Cellulite seems to be an unfortunate fact of life as we age. It appears as dimpling and perhaps even some lumpiness in specific areas, such as the buttocks, thighs and hips.
As we age the boundaries between the dermis and the underlying fat in the subdermis begin to change. This is a cumulative result of variations with 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 squeezes up from the subdermis to the dermis. These lumpy or dimpled areas 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.
At one time the only option for cellulite elimination was surgical liposuction. This involved sucking fat from the subdermis, a lengthy procedure needing an extended recovery. Today’s non-invasive techniques include ultrasonic cavitation. Ultrasound has long been used to shrink tumours in cancer patients. The same principle applies to shrinking fat tissue and has proven very effective. It works by vibrating the fat cells to rupture their cell walls, and turn them into a liquid form that is easily reabsorbed by the body. This is referred to as ‘contouring’ or ‘liposculpture’ and the procedure offered at our clinic here in Brisbane is called MedContour. It is a very safe treatment with no recovery time.
Who can have this treatment?
Healthy women who exercise but just can’t seem to get rid of those last few kilos will find this the perfect solution for those stubborn bulges. Improved contour and size reduction in the treatment area are initial outcomes. Weight loss will more likely occur concurrently 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.
If you were in shape and healthy before, there may be just one or two specific areas not responding to the usual diet and exercise that works for the rest of your body. This new non-invasive treatment can provide you with the body you deserve, and with little fuss, side-effects, or recovery time to be concerned about.
What should I expect during treatment?
No major preparation is required. It is recommended to avoid taking aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. ibuprofen, ketoprofen) 1–2 weeks before the procedure to reduce the risk of bruising, although this only occurs rarely. Some doctors also recommend stopping vitamin E, ginseng, fish-oil tablets, or herbal supplements with anticoagulant effects for the same reason.
MedContour’s 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. Ultrasonic waves cause a cavitation effect that breaks down the fat cells. Broken down fat is directed towards the closest lymph node for reabsorption into the body with a vacuum assisted lymphatic drainage. The entire procedure only takes about 30–60 minutes. We also recommend a further lymphatic drainage be performed a few days after each complete treatment. This will speed up removal of the liquified fat in preparation for the next treatment the following week.
During the treatment, a gel is applied and the overlying skin will heat up and become red as the handpiece is passed over the area. This is quite tolerable and rarely gives discomfort. The skin may be red and hot initially after the treatment and be a little sensitive to heat. This is very short lived. Drinking plenty of water before and after treatment assists with efficient disposal of liquefied fat via the lymphatic and urinary systems.
Results are immediate and long-lasting, 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. However, the treatment does not prevent existing cells from expanding if overeating results in weight gain. Sagging skin in areas such as the inner thighs or below the belly button will show some tightening.
A consultation is required to determine the number of treatments and targeted treatment areas. The treatment works best when applied on a weekly basis for at least four or five weeks.
Are there side effects or risks involved?
Ultrasound is a safe treatment, usually with minor and temporary side effects. The most common are mild to moderate 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 pink or mildly 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.
Ultrasonic contouring has a skin tightening effect, so it’s sometimes used after surgical liposuction to even out irregularities. It is also used in conjunction with laser lipolysis to further accelerate the rate of fat cell reduction. Another therapy it pairs well with is radiofrequency, which tightens the skin and even improves tone. Additionally, radiofrequency targets fat cells in very similar fashion to ultrasonic cavitation. This non-invasive treatment is offered here at our clinic in Brisbane for facial rejuvenation treatments and makes a great complement to other types of skin treatments.