Cellulaze Patient Review - Durham, NC

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I had Cellulaze and am pleased with the results. I...

I had Cellulaze and am pleased with the results. I am not one to buy into gimmicks, and this is the only treatment that I have ever tried for cellulite. I based the decision on the available trial data and the mechanism of action of the laser (i.e. "cutting" the bands that contribute to the lumpy texture of cellulite.) I still have some bruising at about 2 weeks out, but it has diminished enough for me to see results. Hopefully, these results will last!

Here is a summary of the experience:

Pre-procedure - the surgeon and his staff were very informative and comprehensive regarding preparation. I started a prophylactic antibiotic the night before and continued that for 7 days. Avoided alcohol and NSAIDs for a few weeks prior to the procedure.

Procedure - I took a sedative, pain medication and anti-nausea medication about an hour prior to the procedure (while in the clinic.) The sedative pretty much knocked me out... I don't recall many details after taking it, including having my legs marked up with three colors of Sharpie pen. During the procedure, the only discomfort was the injection of the lidocaine to numb my legs. I did not feel anything from the laser itself and I think I drifted in and out of sleep. After the procedure was over, the nurse helped me into the compression garment and I was taken home by my designated driver.

Post-procedure - I did not need to take any pain medication after the procedure. Not even Tylenol. The only discomfort felt like my muscles feel after a hard weight training work out - soreness that comes when I use the muscles to walk up stairs, etc. The drainage from the incisions lasted about 24 hours and I had to ensure that I had towels under me when I was laying down. I did spend that first afternoon and evening lying on the sofa and not doing much else. But, I was able to get around just fine the day after.

The bruising was particularly ugly for me, but I bruise very easily, so I was expecting this. The Sharpie markings were annoying and it took about 5 days for those to fade. The compression garment is also a pain, but I have been very compliant with it in order to ensure the best results. The surgeon requires the garment to be worn at all times for 7-10 days, but I plan to wear it until my bruising subsides completely. It is also recommended that a compression garmet is worn during exercise for several weeks, so I purchased an athletic wear garment for that purpose.

Bottom line: I am really surprised by how good the treated areas look. I do not have before and after photos and I am not really the kind of person who will post personal photos on line. I realize that some readers want more proof that the procedure is effective, but I can only offer my assessment as someone who has been through it. I hope this is helpful!

I am now 9 weeks post-procedure and am doing well....

I am now 9 weeks post-procedure and am doing well. I still have some very slight soreness when pressure is applied to my legs, but am almost back to normal. I continue to have slight discoloration under the skin, much like light bruising, but that also continues to improve every day. My small incision scars are dark, but this is consistent with my typcial healing process, and I expect them to fade over the next 3 months or so. My swelling resolved completely by the third week post-procedure.

Bottom Line: I can absolutely state that I see an improvement in the cellulite. As a 45 year old woman, I certainly didn't expect to get the legs of a 22 year old bikini model, but the appearance of the cellulite is definitely improved, especially on the outer thighs.

I've read some reviews that I have found to be somewhat insulting to those of us who have been relatively pleased with our progress, so I feel compelled to respond:

1. I am NOT employed by a cosmetic surgeon and have no relationship with any surgeons or clinics. I do not appreciate the implication that the positive reviews have been posted by individuals who work for the surgeons. My review is meant to provide information and personal experience to other women who are considering making an investment in this relatively new procedure.

2. Prior to undergoing this procedure, I did my research and feel that my expectations were reasonable. If you reviewed the before and after photos provided in the clinical trial submission, you will see that none of the trial subjects ended up completely cellulite free. The goal of the procedure is improvement in the appearance of cellulite. It is important to note that my surgeon was very clear about the fact that results will vary and our hope was for an improvement. I do not know if baseline body type and weight may have an impact on the results, but I would certainly recommend that a prospective patient ask this question before they spend their money on this procedure.

3. The experience of the surgeon is critically important. My surgeon has significant experience with body contouring procedures and I felt comfortable that his experience would provide a good result. Based on the Realself reviews from the other patients in Durham, they also appear satisfied with their procedure. This leads me to believe that our surgeon is, in fact, very qualified and skilled, which translates into patients who are pleased with their results.

