Types Of Cellulite Treatments | Donaldson Plastic Surgery

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By Stacie Isler, PA-C |

Types Of Cellulite Treatments

Different Types Of Cellulite Treatments

Exploring The Different Methods Of Combating Cellulite Dimples On The Body

It may be completely natural but that doesn’t make cellulite any less of a physical insecurity for many women. There’s a surprisingly bountiful amount of in-office and at-home treatment options on the market that promise beautiful legs, each with its own benefits, drawbacks and health considerations. 

We’re going to take a look at the different types of cellulite treatments out there to help you navigate this sea of septae solutions and make the right decision for yourself!

The Types Of Cellulite Treatments We Will Cover Include:

Cellulite Diagram

But First: What Actually Is Cellulite? 

Cellulite refers to a fat deposit beneath the skin. Collagen bands (called fibrous septae) form and connect the fat deposit to the skin, causing the skin to pull downward and creating a wavy dimple on the surface. The visible appearance of cellulite occurs in 80%-90% of women and most commonly forms on the buttocks, thighs, calves and sometimes the arms. Cellulite is typically harmless and occurs in only 10% of men. 

Acoustic Wave Therapy (AWT)

This unique method of cellulite reduction uses a series of pressure waves that pass through layers of skin and fat to break up the fibrous septae. By breaking up the collagen and releasing the band, AWT creates a smoother surface and reduces the appearance of cellulite. This typically must be repeated at least a dozen times to see meaningful results and is often described as either uncomfortable or even “painful.” 


The Avéli handheld device is made up of two tools to get the job done – a guiding light and a hook that houses a blade. Once the device is carefully injected into a strategic area of the skin, the provider will guide it through, unsheath the surgical blade and “pluck” the underlying septae as close to the surface of the skin as possible to minimize bruising. This solution can address all grades of cellulite in one office visit, from simple fixes to more complex cases. Avéli offers permanent results. 


Dating back to the 1930s, Carboxytherapy has been used to treat cellulite, stretch marks and even undereye circles. With this method, a slow stream of carbon dioxide gas is infused underneath the skin. The body responds by immediately sending oxygen to the injected area and creating greater circulation to the area. Carboxytherapy is relatively painless and needs 7 – 10+ treatments to see discernable results. Results must be maintained roughly every 6 months. 


This option uses a suction device to pick up a patient’s tissue at the center of the cellulite dimple. Then, a needle is used to numb the area before a vibrating needle is used to clip the septae bands beneath the skin. Incisions are quite small and do not require stitches to repair. Bruising can be severe and results may take months to appear – however, those results are permanent.


Cellulaze by Cynosure is a one-visit cellulite treatment powered by thermal energy. It uses the SideLight 3D laser to liquefy excess fat and sever the connective septae bands underneath the skin. This method also stimulates new collagen production to improve skin thickness and elasticity – common symptoms surrounding cellulite. Cellulaze can be painful and results are not considered permanent. 

Emtone Handheld Device


Emtone combines thermal and mechanical energy to treat the major contributors to cellulite. The Emtone device uses a one-two punch of Acoustic Wave Therapy (AWT) and radiofrequency methods to achieve results. Patients typically require 4-6 sessions to see results, with annual maintenance needed after. Treatments using the Emtone device boast no downtime and the ability to tighten and tone skin. 


endermologie Lipomassage employs the combination of suction and massage to minimize the appearance of cellulite. It works like a deep-tissue massage that stimulates the lymphatic system, breaks up the underlying septae and activates new collagen production. The experience is considered relaxing by some patients and requires weekly treatments for up to 16 weeks to see results. 


This treatment uses a series of injections into the areas with cellulite. These injections typically contain a proprietary blend of caffeine, enzymes, herbal extracts, hormones and more. At this time, there are very few studies on Mesotherapy’s efficacy and we do not currently recommend it as a cellulite treatment


Radiofrequency can be used in combination with suction and massage to essentially burn away cellulite dimples for a temporary reduction in cellulite dimples. Bruising is common with this type of treatment. 

Ultrasonic Liposculpting 

Ultrasonic Liposculpting (sometimes referred to as “Ultrasonic Cavitation”) is a relatively comfortable, in-office treatment that uses ultrasound waves to eliminate fat cells in a specific area of the body. While this non-surgical treatment can be effective on fat reduction in roughly 12 visits, its effect on cellulite is fairly limited. 

At-Home Cellulite Treatments

At-Home Cellulite Treatments 

Lotions & Creams 

Over time, you have undoubtedly seen a wealth of over-the-counter products promising incredible results. While many of these are nothing more than snake oil, there is some evidence that suggests topical products containing caffeine and retinol have shown some impact on the appearance of cellulite. However, even the most powerful lotions and creams cannot stand up to in-office treatments even after weeks and months of consistent, daily application. 

Weight Loss & Muscle Gain

Extra pounds in the thighs and buttocks can make cellulite more noticeable. Maintaining a healthy weight can improve skin laxity and decrease a patient’s odds of developing cellulite dimples over time. Losing weight and gaining muscle can make the skin look more toned, smoother and firmer.

For some, losing weight without increasing muscle mass can make cellulite more visible. 

The Following Treatments Are Often Paired With Cellulite Treatments For Greater Results: 

  • Morpheus8 to improve skin laxity (excess skin is sometimes mistaken for cellulite) 
  • Cosmetic Sclerotherapy to address the appearance of varicose/spider veins 
  • CoolSculpting to reduce fat cells in a problematic area 
  • CoolTone to rapidly tone the legs, buttocks abdomen and thighs 
  • Liposuction to surgically remove fat from the legs, thighs and buttocks

The Option Our Experts Have Found To Be Most Effective: Avéli®

After years of research, there is one solution that we can confidently say outperforms the rest of the field: Avéli Cellulite Treatments. The results can be seen instantly and the results are permanent. It works incredibly well for deeper, more defined dimples – which is exactly where at-home or superficial modalities fall short because the banding runs deeper in the subcutaneous tissue. 

“With Avéli, you can confirm in real time you are treating the septae that are causing the deformity.” 

-Stacie Isler, PA-C

Other solutions on the market either aren’t aggressive enough to resolve the root issue or are too aggressive and essentially pulverize the skin. Avéli is that perfect balance. It’s not as relaxing as some of the lesser effective procedures a patient can choose from but the downtime isn’t nearly as rough as with some of the more effective options on this list. 

Stacie Isler, MS, PA-C Author Bio

About The Author

Stacie Isler, MS, PA-C, is the Patient Care Director at Donaldson Plastic Surgery. She routinely performs successful cellulite treatments along with a host of additional non-surgical treatments including Filler Injections, Botox and more. Stacie brings more than 15 years of plastic surgery experience and aesthetic treatment knowledge to the team while also helping the entire practice research the best new services to adopt. She was also the first cosmetic professionals in Ohio trained to perform Avéli

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