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Searching For The Cellulite Cure

Top models have smooth, sleek, sexy legs, free of the dreaded dimpled skin called cellulite. But cellulite affects 90 percent of American women. So what's their secret?

The Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman reports for some, it's a non-invasive massage procedure called endermologie.

Plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Ellenbogen says, "Some of the top models in the United States come to our center. You would look at them and say, 'Gosh, these people can't possibly need this stuff.' But when you're competing with ten other models just as pretty, just as tall and just as shapely, any little bit helps."

While endermologie has been around for a few years, a new machine is the latest weapon in the war against ripples. It uses massage and lasers, and it's called "triactive."

Plastic surgeon, Dr. Gary Motykie, explains how it works. "What the massage does is it breaks up connective tissue or the fatty deposits. The diode or the laser in the triactive stimulates circulation to come and absorb that fatty tissue."

The Food and Drug Administration have just approved Triactive, and a woman who is undergoing treatment says it does not hurt at all.

"It feels wonderful," the 26-year-old woman says. This is Brandy Rostad's sixth "triactive" treatment for cellulite in her thighs. A series of twice weekly visits for eight weeks is recommended for best results.

While diet and exercise are always key to staying in shape, cellulite can be stubborn, even for women in their 20s.

"It's frustrating; it was embarrassing," Rostad says, "You don't want to go out and have people staring at cellulite."

For more serious fat deposits, there's a new development in liposuction as well. It is called lipo-selection. It uses ultrasound to liquify fat cells. A month later, triactive endermologie is added for the knockout punch.

Dr. Motykie expects it will be the way to treat cellulite. He says, "It is a combination of doing the liposuction to get the shape and the contour sculpted that you like, and then, the triactive to get the swelling down so they look good in a bikini for the summer."

Pleased with the lipo-endermologie treatment, Kimberly Stuart, 37, says, "My thighs were heavier at the top and I had more cellulite. Now they're leaner. Before I would call them thunder thigh-ish. I'm more confident now, for sure. I can wear shorter skirts. I walk with my head held high."

Still, there's no magic bullet for permanently eliminating cellulite. But even older women are seeing success.

"It depends on the tightness of the skin," says Ellenbogen, "If there's still elastic fibers to the skin, we work on women in their 60s and 70s and get nice results.

How badly do women want smooth skin? Surgical treatment for cellulite was the No. 1 cosmetic procedure last year.

It is nice to know even those leggy ladies strutting the catwalk also share in the common curse of cellulite.

Treatment with the new triactive machine runs around a $100 per treatment. Remember: it takes about 16 treatments to see results. And here's the kicker: Thin women get better results than those who are extremely overweight.