Cellulite is the appearance of dimpling and textural irregularities, which occurs on the buttocks, thighs and occasionally abdomen of women. Infrequently men will develop cellulite. Cellulite can occur in patients who are under, at or above their goal weight and affects all races and ethnicities. It is estimated that over 85% of women over the age of 21 are afflicted with cellulite. Predisposing factors include increased fatty tissue, increased age, female gender, heredity, and race. These predisposing factors are not possible to change and so there is no prevention of the formation of cellulite.
Many factors contribute to the development of cellulite including disrupted lymphatic drainage and circulation, long term inflammation, thinning of the epidermis, increased fatty tissue, and estrogen. Skin affected by cellulite also has thick, collagen bands oriented vertical to the skin called septae. These bands pull down on the skin surface to produce the appearance similar to quilted stitching on a mattress or an orange peel.