New non-invasive procedure offers a shot at reducing cellulite “dimples”

Aug. 2, 2022
a new, non-surgical treatment option in her clinic called QWO for women seeking to reduce the appearance of cellulite.
QWO is a new, non-surgical treatment option for women seeking to reduce the appearance of cellulite, which is caused by fibrous bands that attach to the deep surface of the skin. Photo: Getty Images.

If you dislike wearing swimsuits or shorts – or avoid wearing them altogether – because of cellulite, you’re not alone. Cellulite is so common that nearly 90% of women will have some visible skin dimpling during their lifetime.

The occurrence and degree of cellulite is not dependent on a woman’s weight, fitness level or eating habits, says Dr. Rebekah Zaluzec, a board-eligible plastic and reconstructive surgeon at UCHealth Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Clinic – Cherry Creek, located at UCHealth Cherry Creek Medical Center.

Cellulite is caused by fibrous bands that attach to the deep surface of the skin, pulling it down and resulting in characteristic dimples. As we age, our skin becomes thinner, which can make cellulite more visible. Women are biologically predisposed to cellulite, unlike men whose fat, skin and connective tissues are distributed differently.

Zaluzec now offers a new, non-surgical treatment option in her clinic called QWO for women seeking to reduce the appearance of cellulite. QWO is the first and only FDA-approved injection for cellulite and is currently available to treat the buttocks area.

QWO (collagenase clostridium histolyticum-aaes) injections work by weakening, softening, and breaking up the fibrous bands in the affected area to create a smoother appearance of the skin. Prior to cosmetic use, QWO has been used to safely and effectively treat a number of medical conditions including Dupuytren’s disease (caused from a contracture of the tendon’s collagen bands in hands) and Peyronie’s disease (a contraction of the penis).

Plastic surgery expert Dr. Rebekah Zaluzec has joined the UCHealth Cherry Creek Medical Center
Dr. Rebekah Zaluzec is an expert at plastic and reconstructive surgery. She can also help with QWO, a new, non-invasive treatment to reduce cellulite. Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon for UCHealth.

To achieve the best results for cellulite, patients typically require a series of three to four injections spaced about three weeks apart, with the full process spanning approximately 21 weeks. Most will notice improvements around the 10-week mark.

“Of course, each patient will respond to this medication differently, so results might be different from patient to patient,” Zaluzec said.

Since QWO is non-invasive, there’s no downtime.

“Some patients experience some soreness after the injection, but have not found it limiting,” Zaluzec said.

Bruising at the injection site is common, so Zaluzec suggests patients consider scheduling the treatment to begin in the fall or winter months. Other potential side effects of treatment are typically minor and may include some temporary pain, swelling, redness, itching, a warm sensation. Discoloration near the injection site has also occurred in some patients.

Learn more about reducing cellulite with non-invasive QWO

Want to learn more about QWO and how it could reduce the appearance of your cellulite? Reach out to  Dr. Zaluzec at UCHealth Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Clinic – Cherry Creek.

At the end of the treatment, patients should expect to see a reduction, but not complete removal, of their cellulite dimples. In clinical studies, most women reported up to two “grades” of improvement of cellulite, which range from Grade 0, no cellulite, to Grade 3, visible cellulite while lying down and standing.

“Ultimately, QWO is very well tolerated and a great solution for unwanted cellulite,” Zaluzec said. “While we don’t yet have the perfect treatment for cellulite, QWO is a great option to help to decrease the fibrous banding which is an integral component of visible cellulite.”

About the author

Jessica Ennis is a freelance writer and editor based in Denver. She loves nothing more than telling the stories of people, organizations and businesses focused on the greater good of their communities and the world around them. She’s devoted much of her career to nonprofit health care organizations. Jessica moved to Denver in 2010, after nine years working in the Office of News and Public Affairs for Vanderbilt University and its medical center in Nashville, Tennessee. She then spent five years as the communications manager for Children’s Hospital Colorado before starting her own writing and editing business in 2015. Jessica and her husband, Chris, have two sons, Reed and Dean, as well as a new addition to the family -- a rescue dog named Chewbacca.