The Lowdown on the Latest Cellulite Treatments

Beauty/Skincare, Featured Article, Healthy Living
on May 9, 2011
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Mesotherapy (similar to newer LipoDissolve)

  • What it is: Injections of chemicals, herbs and vitamins into middle skin layer to dissolve fat
  • Pros: Non-surgical, minimal down time
  • Cons:Infection risk, bruising, tenderness 1-5 days
  • Costs: Average 8 to 10 sessions, about $400 per visit
  • Results: Smoother skin after third treatment. Lasting results if followed by healthy lifestyle; maintenance every 6 to 12 months.

Endermologie, Lipomassage

  • What it is:Deep tissue massage and suction to loosen fat drained by lymphatic system
  • Pros:Reduces swelling, smoothes lumps
  • Cons:Better on patients less than 30 lbs. overweight, many treatments
  • Costs:Average 8 to16 sessions, 1 to 2 times weekly, about $100 per visit (doctor's office or spa)
  • Results:Temporary improvement after 6 to 8 treatments. Frequent maintenance required.

VelaShape (similar to SmoothShapes & AccentXL)

  • What it is: Radio frequency, optical energy, vacuum and massage
  • Pros: Noninvasive, no down time, minimal discomfort, short treatment time
  • Cons: Multiple sessions, redness
  • Costs: Average 4 to 8 sessions over 1 to 2 weeks, $250 to $600 per treatment (doctor's office or spa)
  • Results: Cumulative results in 6 to 8 weeks.  Lasts 6 to 12 months.

Acoustic Wave

  • What it is: Pressure waves disintegrate deeper fat layers
  • Pros: Non-surgical, no down time, treat multiple areas per session
  • Cons: Multiple treatments, must be near ideal weight
  • Costs: Average 6 to 12 sessions, twice weekly, $150 to $300 per visit
  • Results: Gradual results, noticeable by fourth treatment. Quarterly maintenance.

Smart Lipo

  • What it is:Small cannula (slender tube) with laser fiber loosens fat
  • Pros: Local anesthesia, small incision, minimal downtime
  • Cons: Bruising, infection risk, discomfort, expensive
  • Costs: Usually a single visit, 1 to 2 hours depending on areas treated, $2,000 to $10,000
  • Results: Immediate results continuing over several months. Fat won't return to treated areas, but weight gain can create disproportioned appearance.

Cryolypolysis, Zeltiq, Cool Sculpting

  • What it is: Cold gel pack, strong vacuum, crystallizes fat cells which body disposes through liver
  • Pros: Noninvasive, no anesthesia or recovery time
  • Cons: Some numbness, temporary redness, tenderness, expensive
  • Costs: Number of hour-long treatments depend on how many areas (3 to 4 cm wide) treated, $500 per area
  • Results: Results in 2 to 6 months, up to 25 percent fat reduction; better for small volumes of fat reduction than cellulite.

Thermage, ThermaCool

  • What it is: Radiofrequency heats inner skin layers while skin's surface is cooled to remodel collagen
  • Pros: Noninvasive, usually single treatment, no downtime or anesthesia
  • Cons: Minor peeling, redness, gradual results
  • Costs: Single, 45 to 90 minute treatment, averages $2,200
  • Results: Gradual results in 2 to 6 months, lasting up to two years. Minimally effective on cellulite compared to others.


  • What it is: Mechanical massage, low-energy lasers that loosen fat, increase collagen production
  • Pros:  Noninvasive, no down time
  • Cons: Temporary bruising, swelling, multiple treatments
  • Costs: Average 14 sessions twice weekly, $125 to $150 per visit; multi-visit value packages available
  • Results: Improvement in 5 to 7 sessions, best results after 10 to 15 session. Temporary, but maintenance prevents reoccurrence.


  • What it is: Ultrasound waves and controlled heat disrupt collagen fibers
  • Pros: Nonsurgical, no anesthesia or down time
  • Cons: 7 to 10 days between treatments, better for small fat pockets
  • Costs: Average 4 sessions, depending on areas treated, $200 to $400 per area
  • Results: Progressive, lasting results in cellulite reduction, skin tightenin