What is Cellulite Surgery?

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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 30 August 2019
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Cellulite surgery is often used to treat cellulite, a dimpling of the skin on the thighs, abdomen, and buttocks that occurs mostly in women, and is relatively common. Cellulite usually occurs when pockets of fat develop beneath the skin. The fibrous connective tissue that attaches the skin to the muscle generally fails to stretch to accommodate these pockets of fat, leading to a dimpled, orange-peel appearance in these areas. Cellulite is not necessarily linked to weight gain or obesity, and is considered very common among adult women. Cellulite surgery treatments include liposuction, fat injection, mesotherapy, and subcision surgery.

While liposuction may be generally used to remove excess body fat, it is not often used to remove cellulite. Liposuction can remove excess fat from beneath the skin, but it can also make skin appear more uneven. For this reason, newer treatments are often used for cellulite.

Fat injections and subcision surgery are among the less invasive cellulite surgery options. Fat injections administered by a cosmetic surgeon can effectively fill in the gaps and smooth skin topography. The effects of fat injection surgery aren't usually permanent, however, since the fat generally reabsorbs into the body. Subcision surgery, in which an instrument known as a dermasector is inserted beneath the skin and used to cut the connective tissue that causes cellulite skin dimpling, may be a more effective long-term cellulite surgery.


Mesotherapy is among the most recently developed surgical treatments for cellulite. Mesotherapy involves injecting a chemical solution into the cellulite area. These chemicals are intended to dissolve the fat beneath the skin, helping to reduce the appearance of cellulite and smooth the skin.

RejuveSkin® is another newer cellulite surgery that combines the principles of mesotherapy with those of subcision surgery. The RejuveSkin® method typically requires that the excess fat be removed from the problem area via liposuction. This fat is not discarded, but is saved and treated with a special chemical process. A dermasector is then normally used to sever the connective tissue responsible for the dimpling. Afterward, the removed fat is normally replaced.

A belt lipectomy, or lower body lift, may be one of those most invasive and risky cellulite surgery procedures. The incision for this surgery generally wraps around the entire torso, allowing the surgeon to lift the skin of the entire lower body, including the thighs, buttocks, and abdomen. This surgery is intended to tighten and smooth the skin of the problem areas, and can improve the appearance of cellulite. It is, however, a serious procedure that carries heavy risks and usually causes significant scarring.


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