Integrated Aesthetics

YOUNG CHO, MD, PHD MELISSA CHIANG, MD

plastic surgery, dermatology & medspa

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Cell-U-Later: Real Options To Treat Cellulite

Specials & Events | June 27, 2019

A thought that passes through almost every gal’s mind when she looks at her backside in the dressing room mirror: Can anything be done about cellulite? Cellulite is the dimpled, lump cottage-cheese-like appearance to the skin that frequently occurs on the buttocks, thighs, and hips. A vast majority of women have cellulite; some are lucky and have only a mild version, but others suffer from more severe dimpling. Cellulite happens to women whether they are thick or thin, and it is progressive, meaning it worsens as we age.

Causes of Cellulite

From a “why?” standpoint, cellulite is actually quite complex, involving multiple tissue layers and hormonal facts. Cellulite occurs when fat pushes through the connective tissue of the skin. Woman are much more affected than men because women have more fat, and women’s connective tissue is arranged more vertically, allowing pockets of fat to bulge; men have more criss-cross pattern of connective tissue. In addition, as women age, falling estrogen levels contribute to larger fat cells and weaker connective tissue.

Scientists believe that there are other factors that exacerbate the condition, including smoking, wearing tight clothing and inhibits the blood flow, or living a sedimentary lifestyle. Additionally, skin laxity may further contribute to the dimpled appearance of the skin.

Treatment Options

Luckily, there are more treatment options available for cellulite. But figuring out the right treatment plan can be challenging. The reason is that there are often multiple reasons for cellulite, and the causes can actually be different, depending on the individual person as well as which body part is affected. For example, on the back of the thighs, the problem tends to be that connective tissue tethers hold the skin down. On the inner thighs, however, the biggest contributing factor is usually laxity of the overlying skin. An expert assessment is the best way to develop a treatment plan to help each individual.

To give you an idea of the breadth of options available, I will review some treatment options and how each treatment is believed to help.

Acoustic Shock Wave Therapy is a non-surgical approach that transmits acoustic waves through the skin to the deeper tissues and activates proteins that stimulate healing and improved blood flow to the treated regions. Increasing blood flow is believed to strengthen the connective tissue. Treatments is required to achieve a result.

Submission involved using a needle or small blade to break up the fibrous bands of connective tissue that causes the skin to be visibly tethered to the underlying muscle. Results can be dramatic when strong bands are released. Local anesthetic is used and the treatment may result in bruising or swelling.

BodyTite/CelluTite is an innovative approach that uses radiofrequency energy to both tighten and loosen tissue and release tethers. This results in a smoother and stronger barrier to hold the fatty tissue. The procedure does require local anesthesia and will require compression garments for two to four weeks.

Sculptra is an injectable filler that stimulates collagen formation and fills in the depressed areas. It works well in combination with subcision to release the bands that tether the skin down. There is minimal bruising potential.

If you are thinking about a treatment for cellulite, it is important to visit a physician that understands the components that contribute to cellulite and how each component is contributing to the appearance of cellulite.

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