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A study evaluating the safety and effectiveness of the VelaSmoothâ„¢ laser system has shown that a combination of radiofrequency energy, infrared light and mechanical manipulation can provide positive results in the treatment of cellulite.
"We believe this is the best system out there," says Neil S. Sadick, M.D., clinical professor of dermatology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University.
"It gives the most reproducible results of any technology available today for the treatment of cellulite - and, it's user-friendly," Dr. Sadick tells Dermatology Times.
The reduction in the amount of infrared light that is administered to patients reduces the chances of unfavorable outcomes, such as skin pigmentation and scarring. Because RF energy does not target melanin, heating of the epidermis is considerably lower.
In addition, researchers hypothesize that the heat created by the two energies increases the separation of oxygen from oxyhemoglobin and its diffusion to adipose tissue. The additional oxygen available may help increase fat metabolism.
What's more, the accompanying manipulation of the skin helps improve circulation, while possibly stretching the bands of connective tissue that surround the fat deposits.
Dr. Sadick's study included 16 female subjects of various skin types, ranging in age from 28 to 59 years, with mild to moderate cellulite on their thighs and/or buttocks. Participants had one leg chosen at random for treatment with the VelaSmooth system, while the other leg served as the control.
Subjects were treated two times a week for six weeks for a total of 12 treatments. Each treatment with the VelaSmooth applicator took about 30 minutes, and each zone was treated with three to six passes. A zone was designated as a major surface - posterior thigh, outer thigh and hip, inner thigh, anterior thigh and buttocks.
Results were evaluated using photography, circumferential leg measurements and visual improvement as rated by the investigator. In addition, subjects were asked to keep daily diaries for 14 days.
Of the 16 subjects who completed the study, 65 percent presented a reduction in circumference, and 50 percent had greater than 51 percent improvement by the end of the study.
In particular, 10 subjects (62.5 percent) showed a reduction of between 0.5 cm and 2.5 cm of their treated leg, four (25 percent) showed no change, and two (12.5 percent) showed an increase of 1.5 cm. Overall, the average decrease was 0.5 cm. A statistical analysis of the measurements of the thighs revealed a significant decrease four weeks after treatment (p<0.01).
Twelve of the 16 subjects who completed the study completed at least a portion of their diaries. Of these, six women experienced a desired clinical outcome of mild redness. Seven subjects experienced mild transient discomfort, one had swelling, and five women noted mild bruising. No subjects experienced edema, hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation.
While all patients saw improvement in skin texture with minimal complications, Dr. Sadick says updated treatment protocols suggest that more than 12 treatments are required for maximum benefit. Also, very severe cellulite will tend to respond somewhat less than moderate cellulite, Dr. Sadick notes. Mild to moderate cellulite was the norm in this study.
"We are now in a major pioneering period in noninvasive aesthetic medicine for finding therapeutic solution treatments of cellulite and fat," Dr. Sadick says, "and VelaSmooth presents superior technology and the best outcomes in this setting.
"Hopefully, the next generation technology will give still better results with fewer treatments."