Cellulite: Any Treatment Options?


The term cellulite means different things to different people. Cellulite refers to an uneven texture of the skin that varies from skin dimpling to lumps and bumps. Eighty-five per cent of adult women have cellulite so it is an entirely normal finding, and probably under the influence of hormones. In some women the irregular contour is barely noticeable and in others quite extreme. It is most commonly located on the legs, abdomen and buttocks. The contour irregularity worsens with aging. Cellulite can be a source of significant body dissatisfaction.

Because the degree of cellulite changes can vary so much, a classification system was proposed by Curri in 1991. There are four grades in this classification system. Grade I has no noticeable changes to the observer, but under the microscope the tissues show typical signs. Grades II-IV show progressive loss of elasticity, dimpling, waviness and bumps of the surface.

The cause of cellulite has not been clearly shown but the interaction of genetics, hormones, inflammation and weight changes are all being investigated. Connective tissue that crisscrosses through fat is largely responsible. The fat cells bulge over these restraining bands into the deep dermal layer of the skin creating nodularity.

Many therapies have been proposed for cellulite. It has shown itself to be resistant to most. The ineffective treatment modalities include lasers, massage, contact cooling, radio frequency energy, ultrasound, infra red light, suction, topical creams, oral medications and iontophoresis. The long list of unrelated therapies speaks both to the appeal to find a treatment and to the lack of understating of its cause.

Mild cases of cellulite are not worth undertaking frustrating treatment attempts. More severe cellulite may respond to skin tightening surgical procedures, such as a body lift or thigh lift. Fat transfer can help to camouflage surface irregularities. The surface therapeutic tools such as lasers and light based therapies are likely to disappoint. Additional scientific studies are necessary to draw final conclusions.

Category: Cellulite, Fat Transfer / Fat Grafting | Tags: ,

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