Don't Believe The Hype for Removal of Cellulite With Laser Technology
Posted on Thursday, May 03, 2012 by The Plastic Surgery Center
So says noted cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Elkwood of The Plastic Surgery Center in New Jersey.
Can laser technology rid the dreaded cellulite? That’s the claim of the makers and marketers of Cellulaze.
According to an article in today’s New York Times (Thursday Styles, May 3, 2012, portions of which are quoted below):
“Now Cellulaze, which requires only one doctor’s visit, is being breathlessly hailed by many as a bona fide solution. Cleared by the Food and Drug Administration in January for showing improvement after three months, Cellulaze says that its laser technology attacks all three problems responsible for cellulite: bulging fat, too-thin skin, and the connective tissue that tugs at skin and creates dimples.”
“Many physicians are promoting Cellulaze as a long-lasting fix, with some even claiming that the results are permanent, even though the only published study, in Aesthetic Surgery Journal in 2011, had just 10 subjects, who had improvement a year after treatment. Such claims are powerful marketing tools for the doctors, who charge $2,500 to $5,000 for both buttocks or outer thighs, and thousands more for added areas.”
“But the F.D.A. clearance stipulates that Cynosure, the maker of Cellulaze, “can only make statements based on our decision on the three-month data,” according to Erica Jefferson, an F.D.A. spokeswoman, who added, “The indication should be for ‘short-term improvement.’ ” The F.D.A. does not police the claims of doctors who use the treatment.”
The article goes on to detail the problems of controlling which doctors are qualified to perform this procedure—a common difficulty in our business, and particularly with alleged new or “miracle treatments.” Predictably, in this article, patients interviewed showed that results are mixed.
What’s more, this new procedure doesn’t come cheap. Some doctors mentioned prices from $9,500 to an astounding $11,300.
Here’s what Dr. Elkwood thinks: The cosmetic world is replete with "new miracle technologies", very few of which ever really pan out. Based upon the present published data, the jury is out. A healthy degree of skepticism is warranted. Firstly, medical science is not even sure what causes cellulite. We do know that it is multifactorial. We also know that the process occurs very deep in the tissues. In order for Cellulaze to work, it must penetrate very deeply and affect various tissues in a very deliberate way. One laser treatment--it sounds very skeptical. Snake oil has been around forever....hair tonic...maybe? As the motto of Missouri says: "show me".