Treatment for cellulite is a multibillion dollar industry of unproved therapies, according to Matthew M. Avram, MD.

Some treatments that claim to lessen cellulite may have produced minor, temporary improvements in flawed studies, but none has been proven to be truly effective, said Dr. Avram of Harvard University and director of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Dermatology Laser and Cosmetic Center, Boston.

There is no medical reason to treat cellulite, which is normal in the female dermis and is not associated with morbidity or mortality. Many women care about it anyway "because every tabloid likes to show celebrities and their cellulite running around in Hawaii," he says at the seminar sponsored by Skin Disease Education Foundation (SDEF).

Many physicians and patients misunderstand cellulite, which is simply gender-related differences in the structure of subcutaneous fat lobules and the connective tissue septae that divide them, usually in the thigh area, Avram says. The treatment industry capitalizes on this ignorance.

"We need to educate our patients that cellulite is a totally normal condition" and treatments are at best mildly helpful for a short period of time, he says. "We need to be skeptical as well. There is a consistent history of inflated and unsubstantiated claims of success."

Fat removal technologies have no effect on cellulite because fat and cellulite are distinct. Weight and cellulite are unrelated. Cellulite is nearly universal in postpubertal females even if they are lean, but most obese males do not have cellulite unless they have androgen deficiency. "Exercise doesn’t really help it," he explains.


[Source: Internal Medicine News]