Some physicians estimate that as many as 90 percent of all women will develop a cellulite condition sometime during their lifetime. Although not life-threatening, cellulite impacts self-identity and self-esteem.
“Because so many people are affected by the condition and its negative psychological impact, finding the best cellulite treatment is imperative. We are hopeful that this area of cosmetic dermatology will continue to advance,” said Dr. Papantoniou, who has special interest in laser and cosmetic dermatology.
Fibrous connective cords tie skin to muscle. A layer of fat lies in between the skin and muscle. Accumulating fat cells increase the volume of unconnected tissue, which begins to bulge and cause the familiar dimpling and wrinkling of skin in patients with a cellulite condition. Treatments are directed at tightening the connective tissue bands (pulling the skin taut) and smoothing out the wrinkles.
Unfortunately, to date, few comparative patient studies have been conducted to demonstrate the effectiveness of one therapy over another in smoothing dimpled skin, especially for the long term, Dr. Papantoniou indicated.
“Patients need to be informed consumers and not be afraid to ask their doctor questions before undergoing any procedure to remove cellulite,” Dr. Papantoniou said. “Many different approaches are oftentimes available to address the same cosmetic problem. They can range from topical creams, massage therapy, body wraps and lasers all the way to surgery. Patients must talk with their doctor to find the treatment most appropriate – and effective – for them.
“Currently, the most promising cellulite therapies seem to be ones involving use of lasers, radiofrequency and ultrasound,” Dr. Papantoniou added.
In March 2017 the National Institutes of Health announced on its clinical trials web site that a new technology, called the Profound™ System, is about to undergo clinical study to evaluate its safety and effectiveness in improving the appearance of cellulite in the buttocks and upper thighs. The federal Food and Drug Administration cleared Profound™ for use in November 2016 as a minimally invasive cellulite therapy in patients with certain skin types, following reported positive treatment results from an earlier multicenter study of the technology. Profound™ treats the skin condition by applying radiofrequency energy to the dermal and subcutaneous layers of skin.
Meanwhile, Dr. Papantoniou has been using a recently developed ultrasound technology, the Cellfina™ System, to treat cellulite conditions. The Cellfina™ System, is “the only FDA-cleared, minimally invasive procedure clinically proven to improve the appearance of cellulite for results that last at least three years – the longest duration cleared by the FDA,” according to Merz Aesthetics, a division of the specialty health care company, Merz North America. The system is reportedly most effective when paired with Endymed™Intensif or Endymed™3DEEP radiofrequency devices or with ThermiSmooth™, a temperature-control device.
FDA cleared use of Cellfina™ in October 2016, a month before granting a similar clearance to Profound™.
In a Northwestern Medicine study published January 2012 in the journal, Dermatologic Clinics, researchers advised that “selecting the right cosmetic treatment is not a trivial matter. Patients should get treatments from experienced practitioners with access to the data and ability to evaluate it.” Dr. Papantoniou concurs.
Although the specific causes of cellulite are not fully understood, risk factors include obesity, diet, hormones, genetics, gender (far more women than men develop the condition), pregnancy and aging skin.
Possible ways of reducing risk include:
- Limiting fat, carbohydrates and salt in the diet and increasing consumption of fruits, vegetables and fiber
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Reducing stress
- Avoiding or quitting smoking
- Wearing loose undergarments. Tight elastic in the buttocks region may interfere with blood flow in the skin and increase the possibility of cellulite formation.
Bio: Kally Papantoniou, M.D., F.A.A.D. is board-certified in dermatology and specializes in all areas of medical dermatology for adults and children, the prevention and treatment of skin cancer, cosmetic dermatology and laser surgery.
Advanced Dermatology P.C. and the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery (New York & New Jersey) is one of the leading dermatology centers in the nation, offering highly experienced physicians in the fields of cosmetic and laser dermatology as well as plastic surgery and state-of-the-art medical technologies. www.advanceddermatologypc.com.