New developments in cellulite treatment
Cellulite is a common problem seen in 80 to 85 percent of women and has been extremely resistant to a wide array of treatments. It manifests as a mattress-like or orange peel appearance that has a complex origin, including expansion of subcutaneous fat, stiffened fibrous bands (septae) and skin laxity.
Inflammation, hormones and genetic predispositions also are thought to play a role in its formation. Cellulite appears as skin dimpling mainly in the buttocks, thighs and abdominal areas. Many devices and treatments have focused on these purported structural alterations as targets for therapy, most with marginal results at best. Luckily, new devices are becoming available that are showing promising signs of permanently correcting the appearance of cellulite.
As cellulite is thought to be due to structural changes in the skin and fatty layer, diet and exercise, though helpful at times, has not been successful in significantly reducing cellulite. Topical agents such as caffeine and xanthine preparations have been studied but have not shown convincing reproducible results.
Multiple physical modalities have been used including suction and massage, laser, radiofrequency and other light and energy sources. Studies of these technologies have shown improvements in the appearance of cellulite, but multiple treatment sessions are usually required. Results have not proved lasting and maintenance therapy is often necessary.
One of the newest approaches to cellulite treatment is an Nd:YAG laser with a special side-firing fiber. Compared to previous treatments that have been non-invasive, this new laser is minimally invasive. The laser fiber is inserted under the skin through a tiny incision. With only one treatment, multiple studies have shown the improvement in cellulite with this laser to last for over two years. More studies will have to be done to determine if these results are truly long lasting and without the need for maintenance treatments.
Do you have cellulite you are concerned about? You can find a dermatologic surgeon near you to help you find the treatment that is right for you today.
Note: Bruce E. Katz, MD is a stockholder for Cynosure.