Lipolysis treatments – what they are and how they work

Cellulite is the unsightly dimpling and lumpiness of the skin overlying the thighs, buttocks, and hips, where fat is under the influence of oestrogen.

This makes the skin look padded or like an orange peel. It is caused by architectural changes in the boundary between the dermis and epidermis of the skin, which means some fat is irregularly squeezed out into connective tissue layers. It occurs in almost all women to a greater or lesser extent.

Although liposuction remains one of the most popular cosmetic procedures performed, a number of medical alternatives have been reported to remove or reduce cellulite.

These include:

  • Laser-assisted Liposuction (e.g. smartLipo)
  • Low Frequency Ultrasound
  • Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Therapy (EPAT)
  • Cryolipolysis (fat freezing)
  • Multiple injections (known as Mesotherapy)

LASER light can be used to target excess adipose tissue (fat tissues) in order to contour areas such as the neck, jowls, under the chin, arms, abdomen and thighs.

The laser wavelength is specifically adjusted to specifically break down the membranes of fat cells (known as adipocytes).

As the vaporised fat cells are broken down and removed, the leads stimulate the production of new collagen which also tightens the skin to reduce the uneven appearance of cellulite.

To treat cellulite, the laser beam is fired through a small needle that is injected just below the surface of the skin in fatty areas.


Low Frequency Ultrasound is also able to treat fat deposits under the skin.

Commonly known as “liposuction without surgery” or ultrasonic cavitation, ultrasound energy is used to liquefy fats cells.

Like laser, ultrasound treatment also delivers heat to the dermis, but in this case through the use of acoustic energy.

Again, the frequency is adjusted to specifically liquefy fat cells.


Another take is Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Therapy (EPAT).

EPAT delivers high pressure acoustic energy into the skin.

This energy stimulates remodelling of the skin with increased synthesis of collagen and elastin.


Instead of heating the skin, fat cells may also be very sensitive to cold.

Cryolipolysis (also referred to as “fat freezing” and “cool sculpting”) uses controlled cooling to freeze the fat deposits without damaging the overlying skin.

The frozen fat cells are killed by the cold and then reabsorbed by the body.


Mesotherapy is a procedure where fat-dissolving chemicals are injected under the skin for the purpose of shaping or improving appearance.

A number of different chemicals may be used including homeopathic and herbal medications, pharmaceuticals, vitamins and minerals.

However, the active ingredients are essentially detergents like deoxocholate, which liquefy the excess fat to allow the body to then reabsorb it. For skin rejuvenation, microscopic injections of the mesotherapy formula are injected into the dermis.

Much like volumisers, it is thought that the formula stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, which helps to strengthen and support ageing skin. Although widely used as an alternative to liposuction and cellulite reduction, mesotherapy is not standardized and has not been approved by regulatory authorities.


Lipolysis Treatments – Other Posts

Cosmetic Use & Who should not undergo Treatment?
Preparation and Expectation
Recovery, Results, Safety and Side Effects
Cost and Medical Cover

Lipolysis – Sclerotherapy Treatments

Sclerotherapy – How Does It Work?
Preparation, Expectation, & Who should not undergo Treatment?
Recovery, Aftercare, Safety and Side Effects
Cost and Medical Cover

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