American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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Plastic surgery treatments to eliminate cellulite


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Though the summer season always promises to lighten and relax moods for many, it can be a time of dread. The prospect of having to wear swimwear once again that reveals stubborn and dimpled cellulite can be daunting.

Cellulite is a lumpy, uneven dimpling of the skin on various parts of the body around pockets of fat, including the buttocks, thighs and hips, that is often more common in women than in men. In fact, between 80 and 90 percent of women may experience cellulite at some point in their lives. That's because women have different muscles, fat and connective distribution from men.

But what causes it? Is it harmful? What are the treatment options available?

Although cellulite is not harmful, it can leave you feeling self-conscious about your appearance. It's caused by a build-up of fat below the skin. Additionally, it forms when fibrous bands tighten irregularly and pull down the skin to allow the normal layer of fat under the skin to push upward, leaving a puckering appearance.

The older you get, the more visible the cellulite becomes because the skin becomes less elastic and thinner, making it easy for the fat build-up to push upward. Even so, various factors determine how visible the cellulite you have is. That includes:

  • Hormones
  • Diet
  • Pregnancy
  • Inactivity
  • Genes
  • Toxins build-up
  • Weight gain
  • Lifestyle
  • Age
  • Body fat percentage

Cellulite treatments that can help

Although you can use various over-the-counter treatments like cellulite creams to help you reduce the visibility of cellulite, these lack long-lasting effects and may not always produce the results you want. If you are looking for a way to get rid of cellulite completely, there are proven medical procedures that can help. Your doctor can best decide which treatment method is best for you.

Here are three cellulite treatments available:

Injectable treatments

Injectable treatments are making headway in the war on cellulite. The first FDA-approved injectable treatment for cellulite, QWO, is a safe and effective method of treating cellulite in the buttocks. This treatment is simple, noninvasive and straightforward.

This treatment involves the use of enzymes that can break down the collagen bands causing the puckered appearance of the skin. It helps to reduce cellulite and stimulate the production of more flexible fibrous bands. It also helps in redistributing fat cells underneath the skin and preventing a build-up.

Depending on the degree of cellulite you have, your treatment plan can vary. Your plastic surgeon can help determine the best plan for you, but generally, each treatment visit may include two treatment areas. Each treatment is often three weeks apart, after which a patient can expect to see results. This treatment type has some mild side effects like bruising, but otherwise, you will need no downtime.

Laser treatments

Laser treatments have also been recruited against cellulite. FDA-approved cellulite treatments involve the insertion of a tiny laser probe underneath the skin through a tiny incision in the dimpled skin area. The laser works by heating the treatment area to stimulate collagen production, improve elasticity, release fibrous septae, reduce the thickness of the fat layer and improve the over-skin texture.

Additionally, this type of treatment also reduces fat and has increased popularity by 19 percent according to a recent survey. These treatments have a downtime of at least two days and results can last at least a year.

Non-laser energy treatments

Finally, energy treatments are also common in the fight against cellulite and can vary depending on the energy used. Like injectable treatments, these treatments also stimulate the production of collagen to reduce cellulite.

FDA-approved energy treatments available include the use of radio pulse therapy, pulsed electromagnetic field, infrared light and radiofrequency. These treatments have temporary results, and you may need to undergo the procedures every few months to maintain them.

Seeking cellulite treatment

Finally treating that stubborn cellulite is as safe and easy as ever, and enlisting the help of a qualified board-certified plastic surgeon can help prospective patients choose the right cellulite treatment method for them. Achieving your aesthetic and personal goals, as well as boosting your confidence levels, could be a few simple treatments away.


The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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