The world of cellulite is changing rapidly! The FDA has recently approved two new treatments (Qwo and Soliton) to add to the previously approved Cellfina and Sculptra therapies. WE CAN NOW EFFECTIVELY TREAT ALL TYPES OF CELLULITE!
Just a few short years ago, cellulite treatments were essentially snake oil. Nothing worked, and hype far outpaced substance. That all changed with the introduction of Cellfina, which was conceived of and developed at SkinCare Physicians. The essential piece of the Cellfina story is fibrous septae. Fibrous septae are thin strands of collagen that attach the skin to underlying structures. One theory that had circulated for many years was that these septae were a primary cause of cellulite, but nobody had been able to prove it… until Cellfina came along. In a series of scientific experiments, the researchers at SkinCare Physicians targeted fibrous septae. The theory was that if we could effectively treat fibrous septae, causing the cellulite dimples to improve, then voila, fibrous septae had to be at the root cause of cellulite. And that is precisely what happened! The Cellfina experiments proved that treating fibrous septae reliably and effectively improved cellulite. Cellfina accomplished this through direct, minimally invasive cutting of the fibrous septae, which is referred to as “mechanical subcision”. The bonus was that these results were long lasting, with effectiveness continuing out beyond 5 years.
Naturally, the rest of the dermatology world took notice, and companies began to look for other ways to treat fibrous septae. Recently, an injectable medication (Qwo, Endo Pharmaceuticals) that chemically breaks down fibrous septae has been FDA approved. This “chemical subcision” is incredibly safe and requires only a few small injections per dimple to effectively improve contours. Up to about 24 dimples can easily be treated in a single session, with 2-3 total sessions at monthly intervals required to achieve optimal results. The primary side effect is bruising, which resolves on its own. Qwo has been studied extensively at SkinCare Physicians, where we were active participants in the research that led to FDA approval.
Soliton (Houston, TX) also targets fibrous septae using sound waves in a completely non-invasive painless treatment. This “acoustic subcision” selectively targets the septae and improves cellulite dimples in over 95% of patients in a single treatment. Soliton does not require needles or surgery, and there is zero recovery. The first Soliton cellulite treatment ever performed was at SkinCare Physicians, and we were the lead center in this fascinating FDA clinical trial that led to approval for the treatment of cellulite. Additional work is being done to look at the effectiveness of doing multiple treatments over time, with additional research looking at the skin tightening effects that also appear to be produced by these acoustic waves. Exciting stuff!
Sculptra is another tool in our cellulite treatment kit that smooths challenging dimples, and can also be used to help shape and refine the buttocks and thighs. Sculptra is a filler material that we have used on the face for over a decade, and it has unique and quite effective properties that we can use in cellulite treatment. A series of 1-3 treatment sessions about a month apart are required, with injection of small amounts of this effective skin smoothing filler required to erase dimples, smooth ripples, and shape the buttocks contours. Results typically last a year or more, with subsequent minor touch up procedures required to maintain results.
Of course, with all of these exciting treatment options, it is only natural to combine procedures for each patient. Not all cellulite dimples are the same, and our physicians can evaluate your unique anatomy and recommend the optimal cellulite treatments for you. In some cases, a carefully executed combination approach using several of the available cellulite treatment options will produce the smoothness that has been so elusive with past treatments. Importantly, with Cellfina, Qwo, Soliton and Sculptra, we now have the tools to treat virtually every type of cellulite!
Before & After photos courtesy of Endo Pharmaceuticals, Soliton, and SkinCare Physicians