Can Liposuction Remove Cellulite?

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    Did you know that the overwhelming majority of women experience cellulite at some point in their life? 4 in 5 women report what is known as the cottage cheese like dimpling of the skin that is synonymous with cellulite at some stage in their lives, often in problem areas such as around the waist or thighs. No other issue is quite as ubiquitous in the world of plastic surgery, and many misconceptions are held by patients when it comes to what is happening beneath the skin, especially on the options for when it comes time to treat cellulite.

    Can liposuction remove cellulite? This is a question we hear quite frequently at our plastic surgery clinic in Dubai and let's face it, cellulite is an issue that most women think about at some point in life. Every day we see a new advertisement for a laser treatment that promises to improve the appearance of cellulite in specific treatment areas along with loose skin.

    In our experience, most clients who ask us this are motivated by a desire to obtain a deeper understanding about plastic surgery and particularly what a liposuction is, what the effects can be and whether the procedure can have an added 'bonus' effect of dealing with cellulite.

    What Are the Topics Covered in This Article?

    In this article I will help to explain what exactly cellulite is, how it can affect your body type, whether cellulite is affected by fat whilst also providing a more detailed insight into what exactly liposuction procedures are used for and why the idea liposuction eliminate cellulite is not based on any scientific reality at all.

    In addition I will look at the potential treatments for Cellulite that include:

    What Causes Cellulite?

    Most women will notice cellulite appearing after the age of 25, and whilst you may hear that it is caused by fat this is actually not true. Cellulitis is a harmless skin condition that creates a lumpy dimpled appearance for skin particularly in areas such as the thighs, buttocks and stomach area.

    The real underlying cause of the appearance of cellulite can be summarised as being caused by the links between the outer layer of your skin, the subcutaneous fat cells and connective tissue. The severity in the appearance of cellulite can be influenced by several lifestyle factors that any plastic surgeon will tell you about, these include:

    • Changes in Fat Deposits
    • Unhealthy Skin, Sagging Skin or Thin Skin
    • Smoking
    • Lack of overall fitness and health
    • Bad diet

    It is important to understand the layers of your skin, particularly the way in which connective tissue underneath the outer layer of your epidermis can influence the appearance of the skin above it. Factors like weight or your overall health, fitness even your Body Mass Index (BMI) do not really change the underlying fact that fat cells store energy and they are located under the skin. These fat cells and their behaviour can be influenced by your body's hormone levels and environmental conditions such as diet and lifestyle.

    Measuring Cellulite & Categorisations

    Cellulite refers to the deposits of fat surrounded by what are called fibrous connective tissue, giving the skin a puckered cottage cheese-like appearance. Cellulite can be categorised in 4 categories:

    • Category 1 - At this stage the cellulite is not really visible to the naked eye but the change has started in the underlying tissue.
    • Category 2 - At this stage cellulite is only visible when the skin in the area is taut, so when the skin is squeezed or the muscles are being contracted, however when the skin is at rest there is no cellulite visible.
    • Category 3 - At this stage the cellulite is clearly visible when the skin is at rest.
    • Category 4 - The maximum categorisation, the cellulite is much more pronounced when the skin is at rest.

    What Is The Nürenberger-Müller Scale?

    Cellulite can also be measured by using the Nürenberger-Müller scale, which classifies cellulite as below according to the severity:

    Steps that Anyone can Take to Reduce Cellulite

    Whilst a lot of patients walk through the doors of our plastic surgery clinic in Dubai thinking that plastic surgery can solve all sorts of problems, the truth is that cellulite treatments require more than simply removing unwanted fat. In fact as we have seen from the structure of the skin, excess fat only compounds cellulite and skin dimpling, however these fat deposits are not the cause of cellulite.

    There are some steps that you can take to reduce cellulite in your daily lifestyle and whilst cosmetic surgery is the most commonly researched way people choose to approach cellulite treatment, looking at the interplay of fat storage, your blood and oxygen circulation and the helath of your skin can lead to improvements in the appearance of cellulite and cellulite dimples.

