The use of a massage device was shown to reduce the appearance of cellulite in a high percentage of women for up to six months, according to a recent study.

“Evaluation of a Noninvasive, Dual-Wavelength Laser-Suction and Massage Device for the Regional Treatment of Cellulite” involved 20 women with mild to moderate cellulite on their lateral thighs.

The women were evaluated prior to the intervention, with assessments including weight, body mass index, body fat percentage and a subject questionnaire. In addition, standard digital photos, as well as VECTRA three-dimensional images, of each participant were taken.

Researchers used a massage device called SmoothShapes to address the cellulite on the subjects’ thighs twice a week for four weeks. These 15-minute sessions were performed by the same nurse practitioner. The specific area of focus on the thigh was based on the individual subject’s region of greatest concern.

During this intervention, the massage device began at a medium intensity, and then this was increased to maximum as tolerated. After each session, the subjects wore over-the-counter compressive garments for one day.

The women were again evaluated and photographed one, three and six months after their final session for the study. In order to be considered “improved,” both thighs needed to be visually smoother in contour when observed in the VECTRA three-dimensional images.

According to the study’s authors, the VECTRA device depicts skin contour independent of lighting, whereas flash photography can flatten the appearance of surface skin texture.

Results of the research revealed 94 percent of the subjects felt the cellulite on their thighs had been improved via intervention with the SmoothShapes massage device. The patient questionnaires also reported 95 percent of the subjects felt the intervention was uncomfortable during the first session. Less discomfort was reported the second week. This tenderness was related to the intensity of suction.

Analysis of the VECTRA images showed 82 percent improvement at one month, 76 percent improvement at three months and 76 percent improvement at six months.

“In general, patients who had a greater pretreatment deformity and a cellulite pattern of specific depressions and bulges compared with diffuse surface rippling had more obvious post-treatment visual improvement,” state the study’s authors.

Author: Michael I. Kulick, M.D., D.D.S.

Source: Originally published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (2010).