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Don J. Fontana, MD, PA
Cellulite Is There a Treatment?
Don Fontana, MD

Cellulite Is There a Treatment?

Of the many challenges of cosmetic surgery, none has proved to be more perplexing than the treatment of the condition termed “cellulite”. It is a condition that is seen in 90% of young, middle aged and older women of all races and nationalities. Cellulite is most common among woman who may be slightly overweight, but is seen regularly in very fit, slender, athletic young women as well. Millions of dollars are spent on creams, lotions, roller devices, vibrating and vacuum machines all of which claim to treat and decrease the presence of cellulite.
In order to understand what cellulite is, it is important to understand anatomy. Below your skin is a layer of fat. The fat layer varies in thickness in different parts of the body. Beneath the fat layer is your muscle. There are fine fibrous bands that pass through the fat layer connecting the skin to the underlying muscle. The purported purpose of these fibrous bands is to hold the skin in place in areas of movement, i.e. hip and buttock areas. It is logical to assume that as the fat layer increases in thickness, the degree of dimpling (cellulite) in your skin also worsens. This is, in fact, often the case, but not always. Conversely, losing weight and decreasing the thickness of the fat layer does not necessarily decrease cellulite.
Plastic surgeons initial approach was to treat cellulite by cutting the fibrous bands hoping that by doing this the skin dimple would be released. It did not work in the long term. Other non-surgical approaches used a roller-vacuum device which required as many as 10-20 treatments which fatigued the patient both physically and financially. Any weight gain invalidated the result and the long-term results were inconsistent. Creams, lotion, massagers, stimulators, vibrators and other attempts at quick fixes were advantageous predominantly to the manufactures of the cream, lotion, or mechanical device. Despite being largely ineffective, millions of dollars continue to be spent on these methods of treatment.
Thermage is a procedure known to many patients as the treatment of choice for Oprah Winfrey to maintain a youthful facial appearance. The mechanism is designed to selectively heat the skin thereby promoting contraction of collagen and stimulation of collagen production. The result is a tightening of the skin and textural improvement of the skin whereby loose skin of the face, abdomen, arms and legs can tighten and thereby lessen skin laxity.
The Thermage company has recently introduced a new Thermage tip called the ThermaTipCL. According to the manufacturer, it improves circulation and metabolism in the cellulite prone tissues to reduce fluid and improve the appearance of cellulite. In a study performed by the 2007 Millennium Research Study Group, nearly 90% experience some degree of cellulite.
This new technique may be an answer to treating cellulite with a non-surgical, no down-time procedure with a single treatment. If you have interest, consider checking www.cellulite.thermage.com or make an appointment for a complimentary consultation.

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