The first FDA-approved ‘cure’ for cellulite, this procedure involves a small laser tube that’s inserted under a patient’s skin. As the laser heats up, it melts the lumpy fat pockets and softens the fiber bands of connective tissue that hold them together. “Cellulaze can significantly improve and minimize the appearance of cellulite,” says Engelman. “But I’ve yet to see a case where it’s completely gone.” But unless you have a fairly large budget, it may be out of your price range since the procedure can cost upwards of $5,000 and, depending on how large the treatment area is, it can be quite the time commitment. “A good candidate for Cellulaze has to be someone who understands the time commitment required and is reasonable with the expected results of their selected treatment,” says Engelman.
Newer to the market and recently given the FDA’s stamp of approval, Zwave applies high energy radial shockwaves to the affected area to reduce and improve mild to moderate cases of cellulite. The tissue around the dimpled areas breaks apart and leads to a collapse in the gas bubbles within the fat structures. “Zwave is showing great promise after around 10 sessions with initial frequency up to three times a week,” says Engelman. “I’ve seen improvement in my patients after a few sessions, though maintenance varies based on the person and their severity.” Though not nearly as expensive as Cellulaze, expect to pay about $300 to $450 per treatment, depending on the size of the treatment area, says Engelman.
This noninvasive treatment claims to deliver a quick and painless way to reduce fat and tighten the skin. Using radiofrequency energy directly to the targeted fat cells, it applies heat to the affected area and destroys these cells only, without damaging the skin or surrounding muscles or tissues. “Though considered a fat-removal technique, it is often coupled with Zwave to help with improving the appearance of cellulite,” says Engelman. “Patients are positioned on a treatment table and the Vanquish device is directed toward the intended area of the abdomen, but does not touch the body. A slight warming sensation is often felt, but no pain or discomfort is typically associated with this procedure.” While prices are steep, ranging from $500 to $800 for a 30-minute session, no downtime is necessary so patients can resume their normal daily activities immediately after leaving their doctor’s office.
Originally developed in Europe to relieve the pain of inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, mesotherapy involves injecting substances such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes into the tissue just beneath the skin. It’s most popular in Europe and Asia and not often used in the U.S., as it is not FDA approved. “Mesotherapy may break down fat and bring a slight improvement in the appearance of cellulite, but it also carries risks such as swelling, infection, and irregular contours,” says Engelman.