Liposuction vs. Cellulite: Are We There Yet?


Cellulite is exceedingly frustrating. There's no rhyme or reason to it, in that seems to appear regardless of body type of activity level. Affecting predominantly women, cellulite is characterized by unsightly dimples on the thighs and buttocks which, in severe cases, are visible through certain clothing. Short skirts and swimsuits are often out of the question for women who are very self-conscious of their cellulite.


Treating cellulite is a lucrative business. Each year, people spend millions of dollars on creams, lotions, massages, wraps, and even clinical procedures to reduce the appearance of cellulite or "cure" it altogether.


But notably absent from the list of cellulite treatments is liposuction. Most blame cellulite on excess fat, but losing that fat doesn't get rid of the problem. Indeed, many plastic surgeons, such as Dr. Craig Colville in Toledo, Ohio, offer both liposuction and cellulite treatments in their practices in order to give patients the precise results they want.


So if liposuction doesn't effectively treat cellulite, what does?


A Closer Look at the Cause

In order to understand how to treat cellulite, it's important to first understand what causes it. Cellulite dimples appear when vertical bands of connective tissue form beneath the skin, pulling skin down. If you imagine the back of a tufted couch, for instance, these bands would be the buttons pulling the fabric back to the base.


Excess fat can make cellulite look worse — but it's not the real cause. That's why liposuction on the thighs and buttocks can only marginally improve cellulite. Thin skin on the thighs and buttocks can also exacerbate the issue, making cellulite more visible. This symptom is especially problematic for older women, as their skin tends to be less elastic.


There's some indication that ultrasound- and laser-assisted liposuction can reduce cellulite because they tighten skin as they remove fat. But again, these alone aren't adequate treatments for cellulite.


2 Prevailing Treatment Options

Happily, clinical cellulite treatments do exist, and they're typically less invasive than liposuction. The 2 most popular options are Cellulaze™ and Cellfina™, which take 2 very different approaches to achieving the same goal.


Cellulaze is a laser device that accesses fat and the structures of cellulite through extremely small incisions. The laser energy both shrinks fat deposits caught between the connective bands and destroys the bands themselves, adding elasticity to skin in the process. For best results, Cellulaze requires only a single treatment and just a day or 2 of downtime.


Cellfina also uses small incisions, but it works a bit differently. It uses an extremely small micro-blade to cut through the bands of cellulite, creating results that develop fairly quickly and can last for years.


Both of these options can treat cellulite on their own, but their results can be even further enhanced with the addition of selective liposuction to carefully sculpt the thighs or buttocks even further.


This type of personalized care is an exciting development in the world of plastic surgery, and one that can drastically improve patient satisfaction, even years after the initial procedure.