New minimally invasive procedure helps smooth cellulite

LOS GATOS, Calif. (KGO) -- If you're one of the millions of people who have cellulite, it can be particularly frustrating.

That's because diet and exercise don't really target the cause of those cottage cheese like bumps.

Now, a new minimally invasive procedure is promising a solution.

Denise Borgia is in her mid 40s and competes as a cross fit athlete, burning through training routines that would exhaust a 20 year old. "With weights, kettle bells, running," she said.

But even with intense training, there's one opponent she hasn't been able to defeat -- cellulite. "I've had it since I can remember in my early 20s," she said.

Borgia turned to Los Gatos plastic surgeon Jerome Liu, M.D., and a new procedure designed to smooth out the bumpy cellulite. It's called Cellfina.

First it helps to understand that cellulite isn't caused by fat alone, but by thin bands of tissue that pull down the skin like the buttons on a mattress. "So Cellfina works by a controlled release of those tethering bands to allow the skin to spring back to smoothness on the surface," Liu said.

Doctors begin by numbing the area and carefully mapping out the dimples. The Cellfina system uses a vacuum housing to pull up the skin in one target area at a time. With the skin held in place, doctors insert a needle shaped cutting device into the housing, which also serves as a guide.

Over the course of about an hour, Liu, and his partner Dr. Tom Liu, M.D., follow the bumps on the map. Each incision severs only the tether holding down the dimple, with minimal harm to the surrounding tissue. "And patients can come in and have the procedure and go home the same day," Liu said.

He said before and after photos show the smoothing effect. Although the cellulite can come back, the procedure is a one-time treatment that's expected to last several years.

Borgia is hoping the treatment will achieve what all her hard exercise hasn't. "If I've done all this work, and I've done all I can just to smooth out those imperfections, then why not," she said.

The treatments typically cost between $3,500 to $5,000 depending on the size of the area being treated.

Click here for more information about Liu Plastic Surgery.

Written and produced by Tim Didion.
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.