Cellulaze cosmetic surgery procedure touted as the cure for dimpled skin

Lindsay MacAdam
Shine OnMay 8, 2012

In the past, the only real options for combating a case of lumpy thighs has been laser therapy, gimicky creams and liposuction -- none of which offered long-term solutions for a condition that can seriously affect women's self-confidence.

A relatively new cellulite procedure, called Cellulaze, received approval from Health Canada last fall. It involves small incisions in the skin where a laser glides beneath the skin's surface to break the walls of fat cells that cause the skin's dimpled appearance. This procedure is completed in just one doctor's visit.

More recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. approved the procedure as well, reports the New York Times. The treatment will soon be offered at more than 100 doctors' offices in the U.S.

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Doctors have been calling it the cure for cellulite and praising it for its permanent effects, but the truth is, no one knows if its effects are permanent because it hasn't been around long enough.

"We think if the cellulite hasn't come back in two years, it's probably going to be pretty much permanent," says dermatologist Dr. Bruce Katz to the New York Times.

That's not overly convincing for a procedure that can cost anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000+, depending on how many areas need treating. And you won't come out of the procedure with smooth, beautiful skin, either. One should expect discomfort, bruising, swelling an numbness for about three months after.

The website Jezebel put this procedure in context by pointing out that cellulite isn't really the "problem" everyone makes it out to be:

"Here's the thing: We don't like the way cellulite looks, but it is completely natural and happens to 90% of women.[...]It's not an illness. It can affect a post-pubescent woman no matter her age or weight.[...]Thanks to a steady stream of advertising, movies, TV and magazines, we're inundated with images of women, but between lithe models, Photoshop and swimsuit issues, we don't 'see' cellulite in the media unless it's in a 'bikini blunders' story, on other people on the beach, or on ourselves. Therefore, we're not used to confronting it. Our eyes register it as ugly, unsightly, a blemish, an ailment, an embarrassment."

And since we've been programmed to view cellulite as a flaw, many women will do just about anything, no matter the cost, to get rid of it.

Related: Left side of face looks best: study

In terms of results, Cellulaze has both its success stories and the opposite.

Linda Kiesel-Zabludovsky, a 57-year-old from New Jersey, had the procedure done on her outer thighs back in 2009, as part of early research. Three years later, she tells the New York Times, "It's as smooth as it was after the procedure."

On the other end of the Cellulaze spectrum, Wanda Lamberty, 41, also from New Jersey, says if she could go back in time, she wouldn't have done it. She ended up with fluid buildup in her leg that needed to be drained by her doctor, visible indentations in her skin and bruising more than a year later.

If there's one overarching point of agreement by all doctors on this controversial topic, it's to make sure you go to a reputable plastic surgeon with experience in both liposuction and Cellulaze.

Would you consider undergoing a pricey procedure that promised to rid you of cellulite forever? What other types of cellulite-busters have you tried?

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