4. I stand by my comments regarding the discomfort during and after the procedure. As I noted in my review, the only significant discomfort came during the numbing process, which did not last long. Following that, I did not feel any pain during the procedure. My discomfort following the procedure was mild soreness during walking - similar to muscle soreness after a heavy weight workout (when you haven't trained your legs in months, then you suddenly lift heavy weight!) Pressure applied to the legs would cause discomfort, but I avoided applying any unnecessary pressure. Pain is relative, so I do not doubt that there are other patients out there who have a lower tolerance for pain and discomfort than I do, but I have in no way under reported my level of discomfort.

I have a follow-up appointment in mid-July and will provide another update on the appearance of the cellulite after that appointment. While I was originally not going to post photos, some of the other comments have compelled me to re-consider. So, if I can get the before and after photos from my surgeon, I will post them in July after my last follow-up appointment and "after" photos. Best of luck to all potential Cellulaze patients.

Update now that I am 4 months out on the first...

Update now that I am 4 months out on the first procedure to my front and side thighs and 9 weeks out from my second procedure to back of thighs. NOTE: the second procedure was not a touch up - it was a first procedure to new areas - the back of the thighs - which I did not get done during the initial procedure.

I remain reasonably satisfied with the improvement to the front and side thighs. They appear smoother to me. The only issues are the remaining discoloration under the skin (which has continued to fade, but four months of mottled tone under the skin seems long.) I also noticed some slight increase in spider veins on the side thighs. It is not dramatic, but I wasn't expecting it. The discomfort in the front and side thighs has almost completely resolved, even when pressure is applied. So, for those of you still experiencing tenderness at 1-3 months, hopefully it will eventually resolve as mine did. It has never been painful, just tender and uncomforable when pressure was applied.

Regarding the second procedure to the back of the thighs, I really do not see any improvement at all. I did not experience the mottled discoloration in the back of the thighs, but I do have some residual swelling under the treatment area on the back of one of my thighs. It looks odd. The surgeon expects that it will continue to resolve over time and it does appear to be getting better... slowly. The back of my thighs are still tender to the touch at 9 weeks out, but this is getting better each week. The surgeon did note that the cellulite on the back of the thighs is different than the front and side thighs and it may take longer to improve. I worry that it won't improve at all, but am willing to wait out the full six months before I declare the procedure a failure on the back of my thighs.

I have posted a few photos. The before photos were taken by the surgeon, but we will not be taking the after photos until September when I am four months post the second procedure. However, I have taken some "home" after photos until I can get the official surgeon photos. Just keep in mind that these are not using controlled lighting and the quality is not great.

I have also changed my rating to "Not Sure" - specifically due to the lack of results to the back of the thighs. I feel that my expectations are reasonable - I want some improvement, not perfection. But since there is no improvement to the back of thighs, I cannot really say the entire process has been worth it. I will re-assess after the 6 month mark.

Update 9/18/12: I am posting new photos from the...

Update 9/18/12: I am posting new photos from the surgeon's office (much better than my "homemade" photos, which I have removed.) After looking at the new photos in comparison to the pre-procedure photos, I do think I am now starting to see some improvement in the back thighs. As a reminder, I had the back of the thighs done as a second procedure approximately 3.5 months ago. The surgeon indicated that improvement may be slower for the back of the thighs (for me in particular.) So, hopefully, I will continue to see some additional smoothing. The sides and fronts of my thighs still look good and are definitely improved at 5.5 months post-procedure. So, I am now going to change my worth it rating back to Yes. I don't have perfect thighs, but I do have improved thighs. This procedure may not work well for everyone. But I must say that after seeing the results from Dr. Miller's (Durham, NC) other patients (here on Realself), I do believe that surgical skill plays a huge part in the success of the procedure. At this point, I am also free of any tenderness or discoloration. I still have the incision scars, but they continue to fade. I do have another appointment with the surgeon in two months, so I hope to post more photos with even more improvement. Keeping my fingers crossed!

I have posted some new photos. While I was...

I have posted some new photos. While I was satisfied with the outcome as of my last post, I can now say that I am even more pleased at this stage. I have definitely seen continued improvement since my last appointment with Dr. Miller. As I have said all along, I never expected perfect legs, so perhaps this has made the whole process a more positive experience for me. Given the percentage of improvement, I would absolutely say that this procedure worked for me. Based on the other posts, though, it is clear that this is not for everyone, and the response rate appears to be variable. Therefore, it is important for prospective patients to understand this risk before making the investment. Best of luck to everyone!
Raleigh-Durham Physician

Very attentive staff, highly skilled surgeon, relaxing clinic environment UPDATE 9/18/12: I have continued to have great experiences through all follow-up visits. Dr. Miller and his staff are wonderful.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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