Cellfina vs. Cellulaze: A Side by Side Comparison

Have you heard about Cellfina, the newest cellulite removal procedure, and only the second procedure that works under the skin to destroy cellulite’s structure at its core? What is Cellfina? And how does it compare to Cellulaze, which has been out on the market since 20121. This article compares Cellfina with Cellulaze to help patients decide which of these cellulite procedures might be right for them.

What is Cellfina?

The Cellfina System from Ulthera is an FDA-cleared, minimally invasive procedure designed to improve the appearance of cellulite2. The one-time procedure lasts at least two years. It works by treating the connective bands called septae throughout fat in the thighs and the buttocks, where cellulite tends to appear. These fibers pull the skin downward, creating a puckering effect.

Once released from tension, the skin releases and appears smooth. Cellfina is a small handheld device that applies suction, grabbing the skin, and then a small blade is inserted that cuts the septae bands by moving from side to side. Cellfina is an in-office procedure using local anesthesia that takes approximately 45 minutes. There is minimal downtime with this procedure, but patients should anticipate swelling, tenderness and bruising. No compression garment is required post procedure.

What is Cellulaze?

Cellulaze from Cynosure was approved by the FDA in 2012. Similar to Cellfina, Cellulaze is a minimally invasive procedure to reduce and eliminate the appearance of cellulite. It does so by leveling cellulite’s structure. Under local anesthesia a thin cannula with a SideLaze laser fiber threaded through it is inserted under the skin. The laser energy melts the bulging pockets of fat that create the lumps in the cellulite, and then the laser cuts the connective bands or septae to release skin that was being pulled downward creating the dimples.

The skin tissue also absorbs the heat from the laser which stimulates collagen and elastin production to thicken and tighten the skin. This procedure is done in-house using local anesthesia and takes approximately 1 hour per area (bi-lateral). Recovery is minimal; patients should anticipate swelling, tenderness and bruising. Most physicians require that a compression garment be worn for 2 weeks post treatment. Results are long lasting3; there is not enough clinical data to call this procedure permanent.

What’s The Difference?

Cellfina, a newer procedure, became available in 2015 while Cellulaze has been eliminating cellulite since 2012. Cellulaze and Cellfina work similarly in that they treat cellulite under the skin rather than topically like most cellulite therapies4.  Both are considered to be effective, offering strong results for patients, but Cellfina is a newer technology with fewer real-world results available.

Cellulaze offers several other benefits that Cellfina doesn’t provide. Because Cellulaze uses thermal (heat) energy rather than simply mechanical interruption to cut the septae, it stimulates collagen production to thicken the dermis and improve elasticity, essentially remodeling the skin after releasing the septae bands.

Over time, cellulite thins the skin from being stretched over the bulges of fat and pulled down by the septae bands, so the laser used with Cellulaze initiates the process to begin skin formation and repair. It also melts fat so that it can be pressed out easily and gently. This reduces the appearance of dimples. Cellulaze has consistently received high satisfaction rates from patients’ years after having their procedure.

Which Treatment is Right for Which Type of Patient?

For patients with questions about either of these procedures, let us know, we’d love to help. A consultation at WIFH is the best way to help decide the best way to treat cellulite.

1. DiBernardo, BE, MD. (2011). Treatment of Cellulite Using a 1440-nm Pulsed Laser with One-Year Follow-Up. Aesthetic Surgery Journal. 2011; 3: Pages 328-341 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21385743
2. Green, JB. (2015). Cellfina observations: pearls and pitfalls. Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery. 2015; 34(3): Pages 144-146. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26682337
3. DiBernardo, Barry E., MD. (2016). A Multicenter Study for Cellulite Treatment Using a 1440-nm Nd:YAG Wavelength Laser with Side-Firing Fiber. Aesthetic Surgery Journal. 2016; 3: Pages 335-343. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5127477/
4. Sadick, N. (2018). Treatment for cellulite. International Journal Women’s Dermatology. 2018; 5: Pages 68-72. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30809581
About the Author

Paul Cox, MD, MS

Dr. Paul Cox MD, MS, is the Medical Director of WIFH. Board Certified in Family Medicine and a Fellow of the American Academy of Anti-Agency Medicine, Dr. Cox has been practicing as a physician for over 20 years.



Is it true that cellulaze does not work on the front of the thighs because the skin is a different texture?

Lindsay Spires

Hi Kim, That has not been our experience. The results that we have seen on the front of the thigh have been amazing and very predictable. The only area that can be a bit of a variable is the buttock area, but even that area sees nice improvement with Cellulaze. We are happy to see you for a consultation to assess your cellulite and give you a realistic idea of the results you would see with this procedure. Please let me know if you have additional questions. We look forward to taking care of you. Thanks, Lindsay


Had celfina done two days ago I had 3 dimples on each side of my tush and I have zero bruising I feel pain but I see no difference yet ?


I have a couple dimples on the back of my thighs and on my butt. The majority of the back of my thighs looks like wrinkled skin. Would celfina or cellulaze be better for me?

Mahtab Aram

Hi, I want to remove cellulite from my inner thighs and buttocks, but I don’t like to have size reduction in these areas.
Is it possible?
Which method better suits my expectations ? Cellfina or Crllulaze?

Lindsay Spires

Neither Cellulaze or Celfina will reduce the circumference of your thigh and/or buttock area. They are not like a liposuction procedure, rather they address only the Cellulite making the area smooth. I believe Cellulaze has the advantage simply because it also provides skin tightening and collagen production in the area which helps to smooth the area.


I am 51 years old 5feet 8inches and weigh 152 pounds I have cellulite in the back of my legs and my behind, what is the best procedure to get rid of it? Since high school my weight has fluctuated 10 pounds, I always been active.

Lindsay Spires

Cellulaze and Cellfina are the only 2 procedures that work under the skin to destruct cellulite, so the results are long term versus topical treatments that offer a temporary result. Our preference is Cellulaze as it also helps to tighten and rethicken the skin. This is actually really important because overtime the cellulite has actually thinned the skin that has been stretched over it. The heat from the Cellulaze laser helps the body produce collagen and elastin (skin fibers) to remodel and smooth the skin.

No confidence

I. I am 59 with severe severe cellulite all over my from beneath my breast to the top of my knees. Deep dimpling. I am 5’4 and 119 . Would either treatment be worth the cost? In your experience would either treatment make a difference?

Lindsay Spires

It really depends. There are 3 grades of cellulite and within those 3 grades there is mild, moderate and severe. It is our opinion that those with grade 3, moderate and severe-the may see some improvement, but it will not be dramatic like it is for grade 2s. You may also be experience an skin laxity issue and that could be making the appearance look worse than it actually is.

Lindsay Spires

Both of these procedures are done under the skin and do require a tiny puncture being placed in the skin. These openings don’t require a suture and heal very nicely. Scarring shouldn’t be a big concern


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