Q: What exactly is Cellulaze™?
Dr Sukkar: Cellulaze™ is an exciting new laser technology, just approved by the FDA for the treatment of cellulite. The cellulite treatments that are currently available were temporary in nature and required multiple sessions. This is the first time that we will have a machine that can deliver a substantial improvement in one treatment session.
Q: How long has Cellulaze™ been used?
Dr Sukkar: This laser was developed over the last 3 years through research and development by Cynosure Laser Corporation at 2-3 treatment centers around the country. Study data shows improvement in the treated areas at 2 years with a 93% patient satisfaction score.
Q: Does this treatment require general anesthesia?
Dr Sukkar: The treatment session can be performed with local anesthesia with the patient wide awake or with light sedation if desired. I have a great deal of experience doing awake liposuction and this knowledge will easily translate to the Cellulaze™ treatment. This means that the treatments will be done on an outpatient basis with essentially no down time.
Q: When will patients see their results?
Dr Sukkar: The results will be evident at 4 weeks and continue to evolve and improve at 3, 6 and 12 months. The patients followed out to 2 years continue to show improvement from the pre-treatment state.
Q: What exactly is cellulite?
Dr Sukkar: Cellulite is a condition that causes dimpling, pits and a cottage cheese like appearance to the skin. It most commonly affects women in the buttock and posterior thigh areas. The laser is geared towards reducing some of the pseudo herniated fat, as well as releasing the vertically oriented fibrous bands traversing from the dermis of the skin down to the muscle layer. These bands are what cause the dimpled, pitted appearance. Finally, the laser allows for thickening of the skin which smooths and tightens at the skin level, adding to the final result.
Q: Will patients legs be completely smooth after treatment?
Dr Sukkar: We tell our patients that they can expect at least a 50-60% improvement in the appearance of their cellulite. This improvement has been documented to persist for at least 2 years. It is possible that they may get more improvement than expected, but we like to err on the conservative side so patients don’t have unrealistic expectations.
Q: Can regular liposuction be done at the same time as Cellulaze™ treatment for cellulite?
Dr Sukkar: Yes. Liposuction with fat removal can be performed at the same time. The Cellulaze™ treatment is at a fairly superficial level, so typically this would be performed after the liposuction portion of the treatment. Of course, we have to assess patients individually and plan their treatment accordingly.
Q: How is Cellulaze™ priced?
Dr Sukkar: Cellulaze™ will be priced based an treatment zones similar to how we price liposuction procedures. Cynosure has facilitated this with a visual aid, which is basically a grid which will be drawn on the patient. Each individual square measures 5×5 cm and a typical zone would have 9-12 squares which is roughly the size of your hand. Within each square, the fatty nodules and the pits are marked to help facilitate the treatment in the recumbent position. A certain amount of energy is then delivered to the square grids with the intent of releasing the pits and flattening the nodules.
Q: Is there a suction or aspiration phase, similar to liposuction?
Dr Sukkar: No, this is more of a treatment at the superficial skin level. Some fat will be emulsified and this represents the pseudo herniated nodules that were marked. At the completion of the procedure, a rolling maneuver to express any residual fluids or emulsified fat is carried out. The tiny access incisions are then left open and will have some drainage for 1-2 days.
Q: Why don’t you close the incisions?
Dr Sukkar: We learned with liposuction, that if the fluids are allowed to drain after the procedure, the patient experiences less pain, swelling and bruising. The same concept applies to Cellulaze™ treatments. The only exception is the bruising and ecchymosis that we tend to see with Cellulaze™. Because the treatment is performed at such a superficial level, and because we are using the 1440nm wavelength laser which is specific for fat and not the 1064nm wavelength laser which is more specific for blood vessels, we tend to see more bruising. This bruising resolves over a 2-3 week time period.
Q: How will the results be evaluated?
Dr Sukkar: Assessment will be documented with 2 dimensional photography at 3, 6, and 12 months. I am excited about this, because it is very precise and shows results that might be washed out by an over- exposed flash with 2-dimensional photography. Fortunately, I just purchased this system to use in breast augmentation in my office to assist patients in visualizing their post operative results as it simulates how they will look with a variety of different implant sizes.
Q: When can patients get their Cellulaze™ treatments?
Dr Sukkar: We are already booking patients for these treatments, even though the machines have yet to be delivered. Our smartlipo™ triplex machine is being upgraded at the moment, and will be ready in about a week. I was one of the first doctors in Texas to get training and am ready to begin patient treatments as soon as the machine arrives. Fortunately, my vast experience with liposuction in general and more specifically with smartlipo™ triplex laser liposuction made the learning curve very short. After I treated 1 or 2 squares, I was ready to go. It really is a very methodical treatment with 3 basic steps to ensure proper energy delivery to the treatment zone.
Q: Any last thoughts?
Dr Sukkar: I can’t wait to get started using this new technology! I think this is going to have a huge impact and an unprecedented demand from patients who would like to smooth out their problem areas. We will be able to offer in one treatment, on an outpatient basis, a significant improvement in their cellulite. This is going to be a game changer. I now have a complete package of therapies available to offer our body contouring patients - Vaser lipo, PowerX lipo, Smartlipo™, and now Cellulaze™ for cellulite. All of these are great technologies, and really complementary modalities which will allow for the customized treatment design for each individual patient.
We will be having our first event of the year 2012, on Thursday, February 23rd. This event will focus on Smartlipo™, Vaser lipo, fat grafting and now Cellulaze™ treatments. This will be a great time to come out and learn about this new technology!
I will be writing informative articles on all of these exciting events in the next few weeks. We will continue to try and educate our patients and separate what is hype from fact. If there are other topics that you would like to see discussed, email us or call us at (281) 940-1535.
From the first time you walk into The Clinic for Plastic Surgery, you’ll know that you are in a place that cares about results. Under the leadership of Dr. Sukkar, The Clinic for Plastic Surgery has become Houston’s plastic surgery center of choice. Experience the difference for yourself by scheduling a consultation today.