Cellulite seems to be an unfortunate fact of life as we age. It appears as unsightly (‘cottage cheese’) dimpling and perhaps even some lumpiness in specific fat-rich areas, such as the buttocks, thighs and hips. Luckily there are some very effective ultrasound treatment plans to help us combat this.
As we age the boundaries between the dermis and the underlying fat in the subdermis begin to change. This is a cumulative result of changes in the skin’s blood flow, tissue scarring, or increased inflammation. Uneven openings between the cells are caused by the build up of such damage. The outcome is fat that irregularly squeezes up into connective tissue layers of the dermis. These lumpy or dimpled areas where fat becomes trapped are termed cellulite.
Weight gain also contributes to cellulite. Many women find it difficult to lose fat from areas such as the muffin top, tummy roll or the tops of their knees. Eventually with age, fat becomes cellulite, though there are other complex factors at play.
Hormones also affect our skin and how the body distributes weight. Menopause leads to skin losing its youthful suppleness. The effects extend to the cellular level, with the potential for cellulite formation. There are several avenues available to counter these effects and ultrasound treatment is one that we use at Shine Clinic in Brisbane.
What is an ultrasound treatment?
At one time the only option for cellulite elimination was surgical liposuction. This involved sucking fat from the subdermis, an expensive and lengthy procedure needing an extended recovery. Today’s non-invasive techniques include ultrasound treatment, the revolutionary ‘liposculpture’ procedure technically called ultrasonic cavitation (‘liposuction without surgery’). Ultrasound treatment has long been used to shrink tumours in cancer patients. The same principle applies to shrinking fat tissue and has proven very effective.
Healthy women who exercise but just can’t seem to get rid of those last ten kilograms will find this an effective solution for those stubborn bulges. Weight loss will more likely occur concurrent with a healthy diet and weight loss plan. However, it is not a treatment for morbid obesity. A good candidate is someone looking to hone in on a specific area. It is ideal for women seeing changes in their body due to having children or going through menopause.
How does ultrasonic cavitation work?
Ultrasound treatment liquefies the excess fat by vibrating the fat cells to rupture their cell walls. Broken down fat is directed towards the closest lymph node for reabsorption into the body. It is certainly less traumatic than sucking out intact fat cells (which is what happens in liposuction). The procedure is referred to as ‘contouring’ or ‘liposculpture’ and the type offered at Shine clinic is called MedContour.
The unique handpiece uses two angled transmitters to emit very low frequency ultrasound waves. The vacuum suction tool lifts the skin allowing the transmitters to specifically target the cellulite and fat. Depending on the size of the treatment area, the procedure may take up to an hour and a half.
Results are immediate and long-lasting, improved contour and size reduction in the treatment area are initial outcomes. The tightening effect of ultrasound treatment may be more marked in younger compared with older people. This is thought to be because bonds that hold collagen together are more easily broken by heating young skin. A commitment to good diet and lifestyle will ensure the most benefit from your contouring treatments. As fat cells do not regrow later in life their loss is permanent, thereby causing a reduction in circumference. Sagging skin in areas such as below the belly button will show some tightening.
What about side effects?
Ultrasound treatment is very safe, usually with minor and temporary side effects. The most common are mild discomfort during the procedure, and skin redness that typically lasts for one to two hours after the treatment. Many say that the swift localised heat feels very much like a hot stone massage treatment. Skin may be slightly swollen after the treatment but this quickly subsides. A cold compress or ice pack on the treated area helps reduce any pain and swelling. Some women experience temporary changes in sensation in the treated area, including itching or numbness. Symptoms are usually mild and resolve completely in days to weeks.