Treatments That Actually Work for Cellulite in 2019
Oh those dreaded lumps! Between 80-90% of women experience it to some degree in their lifetime. What am I referring to? CELLULITE! If you are the lucky recipient of two X chromosomes you know that you are more likely to have cellulite compared to your male counterparts since the structure of fat is different between men and women. Although men can have cellulite, it is very rare. The exact cause of cellulite is multi-factorial and is an interaction between the skin and connective tissue beneath the skin.
There is a well-defined grading scale for cellulite going from 1-4.
If you Google treatments for cellulite it can be overwhelming. For years you would find endless creams, lotions, and potions and well as knock off gizmos and gadgets. I like to tell my patients that when there are multitudes of options out there it usually means that no one treatment is the end all be all. With that being said, technology has come a long way in the last 5-10 years. Below is a list of the more common technologies with proven results.
Cellulaze uses a laser fiber that is inserted underneath the skin and releases heat energy to melt fat and tighten fibrous septa underneath the skin. The melted fat then must be extracted. This treatment must be done by a physician. Since the cannula is inserted underneath the skin, there is risk of significant bruising and swelling.
The same is true for BodyTite. BodyTite is a device that is often used in conjunction with liposuction. This is a great compliment to tighten the skin and uses radiofrequency energy to treat both on top of and below the skin. The temperature is closely monitored, and the device stops delivering energy automatically when a certain temperature is reached minimizing risk of burns. BodyTite is also associated with some downtime with bruising and swelling. A compression garment is usually recommended to minimize swelling.
Cellfina is another minimally invasive cellulite treatment but does not involve heat energy, rather it is a needle placed under the skin similar to subcision. Mechanical vibrations then help to break up the fibers tethering the skin down. You may need multiple treatments to achieve the results you want, and you may have bruising given that a needle is passed under the skin.
Although these treatments may be effective, the downtime associated with them may not be for everyone.
Velashape uses vacuum assisted radiofrequency technology to loosen connective tissue and tighten the skin. I have seen both good and bad reviews with this treatment. The main downside is that the vacuum is powerful and can cause significant bruising and soreness. Since the vacuum makes the handpiece difficult to move around there is also a greater chance it will heat up too quickly and burn the skin.
BodyFx is sometimes marketed as a cellulite reduction as well as a fat reduction treatment. It also uses radiofrequency and vacuum technology. The difference between BodyFx and Velashape is in the details. BodyFx can be set to a certain temperature and automatically cuts off if that threshold is reached. Some of my patients have also reported significant pain associated with BodyFx because of the vacuum. A series of 8 treatments is recommended, and you may not see results for up to 6 months after the final treatment. BodyFx may tighten the skin some, but I would suspect that pairing it with Forma Plus would give better results with cellulite reduction.
Emtone is the most recent device introduced by BTL Aesthetics this year specifically targeting all the components that cause cellulite. It uses radiofrequency energy and targeted pressure energy to reduce fat under the skin, loosen collagen fibers that tether the skin down, and tighten the surface of the skin. The targeted pulses also stimulate blood flow and release toxins built up under the surface. The main thing that I have noticed with Emtone is that you see results even after the very first treatment. There is literally no downtime, no pain, and no bruising. There is no vacuum to cause bruising, and it is quick and easy. The device heats the skin a lot more quickly, so the treatment is only 15 min in each area or less. Usually only 4 treatments are needed depending on the severity of the cellulite.
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