Age-associated skin laxity contributes to worsening of cellulite appearance. This study evaluated the effects of microfocused ultrasound with visualization (MFU-V; Ultherapy) in combination with diluted calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA; Radiesse) on cellulite appearance and on neocollagenesis.
Methods: Twenty women (18-55 years old) with skin laxity and moderate-to-severe cellulite on the buttocks and thighs were retrospectively enrolled. MFU-V was applied using 4 and 7 MHz transducers (25 lines/transducer/site) and immediately followed by subdermal CaHA injection (1 ml/buttock or thigh). Photographs at baseline and 90 days were assessed by 2 independent, blinded evaluators using a 5-item cellulite severity scale. One subject scheduled for thighplasty received treatment with 6 different CaHA dilutions (0.3 ml/5 cm2) followed by MFU-V. Tissue specimens from each dilution site were examined under polarized light microscopy to assess neocollagenesis.
Results: Both evaluators reported statistically significant improvements compared with baseline for each item on the cellulite severity scale (P < 0.001) with a 4.5-point improvement in mean overall score (P < 0.001) after a single MFU-V/CaHA treatment. At 90 days, histologic analysis showed peak neocollagenesis in samples treated with the 1:1 dilution, whether with CaHA alone or in combination with MFU-V. The highest conversion of collagen type III into collagen type I at month 3 occurred in samples injected with 1:1 and 1:0.6 CaHA dilutions without subsequent MFU-V treatment. Both procedures were well tolerated, and subject satisfaction was high.
Conclusions: Combination treatment with MFU-V and diluted CaHA is effective for improving skin laxity and the appearance of cellulite on the buttocks and upper thighs.