About 95 percent of women have some form of cellulite, and there is little they wouldn’t do or try to get rid of it permanently—or as close to permanently as possible. Cellfina was cleared by the FDA for the long-term improvement in the appearance of cellulite on the buttocks and thighs in August 2015. This approval changed the way we treat cellulite, and made it possible to give certain patients the results they so desire.


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Cellfina is a stabilized-guided subcision system that provides vacuum-assisted control of both the depth and area of tissue release for precise and reproducible results. Cellfina’s proprietary suction applicator draws the buttocks, skin, and fat into the applicator—stretching the fibrous bands and allowing the subcision blade to precisely divide those bands for even subcision. This is how Cellfina shines. It takes subcision to a whole new level by making the process more standardized and its results more reproducible. Unlike other anti-cellulite treatments that require multiple sessions, Cellfina is one and done, and studies have shown that these results can last up to three years.

The study that led to Cellfina’s FDA approval found that cellulite severity was reduced by ≥2 points at two years. Patient satisfaction was 94 percent at one year and 96 percent at two years after just one treatment, and remained high at 93 percent three-years out. We are gaining more and more information about Cellfina thanks to the CRUISE: Cellfina Registry Under Investigation for Safety and Efficacy, a post-marketing endeavor. We learned that anesthetic delivery takes 26 minutes; tissue release takes 21 minutes, and pain during the anesthetic infiltration averages 4.5 (0-10 with 10 being worst), while pain during the vacuum release averages 1.7. There were no serious adverse events noted in CRUISE. In general, the most common side effects reported with Cellfina are soreness, tenderness, and bruising.

Patient Selection Matters

Proper patient selection is the best way to maximize results and patient satisfaction. Cellfina is designed to treat dimple-type cellulite, not the more common garden-variety fine-rippling kind. I also don’t treat mixed cellulite with this device. I believe that Cellfina works best for buttock dimples in women aged 20 through their mid 40s who consume a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and maintain a stable weight. Older patients may have other issues with volume loss and laxity, but if their dimples are a big concern, they too can see nice improvement with Cellfina. Heavier patients who may be interested in treating their dimples can see improvement as well.

Cellulite on the thighs is not as dramatic as it is on the buttock, and it can be harder to treat. I do, however, think you can see some improvement in dimples on thighs, especially the high-posterior thigh.

Game Changer

Cellfina is a very reliable treatment for true dimple cellulite on the buttocks and has a role to play in improving the appearance of cellulite on the thighs. We have never had an anti-cellulite procedure that produces such reliable, consistent and long-lasting results. It has truly been a game changer when used in the right patient. n

Joel L. Cohen, MD is Director, AboutSkin Dermatology and DermSurgery in Greenwood Village and Lone Tree, Colorado and is Chief Editor of DermTube.com. He originally presented this talk during Cosmetic Surgery Forum 2016 in Las Vegas.


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