Cellulite is one of the most difficult cosmetic concerns to address, luckily there is a new generation of devices targeting this very common issue. None of these treatments is a ‘cure’ for cellulite, however in many cases some improvement in cellulite is seen. Not every person treated with these devices will see results, and results can be highly variable. Here is a brief review of some of the devices used for non-invasive cellulite removal. This list is not exhaustive, but is merely meant to give you an overview of what’s available and how some of these technologies work.
This non-invasive procedure uses radiofrequency energy to contract and tighten collagen fibers deep within the skin, thus reducing the circumference of treated body areas. Thermage also stimulates new collagen growth, a process that “plumps up” and rejuvenates wrinkled skin.
Thermage has not been approved for body contouring by the Food and Drug Administration. It has been approved, however, for the treatment of wrinkles and for the temporary reduction of cellulite.
Thermage does not reduce fat directly, but it does help tighten skin on the face, abdomen, thighs, arms, and buttocks. It works best on people whose skin has only mild to moderate laxity.
A Thermage procedure may take from 30 minutes to 2 hours to complete, depending on the size of the area to be treated. You may be given an oral analgesic medication before the treatment begins to prevent any pain or discomfort. During the procedure, you’ll feel a warm sensation as the radiofrequency energy is delivered to your skin. The Thermage device will emit a cool spray to protect your skin’s surface.
You may experience mild redness and swelling after the procedure; these symptoms typically disappear within a few days. A small percentage of patients (less than 0.5 percent) develop scarring.
Although you’ll likely notice some immediate tightening of your skin, the plumping up and smoothing of your skin will occur gradually over several months as new collagen forms. Not everyone experiences improvements with Thermage, so be sure to talk with your physician about expectations before you begin the treatments.
VelaShape and its earlier version, VelaSmooth, use a patented technology (elos™) to shrink fat cells and re-contour the body. Both radiofrequency energy and light energy are enlisted during the treatment to heat the half-inch or so of subcutaneous fat located right under the skin. The heat is delivered with the aid of a gentle vacuuming device and specially designed rollers that manipulate the skin.
The theory behind the treatment is that the heat sends oxygen to the fat cells, which then causes them to burn stored energy—and shrink.
According to the technology’s manufacturer, Syneron Medical Ltd., VelaShape/VelaSmooth treatments reduce hip circumference by an average of 3.2 centimeters (about 1 ¼ inch), abdomen circumference by an average of 2.5 centimeters (about 1 inch), and thigh circumference by an average of 2 centimeters (about ¾ inch).
The VelaShape/VelaSmooth technology is used to reduce the circumference of thighs, buttocks, abdomens and arms. It’s also sometimes used after pregnancy to firm up a stretched belly and abdomen. If you maintain a healthy lifestyle, your results may last anywhere from six month to a year.
VelaSmooth has also received FDA approval to relieve minor muscle aches, pain and spasms.
Many patients say that a VelaShape/VelaSmooth treatment feels like having a warm, deep-tissue body massage. Treatment sessions generally last 20 to 45 minutes. Afterward, your skin will feel warm for a few hours. You may also experience some mild redness and bruising.
The recommended treatment protocol for most people is 4 to 6 weekly treatments. You may notice some tightening of the skin after the first treatment, but significant improvement usually occurs only after four or more treatments. Because the effects are temporary, maintenance treatments are also recommended.
SmoothShapes uses a patented technology called Photomology™, a combination of laser and light energy and mechanical vacuum massage. The two kinds of energies liquefy excess fat cells, and the massage rollers push the resultant fluid toward the lymphatic system.
SmoothShapes can help you tighten your abdomen, waist, hips and buttocks. Almost all women are candidates for this procedure, except for those who are pregnant or nursing. After you’ve finished nursing, however, SmoothShapes may be of help in regaining your pre-pregnancy figure.
The procedure is not painful; it resembles an aggressive body massage. It takes no more than about half an hour per area treated. Any skin warmth or reddening will disappear within a few hours, so you can return to your normal activities right away.
How many sessions you’ll require and their spacing will depend on how big an area you want treated. Usually, about 8 treatments are recommended during a one-month period. The final effects of the treatment may not become noticeable for several additional weeks, however.
This non-invasive treatment may help you redefine and reshape your body by improving the appearance of cellulite. It works by combining a low-level laser light with suction massage to rid the skin’s underlying tissue (dermis) of excess fat cells. The treatment also stimulates the growth of new collagen to keep your skin’s surface looking softer and smoother. The primary target of the Triactive Laser is cellulite reduction.
TriActive can help reduce fat anywhere on the body where cellulite accumulates. According to TriActive’s manufacturer, one study found that more than 80 percent of people who underwent the treatment on their hips and thighs experienced significant improvement in fat and cellulite reduction. The procedure has the approval of the Food and Drug Administration.
The TriActive procedure, which generally takes about 45 minutes from start to finish, is completely painless. Most patients find the therapeutic massage to be very relaxing and soothing. For a day or two post-treatment, you may notice an increase in your urine output; this is the result of the lymphatic system clearing out the by-products of the dissolved fat cells.
For best results, 10-20 treatment sessions are recommended. Maintenance sessions are also recommended to keep the treated areas toned.
Cellulaze is a minimally-invasive treatment option based on the same technology used for Cynosure’s popular SmartLipo fat reduction device. The laser energy in this case is used to target the tissue under the skin that causes the cellulite to form in the first place. Many patients claim to see significant improvement in their cellulite after just one treatment.