When You Have Cellulite

I love this picture, but also seeing the dimples in my thigh, made me think about cellulite, which is something that almost all of us women (including myself) have to deal with.

I receive many questions about cellulite and what to do about it. Cellulite is created by tight fibers or bands that travel through the connective tissue and fat that create dimples or divots. The way I explain it to my patients is that the bands are like the stitching in a quilt or mattress that make dimples in the stuffing. It is genetic and has a lot to do with the inherent connective tissue. With less fat (less stuffing in the quilt) it is less obvious but even very thin and fit people have it. Therefore, external treatments like lasers, massage, or creams cannot treat cellulite – that would be like ironing or massaging or rubbing something on a quilt and making the quilting go away.

Liposuction also does not treat cellulite since it removes fat from around the bands, like removing the stuffing from a quilt or mattress – you still see the dimples. When I perform liposuction with fat grafting, I cut some of the bands in the deepest cellulite dents to smooth the appearance of the dents – but you cannot cut all of them because those bands provide structural support for the tissues – and then I fill the dents with fat. I’ve shown how this can improve the appearance of cellulite, but even with this technique, there is still some memory in the tissues so you cannot get it completely smooth, and also the bands sometimes reattach.

I think it is important for health and beauty providers to be honest with patients and consumers about what can and cannot be treated and help provide realistic expectations. It saddens and frustrates me when people are taken advantage of by things that don’t work. I hope through education all of you are able to have a better understanding of cellulite as well as other medical and beauty issues so you can make the best-informed choices for yourselves.

dr cat signature