The search for an appropriate treatment for cellulite has been going on for decades. This paper presents the use of shock waves in cellulite therapy.
Results show that the use of shock waves distinctly reduces thigh circumference and renders the skin firmer and smoother.
In cellulite, weak connective tissue fibres cause bulging of the septa of the subcutaneous adipose tissue – primarily in the thighs, upper arms, hips, buttocks, and abdomen. This causes dimpling of the skin surface. Cellulite is found almost exclusively in women since men have a different connective tissue structure in adipose tissue. In overweight persons and/or those with weak connective tissue, cellulite can already manifest in young adulthood;
with increasing age, varying degrees of cellulite are found in 80 to 90 percent of women.
Radial shock wave therapy (RSWT) is a new treatment method. Radial shock waves are high-energy acoustic waves that are pneumatically generated outside of the body. They are applied to human tissue via the skin surface near the affected area, and they then spread radially (spherically. This radial spreading makes the treatment feel particularly comfortable. After treatment, the tissue around the affected area reacts to the shock wave with increased metabolic activity. The epidermis becomes tighter as a result. In addition, the acoustic waves stimulate circulation, neovascularisation, and the production of collagen. The improved metabolism and circulation speed the drainage of lymphatic fluid.
The Z-Wave shock wave therapy system (Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH, Neu-Ulm, Germany) was used for shock wave treatment. The same system is used in physical therapy and orthopaedics under the name enPuls.
Two applicator heads, a large one (40 mm diameter) and a small one (25 mm diameter), were available for therapy. The left side of the body was always treated with the large head and the right side with the small head.
Ultrasound gel (Sono Plus) was used as a coupling medium to ensure complete energy transmission. To avoid soiling of the handpiece, a protective silicone cap was applied to the applicator head.
Different frequencies were available: The recommended frequencies were 10 Hz and 16 Hz, and their selection was determined by the sensation that each patient reported.
The shock wave can be emitted at four different energy levels – levels II and III were recommended here for pain-free therapy.
For each treatment session, 2500 to 4000 shocks were recommended.
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