Can liposuction help cellulite?

In his last blog post, Los Angeles-area plastic surgeon George Sanders cleared up some common misconceptions about liposuction. One of those misconceptions, which is widely believed, is that liposuction improves the appearance of cellulite (lumpy, dimpled skin). Dr. Sanders wanted to address this topic in its own blog post, in case potential patients are curious.

What Is Cellulite?

A basic understanding of the anatomy of cellulite is important. Cellulite can be blamed on unwanted fat, thin skin and rigid connective tissue bands beneath the surface of the skin. The fat cells can enlarge and start to push up against the network of connective bands, which become rigid and inflexible. The fat bulges through the bands, which leads to the uneven or indented look of cellulite. Thin skin that has lost its elasticity exacerbates the appearance of cellulite. The result is an area with a texture resembling an orange peel.

Cellulite is widespread; an estimated 90 percent of women and 10 percent of men develop it at some point (surprisingly, even those that are slender and fit). It can appear on the legs, abdomen, buttocks and arms. Dr. Sanders has met with patients that believe liposuction can help their problem. Unfortunately, it cannot. In some cases, liposuction can even accentuate cellulite.

Why Liposuction Doesn’t Help

Liposuction eliminates fat in the deep layers of the skin, and cellulite forms just below the skin’s surface. Also, liposuction does nothing for the quality of the skin or the elasticity of the connective bands. To properly eradicate cellulite, treatment must remove unwanted fat, break up the bands and increase the thickness and elasticity of the skin. This flattens and smoothes the entire area and eliminates the dimpled, lumpy appearance of cellulite.

Some doctors claim the motion of the liposuction cannula breaks up the bands, but in truth this doesn’t usually happen. If it does, the bands usually recur in a year or less, causing the problem to crop up again.

Cellulite treatment must take into consideration the complexity of the problem, and treat the fat, skin and fibrous collagen bands altogether. To learn more about what you can do to prevent or treat cellulite, please contact our plastic surgeon, Dr. George Sanders, today by calling (818) 981-3333.