By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
“You can try diet, exercise, creams, massages and radiofrequency treatments, but the fact of the matter is that, until now, there has never been an effective, long-term way to get rid of cellulite,” explained Francisco Pérez Atamoros of Mexico City’s Tennyson Dermatology Clinic in Colonia Polanco.
“And while some of these methods may help temporarily to reduce the appearance of cellulite, they simply don’t last, and many of them do nothing at all to remedy the condition.”
Moreover, cellulitis is not related to weight or age (although these factors can play a role in the severity of the condition), and about 90 to 95 percent of all women suffer from some degree of dimpling or “orange-peel” skin on the thighs and buttocks.
“The causes of cellulite are multiple, and can include factors like genetic predisposition, hormonal changes, lifestyle and gender (some men do suffer from cellulitis, but it is mostly a female condition),” Pérez Atamoros said.
“Unfortunately, there is no real way to cure the root cause of the problem, which has to do with how your body eliminates waste through its lymphatic system.”
When the lymphatic system does not properly remove waste deposits from the layer of fat just below the outer skin, these deposits get clogged and push through the connective tissue to deform the structure that supports the skin to create lumps or a cottage-cheese effect.
That’s the bad news.
The good news, on the other hand, is that – if you are willing to endure the bruising and discomfort of a process that will entail about 140 tiny incisions or more on your legs and bottom and will essential allow these deposits to be destroyed from below the outer layer through a miniature scapula – there is now a minimally invasive procedure that can, in most patients, result in a 96 percent reduction of cellulite for up to three years.
The procedure, developed by Germany’s Merz Pharma and distributed under the name of Cellfina, is now available in Mexico at five medical clinics in Mexico City, Puebla and Monterrey. (It has already been available in Europe and the United States for several years.)
Cellfina is an out-patient procedure that usually requires a day or two of home recovery, and it doesn’t come cheap.
Depending on the degree of your cellulite and the location (buttocks and/or thighs), a Cellfina treatment will run you anywhere from about 40,000 to 80,000 pesos.
And, in most cases, although a local anesthetic is applied prior to the procedures, there will be post-Cellfina bruising, inflammation and minor soreness that can last up to two or three weeks.
“This procedure is not recommended for patients with Grade 1, or mild cellulite,” said dermatologist Fabiola Rossano Soriano from the Rossano Solís Esthetic Image Clinic in Puebla, who, like her colleague Pérez Atamoros, spoke about the condition during a conference sponsored by Cellfina.
“And, at least for now, it can only be applied to the buttocks and thighs, not to other areas of the body with cellulite such as the abdomen or arms.”
It is also important to understand that Cellfina only works to reduce cellulite, and will not reduce sagging skin or loss of elasticity.
Moreover, after the procedure, you will most likely be required to wear suppression gear, such as a girdle, to help eliminate the saline solution that is injected under the skin to elevate it and allow the Cellfina process to be conducted.
On the upside, Cellfina does produce long-term results that, in some cases, have lasted up to six years or even longer.
Also, with the exception of patients with clotting problems, most people with Grade 2 (moderate) or Grade 3 (severe) cellulite are candidates for the procedure, including those who are severely overweight or suffer from diabetes 2.
“If you think about the cost of the procedure being spread out over at least three years, and the fact that it is being offered exclusively by certified medical personnel who will provide an integral treatment for each patient, it really isn’t that expensive,” said plastic surgeon Eduardo Solís Tinoco, who also spoke at the Cellfina conference.
“Cellulite may be a fact of life for most women, but it can have grave psychological effects, especially when it comes to wearing a swimsuit or other scant clothing. Cellfina is a one-procedure treatment that is far more effective and less invasive than liposuction, and the recovery time is much shorter.”
Still, a Cellfina treatment – despite being minimal invasive – is a medical procedure that can, if not conducted correctly or if post-procedure protocols are not followed to the letter, result in infections or other complications.
That long-discarded bikini and that short little black dress that looked great on you when you were a teenager may be reason enough to undergo a Cellfina procedure (and damn the torpedoes when it comes to cost).
But if you do decide to have a Cellfina treatment done, make sure that it is conducted by a certified specialist that you trust and that he or she does a full medical history and workup before proceeding.