WHAT IS CELLULITIS AND HOW IS IT CAUSED?
Cellulitis is perhaps the most common cosmetic problem experienced by women. It is almost exclusive to women and approximately 90% of women manifest some cellulitis. Men only experience cellulitis in rare cases, and even then it is usually caused by hormonal problems.
Cellulitis can be caused by a number of factors. Hormonal issues and bad circulation to the superficial layers of fat is the chief amongst these. However, other factors, such as malnutrition, lack of exercise, smoking, excessive consumption of alcohol and unhealthy lifestyle, can contribute to the emergence of cellulitis.
Skin affected by cellulitis tends to take on an appearance similar to orange peel, i.e. it will feature areas of swelling as well as recession. The swollen spots are due to fat which has been engorged by edema, whereas the recessed spots are caused by the fibers amidst the fat cells, which keep the skin attached to the deeper tissues.
In some cases, the skin may misleadingly manifest symptoms of cellulitis which are actually caused by sagging, rather than edema in the fat tissues. In such cases, the condition is referred to as pseudocellulitis, and cannot be improved via the standard means of treating cellulitis. For this reason, particular care should be taken when trying to gauge whether we are dealing with pseudocellulitis or actual cellulitis.
Treating cellulitis can be quite difficult, as its main causes, i.e. hormonal issues and bad circulation, are not easy to repair. Therefore, it is very difficult for such treatments to achieve permanent results. The only recently developed treatment that has shown itself capable of achieving permanent results with cellulitis is superficial liposuction, particularly when it is performed using a laser.
METHODS OF THERAPY
LPG – ENDERMOLOGIE:
This is the most well-known and frequently used method of correcting cellulitis worldwide. It aims at draining the edema located between the fat cells, via a mechanized process. It is based on the same principles as hand massages, but in a more pre-determined and controlled fashion that remains steady throughout the treatment. The LPG Endermologie method requires the ‘head’ of the instrument to come into contact with the part of the body we wish to treat. The ‘head’ sucks the skin, while molding it at the same time using special rollers, each of which has its own, pre-determined movement. These movements help to drain away the edema (swelling) between the fat cells, and simultaneously make more elastic the fibers that keep the skin anchored to the deeper tissues. During this treatment, the female patient is required to wear a special suit and as such the ‘head’ does not come into direct contact with the skin. The sensation is quite pleasant, similar to the feeling of a massage.
LPG Endermologie has the advantage over traditional massages, however, as the pressure it places is pre-determined and stable, and there is no chance of it exerting more or less pressure than it should, which could potentially yield negative results. Each session lasts approximately 30-45 minutes. At least 15 sessions are required before a satisfying result appears. The total number of required sessions will depend on the degree of cellulitis each patient manifests. Sessions are performed two or three times a week. Once the requisite number of sessions has been completed, patients may continue to repeat them twice a month to maintain the results they have achieved. LPG is an instrument that has been in use for the past few decades. Since its introduction, there have been numerous improvements made upon it and it has helped millions of people throughout the world. Not by chance has it become the most popular method of treating cellulitis, and has been approved by the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration).
Mesotherapy is a technique that has been in existence for quite a few years, and has been thoroughly tested for its effectiveness. It involves the injection of substances under the skin, into the layers of superficial fat, which improves circulation in that area. These substances tend to use caffeine as a base, and can act as triggers for the metabolism. In some cases, phosphatidylcholine, a substance that dissolves fat, is also added. The injections are made using very thin needles, which cause almost no pain and a very low degree of discomfort. The treatments are usually made once a week, requiring at least ten treatment sessions to yield a noticeable result. The total number of treatment that will be required depends on the severity of the problem. In order to maintain the results at a satisfactory level after the initial treatments are completed, one should undergo additional treatment once a month. Each session lasts about ten minutes.
Massages are manual method of treatment, which aims at reducing the edema between the cells of the superficial layers of fat. It is a pleasant sensation, but requires several sessions before the patient begins to notice some improvement upon the cellulitis. It is necessary for the masseur to be very familiar with the technique; otherwise they may cause additional problems rather than repair the existing ones. Ensure that the masseur you have selected is experienced and familiar with the correct massage technique; otherwise, take the LPG route instead, wherein the degree of pressure is controlled by the machine.
Superficial liposuction is performed via the placement of very thin cannulae in the superficial layer of fat. It does not aim at the removal superficial layer of fat so much as at the creation of fiber tissue, which on the one hand will facilitate a small degree of tightening in the skin and on the other, work to improve upon its ‘orange peel’ appearance. It is necessary for the plastic surgeon to be familiar with the technique, otherwise he or she may well worsen the skin’s appearance rather than improve it. It is a method that has been shown to be effective for the majority of the patients who have selected it, yet it cannot be guaranteed to be fully effective for 100% of patients. It may be combined with liposuction to remove localized fat. This procedure, however, must be performed using some type of anaesthesia (local, general, or epidural). The main advantage of the superficial liposuction is that the improvement of cellulitis it can achieve is permanent.
SURFACE LIPOSUCTION VIA LASER LIPOLYSIS:
Recent studies have shown that a large fraction of patients who undertake superficial laser lipolysis see a permanent improvement upon their cellulitis. The method aims to dissolve the fat using the energy from laser beam technology. An optical fiber is inserted under the skin and into the fat tissue; it then transmits the energy, which dissolves the fat. This method also requires a type of anaesthesia, and provides permanent results, which of course has been a long sought-after goal, particularly when it comes to cellulitis.
Patients who wish to correct their cellulitis should know that there are no miraculous solutions, and that treating cellulitis requires patience and effort. Most ‘easy’ solutions that have been put forward, such as creams, pills etc. have not yielded any noteworthy results; the only truly effective solutions are the aforementioned ones.
When treating cellulitis, it is very important to correctly discriminate between patients; i.e. the plastic surgeon examining you must be well acquainted with the issue, and be able to decide whether you will be able to achieve any improvement or not. This may help you to avoid pointless procedures and expenses. The correct choice of a patient, as well as the correct application of the treatment method, can bring about satisfying results. Female patients who are eligible and correctly apply the treatment method recommended by their doctor should be aware that they are undergoing a worthwhile procedure, which will certainly improve upon their cellulitis problems.