Cellulite is a form of subcutaneous fat found in around 90 per cent of women and 10 per cent of men worldwide, although it is most common in industrialised nations. Connective tissue joins around the subcutaneous fat in intervals, creating a dimpled, bumpy or pitted appearance and texture on the surface of the skin. It is more common in women due to physiological differences, including differing connective tissue make-up and hormone balance. Cellulite is grouped into levels based on body location and severity, with each requiring different approaches to treatment. For most, the appearance of ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ cellulite can be somewhat remedied through fat loss and exercise; however, varying traces may remain for many, necessitating cosmetic treatment.
There are a number of popular treatments available on the market that aim to remove or neutralise the appearance of cellulite. These can vary greatly in price and time cost, often involving combinations of invasive, non-invasive and supplementary procedures for optimised results. Depending on the chosen treatment(s) and the location of the cellulite being treated, there may be some recovery time involved due to temporary skin damage or scarring. Each treatment has its own advantages and disadvantages in this regard, and highlighted below are some of the features and expected side effects of the most popular treatments.
Cellulaze and laser cellulite procedures
This laser treatment, which is still relatively new, is one of the most popular cellulite procedures in North America. Based on laser liposuction, a tiny laser is inserted under a patient’s skin, where it begins to melt the lumpen pockets of fat and soften the bonds of the connective tissues to smooth the appearance of the area. Side effects can include localised minor burns, bruising, swelling and seroma. While these effects are mostly short-lived and minor, it is important for patients to observe and adhere to any instructions relating to after-care or maintenance, as even these very temporary problems can lead to scarring if not looked after.
ZWave and radial shock wave procedures
A newer cellulite treatment, this involves applying high-energy shockwaves to the required areas This causes the gas bubbles around fat areas to eventually collapse and can lead to a reduction in the appearance of areas with mild to moderate cellulite. The procedure has a short recovery time, with side effects including localised tenderness and minor bruising. As above, these should still be treated accordingly to minimise the chances of skin damage and scarring.
Vanquish and RF wave procedures
This approach is one of the most popular non-invasive major treatments. Using directed radio frequency waves, it destroys fat cells while applying heat to the area. This is commonly used in conjunction with radial shock wave treatment for better reduction in cellulite appearance and maximum possible fat removal. RF procedures have few side effects apart from minor tenderness in the treated area; again, these should be cared for accordingly to ensure the skin does not become significantly damaged.