    Tracking your activity level using a fitness app or a smart watch can be the first step in improving your activity level. One of the best ways to remove excess appearance of cellulite is to increase you activity levels, in fact this is one of the ways our patients see the best results, due to the knock on effect for blood vessels, cardiovascular health and weight loss.

    Many patients start to feel increasingly self conscious when cellulite occurs, many women have been motivated to get rid of cellulite after gaining weight. The extra weight can sometimes cause the dimpled effect of cellulite to be more pronounced, and after this extended period of lockdowns and lack of mobility it is a phenomenon that we are seeing becoming increasingly common. Often, plastic surgery is seen as a primary response to these types of body changes.

    Losing weight can help reduce the pressure that is causing the cellulite to appear more pronounced in body areas, however most people seeking permanent results, particularly older women, want to do more than slightly improve the appearance, especially in targeted areas that tend to be exposed when wearing certain clothing or short skirts, like the thighs or waist. Weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight can only help your overall health and wellbeing, as well as giving your body the best chance to address the underlying causes that can exarcerbate the appearance of cellulite.

    Proper nutrition is also something that is hardly discussed when it comes to treatment options for cellulite, ensuring that your diet features fruit and vegetables rich in anti-oxidants, such as blueberries, whole grains and healthy fats. Having a healthy diet can help to reduce the inflammation and reduce water retention, which can all help to elimnate cellulite and reduce the dimpled skin.

    Looking at incorporating some collagen-boosting supplements into your daily lifestyle can help your body by providing the needed nutrients to maintain healthy fibrous bands and tissue.

    On average, collagen production reduces an average of one percentage point each year of your life, so supplementing your diet with nutrients designed to enhance and increase collagen production only makes more sense as we grow older.

    Can Liposuction Remove Cellulite?


    As we have discussed the presence of fat, even stubborn fat deposits, do not cause cellulite. Being overweight does exacerbate the appearance of cellulite and whilst a plastic surgery procedure like liposuction or tummy tuck might remove fat deposits, it will do little to address the causes of cellulite, including sagging skin.

    Liposuction is a common cosmetic surgery procedure that we undertake very frequently, as a treatment it can help achieve body contouring and body sculpting goals. Liposuction can be used as part of procedures like the tummy tuck, which is carried out by a board certified surgeon. Like any elective plastic surgery procedure, a board certified surgeon Dr is the best placed person to provide you with specific advice, particularly about side effects, to manage your expectations about liposuction and any other treatment for cellulite.


    Liposuction is often used in fat transfer operations, where a board certified plastic surgeon removes stubborn fat deposits and transfers them to other areas of the body to achieve body goals like breast augmentation using natural fat tissue. The benefits of liposuction is that it can be used to reduce the appearance of excess fatty tissue in specific treatment area.

    However the liposuction procedure is not a treatment that will eliminate cellulite. The mainstay of our mommy makeover procedure and body lift, liposuction can be used as part of a tummy tuck or in fat transfers which are used for body sculpting and body contouring.

    For those seeking to avoid plastic surgery, laser energy and sound waves are two treatment vectors used in the less invasive options available. These options include laser treatments like a laser assisted liposuction, acoustic wave therapy and ultrasound-based skin lifts, which are often used by those who wish to avoid the downtime that comes with a full liposuction procedure. We always advise patients to research the medical device and procedure used, particularly when it comes to non-invasive plastic surgery procedure and severe cases, patients should look at official sources such as the US Food & Drug Administration.

    Liposuction achieves the removal of fat from targeted areas in your body, the most popular being a tummy tuck and the thighs. Big weight changes can cause loose skin and sagging skin, the implications of any treatment are always laid out in the initial consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon.

    So whilst liposuction is not a great treatment for for cellulite removal, it can help with body contouring and is an effective treatment for the removal or transfer of unwanted pockets of fat. In fact fat grafting, or the use of small pockets of fat cells removed in a liposuction procedure in other areas of the body or to help with wound care, is increasingly popular amont women all over the world. In a minimal number of treatment sessions (often only one), liposuction can achieve a lifetime of physique and body sculpting goals.

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