Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cellulite: Buyer Beware

I guess if there is a holy grail for plastic surgery it might be the eradication of cellulite. For many years, researchers and doctors have been fishing for the right answer. The fact that there are so many different treatment options available speaks to the fact that there is yet NO good answer. Many new, high priced devices running from $70,000 to $100,000 are coming on the market. But the real question remains, DO THEY WORK? The answer for the most part is "no." Many beauty magazines and talk show hosts probe the latest answer to the cellulite dilemma and say this really does work when, in reality, it doesn’t. Most machines claiming to reduce cellulite have as their main function a massager. Newer technology employs a new energy source such as ultrasound or infrared to somehow modify the underlying collagen molecules. Dr. Robert Weiss, who is president of American Society for Dermatalogic Surgery says ,"Nothing has been shown in an objective way to create improvement in cellulite.” There is a website called RealSelf.com where people can exchange beauty information and some of the most vocal critics relate to cellulite treatments. Many patients have inquired about the VelaShape and from what I have been told it really doesn’t produce any LASTING results or improvements. The market for cellulite treatments is expected to grow from $80 million a year to $200 million in 2012. Another touted product has been SmoothShapes from Eleme Medical. The role of the FDA at this point is nothing more than to say that the device temporarily improves the appearance of cellulite. So you spend $1500-$2000 for treatnments over four, five or six weeks to get only a “temporary” improvement? So far the studies that have been done are small in number and rely on questionable photographic techniques. A cunning photographer can make any cellulite disappear with or without treatments. So, in the end, I say be cautious, wise and always suspicious. I will continue to keep you posted on the latest. Hope you are enjoying my journal from Siberia. Thanks. Dr. B

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