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  • One Toronto-based plastic surgeon has examined liposuction followed by bipolar radiofrequency and infrared light treatment to decrease the appearance of cellulite in a pilot project that included 12 patients

TORONTO — Liposuction followed by bipolar radiofrequency and infrared light treatment to decrease the appearance of cellulite has been tested in a pilot project of 12 patients with initial success, according to a plastic surgeon here.

Wayne R. Perron, M.D., a plastic surgeon in private practice based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and affiliated with the Calgary Health Region system, has conducted a small study of patients to determine if combining lipectomy on the lower trunk and extremities, followed by bipolar radiofrequency to treat cellulite, is safe and optimizes appearance compared to one or the other procedure conducted alone. It is estimated that 80 percent of women over the age of 20 have cellulite.

TREATMENT IN SEQUENCE The study used a combined energy technology device called the VelaSmooth (Syneron) approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2005. The device has been used in 10,000 patients to date and features elos technology, a proprietary combined energy technology that its developer claims mobilizes tissue and re-contours the skin surface.

"We wanted to see if using both procedures would be safe," Dr. Perron tells Cosmetic Surgery Times. "The second issue is to determine if doing both procedures would give you a better result than just doing one procedure or another."

CLINICAL RATIONALE Lipectomy stimulates the collagen in the skin, explains Dr. Perron. Undergoing the bipolar radiofrequency and infrared light treatment thickens the collagen fibers in the skin, he adds. The use of the technology subsequent to a lipectomy is an attempt to perpetuate the raised level of collagen in the skin, Dr. Perron notes. "The thinking is that you would get a better long-term result," Dr. Perron says.

Because patients are in a resting phase following liposuction, it's an ideal time to have them undergo biweekly cellulite treatments, Dr. Perron says. Subjects in the study underwent two weekly treatments for eight weeks, totaling 16 treatments of bipolar radiofrequency and infrared light.

The 12 patients in the study underwent the combined procedure on one side of their body whereas the other half of the body was subject to lipectomy alone, serving as a control to the combined procedure. Investigators found that subjects required a month to recover from lipectomy before administering bipolar radiofrequency and infrared light, Dr. Perron notes.

THE MODERATE IDEAL Theoretically, patients could undergo the cellulite treatments in combination with lipectomy, but there would likely be a higher rate of complications and greater blood loss, Dr. Perron explains.

"Some patients will not tolerate this treatment inside of four weeks of having the lipectomy performed," Dr. Perron says. "They simply find it too painful." Dr. Perron describes the ideal candidate as one who has undergone a moderate amount of liposuction, and who presents with a minimal number of stretch marks and a moderate degree of cellulite. "Patients who have a ton of cellulite and many stretch marks would likely not benefit as much as those who have a moderate amount of cellulite and some stretch marks," he says.

TRUE TEST OF SUCCESS Once patients have undergone the procedure, they should drink abundant amounts of water and watch their diet to optimize the visual outcome, Dr. Perron advises.

"The big test will be how these patients look in six months to a year," Dr. Perron says. "Once the patient has made the decision to choose body sculpting, they have to follow through with it. They should drink lots of water and eat a proper diet. Basically, moderation is the key with diet."

Heavy smokers are excluded from having the procedure because their skin circulation is poor, he adds. The elos technology has also been studied in pilot projects to treat stretch marks on the abdomen and thighs, vascular lesions on the legs, and acne vulgaris by targeting the activity of sebaceous glands.

Dr. Perron reports no financial interests related to this article.

For more information
Wayne R. Perron, M.D.
[email protected]

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