Experts explain how the procedure is performed.
By Macaela Mackenzie-Allure.cm
Cellulite is a fact of life — it’s estimated that over 90 percent of people have it. But not everybody feels the same way about their cellulite. A rising number of folks embrace their dimples, while for others, showing them off on the ‘gram isn’t exactly on their agenda. And that’s totally fine. For the latter, though, there’s a whole world of treatments that minimize the appearance of cellulite. Most, like the cellulite “miracle creams” you see advertised, are bogus, according to the Mayo Clinic, but minimally invasive options offered by plastic surgeons can help you get rid of dimples, if you so wish. One single treatment, known as Cellfina, however, has the potential to eradicate cellulite for five years, according to new data.
First of all, what exactly is cellulite?
“Dimples are caused by bands of connective tissue pulling the skin down towards the deeper tissues of the body,” Darren Smith, a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City, tells Allure. When fat accumulates around these bands, pushing up on the skin around them, the Mayo Clinic explains, you’re left with a cellulite dimple.
What is Cellfina?
Cellfina is a a Food and Drug Administration-cleared, minimally invasive cellulite treatment. “It works by disrupting cords with a minimally invasive cutting device,” says Smith, who is very familiar with the procedure.
It’s a very mechanical treatment, says Ava Shamban, a board-certified dermatologist in Beverly Hills. After the area is numbed, a board-certified plastic surgeon inserts a small device through your skin near each cellulite dimple.
“There is a tiny, rapidly vibrating blade on the end of the device, which divides the band causing the dimple,” Smith says. “This is repeated for each dimple until the procedure is complete.”
Is there downtime?
Although it is an invasive treatment, there is typically no bleeding and only minimal bruising, and 25 dimples can be treated in one hour, Michael Kaminer, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine, previously told Allure. After a Cellfina procedure, Smith says most patients return to work within a few days and the majority of bruising and swelling disappears after two weeks.
Like any procedure, minimally invasive or not, there are risks — namely, infection and bleeding — though they’re rare. “There may also be very small scars at the entry points of the Cellfina device,” Smith says. (If you’re prone to scarring, be sure to consult with your plastic surgeon beforehand.)
OK, but does it work?
“In my experience, Cellfina is the most effective treatment available for dimpling cellulite,” says Smith.
That qualifier is an important one. Someone with “waves” of cellulite, i.e. streaks or patches of slight dimpling, probably won’t see dramatic results. “Someone with smooth buttocks and several well-defined dimples of cellulite will likely be very happy with the procedure,” Smith says. “Cellfina is not going to smooth out buttocks or legs that are streaked with waves of cellulite.” (For the latter, Smith says Cellulaze is a better option.)
What’s really impressive about Cellfina, according to Smith, is its longevity. According to patient follow-up data released by Cellfina’s manufacturer earlier this year, 100 percent of patients in the follow-up still had noticeably less dimply skin five years later.
“The value in the five-year study is that when appropriate patients are treated, they remain happy,” Smith says. “This makes sense: once a cord of connective tissue is cut, it looks like it doesn’t grow back and pull down the skin again to create a dimple.”
That doesn’t mean new dimples can’t form, however. In other words, even with the best procedures out there, cellulite still remains a fact of life. “Cellulite remains one of the great paradoxes in modern beauty — a vast majority of [folks] are affected by, but aesthetic medicine has yet to develop a universally effective strategy for treatment and prevention,” Smith says. “We’re working on it.”
A Cellfina procedure, which is a once-performed treatment by a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon, is typically around $5,000, depending on the area being treated.