Cellulite, those dreaded dimples. For decades, companies have been promoting treatments to help with cellulite.
Devices, machines, potions and lotions have been prescribed, with little improvement. Many women are embarrassed about their cellulite to the extent that they won't wear shorts or bathing suits.
Specifically, cellulite is the dimples that occur in the buttocks and thighs in many women, and they hate it.
Cellulite does not result from saggy skin, another issue.
Virtually every cellulite treatment to date has been some sort of non-surgical massaging machine with or without lasers to be repeated every month or so, and at best they diminish cellulite slightly, if at all. However, if these treatments are discontinued, the cellulite returns.
Many plastic surgeons have wasted money on such devices, including myself. Even those approved by the FDA for cellulite treatment have been very disappointing.
What's new? It's called the Cellfina System, a minimally invasive device that divides the fibrous bands that cause the dimples, much like the cords that attach to buttons on a cushion.
Cellfina is unique in that it creates a vacuum under a clear dish-like appliance that both injects the local anesthetic and divides these bands.
The patient's own surrounding fat fills the space between the divided bands. Releasing the bands with the vacuum is the key to the success of the Cellfina.
Additionally, the Cellfina System did win the RealSelf 2016 Most Worth It Award for cellulite treatment, which is quite an achievement.
The FDA approved the Cellfina System as a treatment for cellulite for up to three years following one procedure. It is minimally invasive. The recovery involves bruising and some swelling, but some improvement in cellulite can be seen in three days in most cases.
Improvement continues for up to one year. With the exception of exercising, most activities can be resumed that day. Pain, according to patients, has varied from a one to a two, on a scale of 10.
There is soreness for a week or two. Patients may use nitrous oxide to decrease anxiety and discomfort in addition to the local anesthesia.
Patient selection is important because it doesn't treat sagging skin or excess fat. To use Cellfina, physicians must be trained by a certified trainer, which is equally important. While Cellfina is simple to use, correct use is imperative or results can be less than satisfactory and recovery prolonged.
Finally, there is Cellfina to treat the primary structural cause of cellulite for a smooth and healthy look that can give patients more confidence to wear a bathing suit, shorts and higher hemlines.
E. Ronald Finger, MD, FACS is a board certified plastic surgeon with offices in Savannah and Bluffton. www.fingerand associates.com