New and Improved Laser and Light Treatments Take Aim at Cellulite & Fat

Aesthetics Hub | 25 Apr 2014

As more people look for ways to turn back the clock or improve their appearance, dermatologists are pioneering many of the newest aesthetic laser technologies – from erasing fine lines and wrinkles to reducing fat or cellulite. 

Before considering any cosmetic procedure, dermatologists recommend that consumers do their homework to better understand the best technologies available for their specific needs.


Information provided by board-certified dermatologist M. Christine Lee, MD, FAAD, assistant clinical professor of dermatologic surgery at the University of California, San Francisco and director of a private practice in Walnut Creek, Calif.


Cellulite and excess fat are two of the biggest hurdles that many women face in their quest to improve their appearance. While diet and exercise can help reduce body fat, cellulite is resistant to these types of lifestyle changes. Unique to women, Dr. Lee estimates that cellulite affects 80 percent of women regardless of their body weight.

Until now, no cellulite treatment could dramatically change the appearance of cellulite, and any results were temporary.

1440 Nanometer Laser 

• First minimally invasive laser treatment to treat cellulite approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2012 and provides long-lasting, dramatic results.

• Surgical procedure involves inserting a tiny fiber optic beneath the skin to break the fiber bands responsible for cellulite in women. The laser releases the skin and allows the depressions (or dimpling that gives cellulite its appearance) to rise to the surface of the skin. Once the laser beam severs the fiber bands, the blood supply to this area is cut off so the bands do not regrow, and collagen production is stimulated.

• Multiple areas can be treated with only one session, and the most common treatment areas are the buttocks, hips and thighs.

• Some downtime is required after the procedure, due to bruising and swelling that can take one to two weeks to resolve.


• Non-invasive procedure approved by the FDA to remove localized areas of fat in the lower abdomen and along the sides of the body.

• Works by freezing the lipids in fat cells, which then slowly dissolve without injuring surrounding tissues.

• Typically, three treatments are needed to dissolve an inch of fat.

• Results are not immediate, as it takes three to four months to see a noticeable improvement.


• Non-invasive procedure approved by the FDA uses high-intensity, focused ultrasound energy to destroy or melt targeted fat without harming surrounding skin.

• Used to reduce fat bulges in the abdomen, with the average reduction of about an inch per treatment session. Can also be used on the thighs or other large areas of fat.

• Results are not immediate, requiring two to three months.

• An added benefit is noticeable improvement in the appearance of cellulite in the months following the procedure.

These newer treatments provide alternatives to liposuction, which has been used to remove pockets of fat for decades but is more invasive and requires more downtime.