Endermologie: What to Know About the Cellulite Treatment

Rear view of a woman, her hand on the back of her thigh.

Lucas Ottone / Stocksy

Dimples can be adorable. Just think of a baby’s cute smile and it’s hard not to smile yourself. But think of dimpling on your butt or thighs, and suddenly dimpling can feel less charming. Yep, we’re talking cellulite, which can appear on the aforementioned spots, as well as on the stomach. Cellulite is when a collection of fat pushes against the connective tissue below the skin, making it look dimpled or lumpy.

And even though it's extremely common—present in up to 90 percent of women—and nothing to be ashamed of, many people are looking to get rid of it. While it's notoriously difficult to banish, a treatment called Endermologie can help. “Endermologie was developed in France in the 1980s by engineer Louis-Paul Guitay, who used Endermologie to break up scar tissue following burns,” says board-certified cosmetic and medical dermatologist Blair Murphy-Rose, MD, FAAD. “The procedure was later adopted for aesthetic purposes when it was discovered to effectively reduce the appearance of cellulite.” 

To get the full scoop on Endermologie, Murphy-Rose and board-certified cosmetic dermatologist Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, helped us break down everything there is to know before you schedule an appointment.

Meet the Expert

  • Blair Murphy-Rose, MD, FAAD, is a board-certified cosmetic and medical dermatologist at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York and Clinical Instructor of Dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College.
  • Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, is a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist, founder of PFRANKMD, and author of the book The Pro-Aging Playbook: Embracing a Lifestyle of Beauty and Wellness Inside and Out. 

What Is Endermologie?

“Endermologie is an FDA-approved non-invasive procedure employing a device that provides deep tissue massage with suction and vibrating rollers to reduce cellulite by breaking up fatty deposits, increasing circulation, improving lymphatic drainage, and stimulating collagen production,” Murphy-Rose explains. Though it can be performed all over the body, Endermologie is primarily used on the thighs and butt.

Benefits of Endermologie

  • Reduces the appearance of cellulite
  • Decreases fluid retention
  • Reduces swelling and inflammation

“The primary benefits are reduction of the appearance of cellulite and improved skin quality,” Murphy-Rose says. “These are achieved by breaking up fatty deposits, increasing circulation, improving lymphatic drainage, and stimulating collagen production, which improves the quality of overlying skin.”

However, don’t expect the results to be anywhere near permanent. “Endermologie can minimally combat cellulite and small pockets of fat, but the benefits are very short-term,” says Frank.

How to Prepare for Endermologie

When preparing for Endermologie, the most important thing is to stay well hydrated. “Drink plenty of water, just like when you go for a deep tissue massage,” Murphy-Rose says. “If you take medications or supplements that increase bleeding, check with your physician to see whether you should stop them temporarily before the procedure to reduce the risk of bruising. It is not uncommon to bruise after the procedure.” 

What to Expect During an Endermologie Treatment

One of the perks of Endermologie is there isn’t any pain or discomfort. “It feels like a massage,” Frank says. “It should be done by a licensed medical professional in a doctor's office.” Expect the procedure to take 30 minutes to an hour.

However, not everyone likes the sensation of a deep tissue massage, which is what Endermologie is similar to. “Some will experience minor discomfort, others may describe it as a relaxing massage,” Murphy-Rose says. “Some soreness after the procedure is not uncommon.”  

Endermologie vs. Other Cellulite Treatments

“Endermologie is not nearly as effective [when] compared to other procedures,” Frank says. “Other more superior devices have come on the market like Emtone, which uses radiofrequency to heat the tissue and tighten skin—primarily on the legs and buttocks—and reduce lax skin. If there are dimples present and deeper pockets of cellulite, I use a combination of Emtone, bio-stimulatory fillers like hyperdiluted Radiesse, and sometimes Qwo for deeper dimples.” 

Qwo is an injectable treatment that is FDA-approved to treat moderate to severe cellulite on the butt. It is a prescription medication called a collagenase that is injected by practitioners into areas of cellulite to break down the connective tissue contributing to cellulite. “The injections take about 10 minutes to perform and results are seen after about 10 weeks, after three treatments performed three weeks apart,” Murphy-Rose says. “The most common side effects are bruising, redness, swelling, and discomfort. Areas of hardness can develop temporarily. There is more downtime after Qwo (as compared to Endermologie) but the results are achieved faster than with Endermologie and are longer lasting.”

Another cellulite procedure is Cellfina, an FDA-approved minimally invasive treatment that uses microblades to treat cellulite on the thighs and butt through a process called subcision. “Subcision cuts and releases the fibrous bands that are contributing to cellulite by pulling down and causing dimpling,” explains Murphy-Rose. “Results are seen within three days and last up to three years.” 

Resonic is the newest of these cellulite treatments and is also entirely non-invasive like Endermologie. “Resonic uses high-frequency ultrasound waves to mechanically disrupt the connective tissue bands contributing to cellulite,” Murphy-Rose says. “Side effects after Resonic are similar to Endermologie. Results are achieved after one to three treatments as compared to Endermologie, which usually requires at least 10 treatments.”

Potential Side Effects

Common side effects of Endermologie include bruising and soreness after the procedure. To minimize them, avoid medications or supplements that contribute to bleeding. Additionally, avoid alcohol for several days prior to treatment. “Drink one to two liters of water to assist in lymphatic drainage,” advises Frank.

The Cost

Endermologie procedures usually run from $100-$200, and require a series of 10-20 treatments, according to Murphy-Rose. 


You can usually resume normal activities afterward. “No treatment is required after Endermologie and there is minimal downtime,” Murphy-Rose says. “It is important to stay well hydrated.” 

The Final Takeaway

“Endermologie has been around since the 1980s and was developed to reduce the appearance of cellulite,” Frank says. “It uses suction and massage to stimulate lymphatic drainage. This technology is decades old and while helpful for reducing some water retention, it does not actually tighten the skin and address cellulite long term. Any changes in weight or hormones (such as pregnancy and menopause) can affect treatment outcomes.”

Multiple treatments are required to achieve the best results. “Endermologie can be used after liposuction to reduce fluid retention and enhance effects,” Murphy-Rose says. 

There’s no miracle cure for cellulite and unfortunately, that goes for Endermologie, too—the results typically last just a couple of months, though sometimes longer. “Endermologie requires maintenance and multiples sessions a year,” says Frank.

Article Sources
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  1. Sadick N. Treatment for celluliteInt J Womens Dermatol. 2018;5(1):68-72.

  2. Sadick N. Treatment for celluliteInt J Womens Dermatol. 2018;5(1):68-72.

  3. Qwo Label | FDA.gov

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