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Treating cellulite with cosmetic surgery
Review of procedures and likely results


Photo of a woman's leg showing the damage from celluliteMarianne in Seattle is in her late 40s and may have tried almost everything to treat her cellulite. "How naive I was to believe the BS from these cream and lotion makers. I might have looked good on certain occasions but my cellulite is still thriving. Now I hear that plastic surgery may have the answer for cellulite. What do you think? she asks.

Cellulite is a problem that we all would like to get rid of but at this time there is no ideal solution for it despite what some companies might like you to believe. Although a few treatments do provide temporary improvement in the appearance of cellulite, so far there is no proven, permanent “cure” for cellulite. But by following simple skincare and diet/exercise routine, a woman can somewhat "manage" her cellulite. And like you increasingly women are turning to cosmetic surgeons to do something about cellulite. 

Dr. Sam Speron, body contouring expert and consumer advocate, says, “Cellulite is caused by bands of fibrous tissue that connect the muscle to the skin.” . “If these bands are tight and the fat between the muscle and the skin is compressed, there will be dimpling. Almost all women and even some men have cellulite.  Cellulite stems from genetic predisposition, hormonal changes and weight gain.  Patients need to understand that cellulite can be improved, but not removed!”

So what can plastic surgery do for cellulite?

Liposuction: It does not reduce cellulite by itself. Some plastic surgeons, however, have reported performing a technique of cellulite lysing (breaking up) using a liposuction cannula (hollow tube powered by gas or electricity) that features a smooth, round-tipped tunneling rod inserted in a hollow casing with a sharp, V-pronged cutting edge. The area that is released can then be injected with fat to fill the space. For most women, liposuction technique improves the 
appearance of cellulite.
Fat Injections: Autologous fat that is obtained from donor sites in the abdomen and flank areas of your body may fill in depressions. Again, this is more successful if a release is performed at the same time. However, the results of fat injections may not be permanent. But since no foreign material is injected, the results look more natural.

Endermologie: This mechanical roller massage therapy has been proposed as a treatment for cellulite and as complement to liposuction. Treatments may produce temporary improvement in the appearance of cellulite, but long-term results of this non-invasive therapy are yet to be established, either clinically or scientifically. Endermologie in and of itself has not been found to be beneficial for producing long -term and lasting clinical results though Bruce Shack at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine studied the effects of endermologie and found that it does break up cellulite. There is, however, one important point to note from this research. The quality of results varies by surgeon. This means that when you are going to spend over a thousand dollars on the procedure, you might want to pick the right person (it can be a doctor, chiropractor, or a massage therapist) to do it.

Mesotherapy: In this procedure, small amounts of homeopathic medicine are injected immediately beneath the surface of the skin to break down the cellulite and to improve circulation and lymphatic and venous drainage. Like Endermologie, there are no scientific studies to back up claims that mesotherapy improves the appearance of cellulite. Mesotherapy is also not yet approved by the FDA.

Lower Body Lift: This procedure evolved from what used to be called the “Cellulite Lift.” The technique was designed to replace the thigh/buttock lift, a procedure that works well for some patients but may produce scars that are visible when wearing a bathing suit. The lower body lift requires an incision around the entire circumference of the abdominal and buttock area, so that excess skin can be removed and the entire flank, thigh and buttocks areas can be lifted.

The incision can usually be placed discreetly within standard or high-cut bikini lines. The result of the procedure is tightening of the back, flank and abdominal tissues, and reduction in the appearance of cellulite in the lifted areas. The lower body lift is a major surgical procedure that requires a lengthy recovery and leaves an extensive, though well-positioned, scar. For this reason, it requires specially careful patient selection and, as with all cosmetic surgery, the patient's full informed consent.

Related articles: Osmotics lipoduction for cellulite   Self tanners can hide cellulite    Eliminating cellulite from butt

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