There is a common misconception that cellulite is a fat problem. It is true that the appearance of the dimpling is worse in someone with higher body fat, but we certainly see this problem in patients of all weights. The etiology of cellulite is really a structural problem beneath the skin. It is also an issue that disproportionately affects women.

Many patients develop bands under the skin which are somewhat analogous to the threads that segregate the surface of mattress. These bands restrict the venous and lymphatic drainage in specific areas and cause segmented swelling between the restricted dimpled areas.

One method of treatment used in the past was endermology. This was an aggressive massage system that transiently increased venous and lymphatic drainage of these sequestered areas and was clinically efficacious. The system required frequent treatments and results lasted only if treatments were continued.

Current state-of-the-art treatment now involves a laser treatment that addresses all aspects of this condition. Cellulaze is the only FDA cleared minimally invasive one-time laser treatment for cellulite with proven results up to three years (the longer-term efficacy is still being studied as the original studies only went out three years). This side cutting laser delivers energy under the skin, through tiny incisions, to treat the dimples, bumps, and valleys. The laser energy is deployed to release the bands, melt the fat in the bumps, and promote collagen production, which ultimately improves skin thickness and elasticity.

This procedure is done in the office with oral sedation and locally infiltrated anesthesia. Some results are seen right away and final results are seen in three to six months.

Princeton Center for Plastic Surgery, 932 State Road, Prince­ton. 609-921-7161. www.princetonsurgery.com.

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