Laser promises dramatic improvement for cellulite patients

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by DEBBIE DENMON

WFAA

Posted on March 6, 2012 at 11:15 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 6 at 11:29 PM

IRVING — Christine Delatorre works out all the time. She's not overweight, but she desperately wants to improve her backside.

Let's just say she'll admit she does not give J.Lo a run for her money in the bum department.

"Every woman knows about it; it's horrible," Delatorre said.

We are talking about cellulite. Some say it gives skin an "orange peel" or "cottage cheese" effect.

No matter how you describe it, 85 percent of women 25 and older have it.

"It impacts your confidence when you feel that you are not physically attractive in that specific area," Delatorre said.

So, she headed to the FemSmart Clinic in Irving to try a brand-new cellulite treatment that just hit the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The FDA cleared it for use a month ago.

It's called Cellulaze, and Dr. Charles Powell in Irving is one of the few doctors in the country to have the laser. It emits a 3-D light that penetrates under the skin, aiming to smooth out the problem area in a single treatment.

"We are not just treating them for six visits and then having to see them monthly or quarterly after that to maintain it," Dr. Powell said. "We've seen great results two years out."

Dr. Ricardo Meade, a plastic surgeon at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, is skeptical. "Many of my patients have gone to try different lasers for cellulite, and a few thousand dollars later they are disappointed," he said.

Dr. Meade says there is no cure for cellulite, but treating it has become a billion-dollar industry.

A Cellulaze session costs between $2,500 and $15,000 depending upon the size of the area being treated.

We looked at before and after pictures of several women in New York who gave it a try in a clinical trial. Six months to even a year-and-a-half later, those women had remarkable results.

The laser boasts an 80 percent approval rate from patients, removing most dimples, with effectiveness varying from person to person.

"A lot of these lasers definitely make changes, so you see this pre-imposed on the photos," Dr. Meade said. "There's no question that there's changes, but it's typically just swelling at best. And later on, everything comes back once the swelling goes away."

Dr. Powell maintains there's more to it than that.

"It's like having your sheets wrinkled underneath the bedspread, okay? And up until this point we've been trying to spread the sheets out by patting out the bedspread, and it just hasn't worked that well," Dr. Powell explained. "With this procedure, we're actually getting to those sheets."

While Dr. Powell admits there is no cure for cellulite, he believes this laser treatment is groundbreaking. "It's the Cadillac... it's the Corvette... there's nothing else like it," he said.

There are a lot of other and more inexpensive cellulite treatments on the market, but Christine Delatorre is willing to try one of the most expensive — Cellulaze — banking on improving her self-esteem.

"I'm anticipating walking by a mirror and not going 'Ewww!'" she said. We plan to check back with Christine in three months to see if Cellulaze did the trick for her.

E-mail ddenmon@wfaa.com

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