and safely and efficiently deliver heat energy. The treatments are non-invasive and do not require any anesthesia. This device is safe for all skin types. Most patients need four to six weekly treatments, but you will likely need additional sessions over the following one to three months.
VASER Shape by Solta Medical, Inc.
VASER Shape uses ultrasound high-frequency sound waves to deliver heat below the surface of the skin to temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite and treat unwanted fatty tissue in the abdomen, back, arms, love handles, hips, buttocks, and thighs. Your surgeon moves the device over the treatment area to warm connective tissue and redistribute fat. Then zonal lymphatic massage stimulates the body's lymphatic system by improving local blood circulation to drain the unwanted fat that has been treated by the ultrasound technology. The treatments are non-invasive and do not require any anesthesia. Most patients need three to five sessions to produce noticeable results.
Venus Freeze by Venus Concept
Venus Freeze uses multipolar radio frequency and magnetic pulsed fields to generate heat below the skin's surface. This process reduces wrinkles and cellulite and tightens skin. This treatment can also provide a circumferential reduction on the thighs. The device can be used on both the face and the body and for all skin types. Your surgeon applies treatment gel to the treatment area, which helps the device glide smoothly over the skin. The surgeon then moves the applicator in gentle circular and sweeping motions over the treatment area. You will feel a hot-stone massage sensation in the treated area. Most patients need eight to ten weekly sessions to produce visible results in the body, but for your face and neck, you may only need six to eight sessions.
Cellfina by Merz
This technique utilizes sub-icisions just underneath the skin layer and vacuum-assisted tethering to allow for fibrous septum release. Your surgeon will inject a local anesthetic into the areas being treated before making the incisions then sweeps a needle underneath the skin while it is being immobilized from the suction device. While this technique is most optimal for the buttock region, it can be applied to the thigh region. Early results have been encouraging; however, long term results are still pending.
Topical Skin Creams
Retinols can improve dermal thickness and minimize noticeable skin undulation. Concentrations of 0.3% have the maximum effect. Alastin released a tri-hex technology product to improve dermal thickness and improve tissue hydration. Early results suggest this may also improve skin tone and elasticity. Overall, tissue hydration is essential and can dramatically improve cellulite appearance. While this does not address the underlying cause, it may make the condition appear less noticeable.