BACKGROUND: Cellulite is characterized by alterations in the relief of the skin surface. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is recognized as a reliable technique for measuring adipose volume according to body site and for the visualization of the subcutaneous structures.
OBJECTIVE: To compare subcutaneous tissue in areas with and without cellulite on the buttocks of same subjects using a noninvasive technique.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: Thirty female patients with cellulite on the buttocks underwent MRI. An area with cellulite and another without cellulite on the contralateral buttock were selected. Two soft gelatin capsules of different sizes were used as skin markers to differentiate the areas with and without cellulite.
RESULTS: Fibrous septa were visualized in 96.7% of the area with cellulite depressions; most of them were ramified (73.3%) and presented a high-intensity signal on T2 images (70%). All fibrous septa found in the examined areas were perpendicular to the skin surface. The average fibrous septa thickness was 2.18 +/- 0.89 in the area with cellulite and 0.27 +/- 0.64 in the area without cellulite.
CONCLUSION: Results of the MRI analysis showed that cellulite depressions on the buttocks were significantly associated with the presence of underlying fibrous septa.
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