Plastic Surgery Blog

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What is Cellulite and How is it Treated?

Do you look at the skin on your thighs and buttocks and feel that it isn’t as smooth as it should be? Does it resemble orange peel, or just seem a little dimpled and lumpy? If you can honestly answer yes to any of these questions, you may be suffering from cellulite.

What is cellulite and who is affected by it?

Cellulite is an extremely common cosmetic problem that affects as many as 90% of females during their lifetime, although it is most common in adolescent and adult women. Age tends to play a factor in the development of cellulite, with older females more likely to suffer and to experience more extensive areas of affected skin.

Cellulite also runs in families. This means that if your mother or grandmother suffered from the condition, there is a much greater chance that you will develop it. One of the biggest misconceptions about cellulite is that it only affects women who are overweight or obese. In actual fact, it can affect women of any shape and size, including those who are slender and very physically active.

What areas of the body are affected by cellulite?

Cellulite normally occurs on the thighs and buttocks, but the hips and other parts of the body can also be affected.

What causes cellulite to develop?

Beneath our skin we have a later of fibrous connective cords. The purpose of these cords is to tether our skin to the underlying muscles. However, between these cords we have fat cells. If these fat cells multiple and get too large, they can push up against the skin, creating an uneven and lumpy surface.

Although even slim, fit women can develop cellulite, the greater the number of fat cells you have in your body, the more likely you are to see them bubbling up under the skin and causing cellulite.

Cellulite treatment

Although cellulite is extremely common, some women affected by it find that their confidence and self-esteem take a nosedive. As a result, they may find themselves covering up the affected areas, or getting changed with the lights off.

There are many different products on the market that claim to be able to reverse the effects of cellulite, from lotions and gels to exfoliating scrubs. However, most patients find that any improvements that they do see are disappointing, and the cellulite returns shortly after stopping use.

Weight loss and exercise can help to improve the appearance of cellulite and will also benefit your overall health and wellbeing. Replacing fat with muscle can also make cellulite less noticeable.

Nevertheless, while no single treatment for cellulite is entirely effective, there are some therapies which dermatologists have said are most likely to produce good and longer lasting results. These include:

Cryolipolysis. This is a non-invasive procedure that freezes and kills fat cells, so that your body can dispose of them naturally. While normally recommended for patients interested in body contouring, it has also been shown to be beneficial in improving the appearance of cellulite. However, results aren’t instant, and it can take several sessions and a number of months for you to see a difference.

Laser therapy. Also sometimes known as radiofrequency systems, this combines massage, liposuction and light therapy to:

- liquefy fat calls

- loosen puckering

- boost collagen levels encouraging fresh growth

- skin tightening

- increased blood flow to the area to promote healing

- reduced fluid retention

One of the most popular types of laser therapy is called Cellulaze. It is FDA approved and you can expect around a 75% improvement in your cellulite which will last for around a year.

Subcision. This procedure involves cutting the connective tissue that holds your fat onto the dimples in your skin, causing the puckering commonly associated with cellulite. The procedure is performed using a local anesthetic and is minimally invasive. The result from subcision can last anything up to two years.

If your cellulite is getting you down, don’t delay a moment longer. Speak to our cosmetic surgeon or therapist to discuss which cellulite-busting treatment may be right for you. Contact us today for further information.