- QWO is an injectable treatment for cellulite on the buttocks
- A course of QWO treatments costs $2,700 on average
- Factors that influence price include your location, provider and the severity of cellulite
QWO is a prescription medication that’s FDA-approved to treat moderate-to-severe cellulite on the buttocks. It’s an injectable that breaks down the connective tissue that causes cellulite, smoothing out dimples and depressions. The main factors that will determine your QWO cellulite treatment cost depends on the extent of your cellulite, your location and your choice of provider.
What Is Cellulite?
Cellulite is a very common condition in which skin on the abdomen, buttocks, hips and thighs appears lumpy or dimpled. It develops when pockets of fat collect under the skin, creating bulges.
At the same time, the connective tissues that connect skin to the underlying fascia, called fibrous septae, pull down unevenly and create tension on the skin’s surface, forming dimples. Cellulite develops most commonly in women and tends to increase with age as the septae thicken and the skin loses elasticity and thins.
How Does QWO Work?
QWO is an injectable cellulite treatment containing an enzyme called collagenase clostridium histolyticum-aaes. Although the mechanism of action is not fully understood, it’s believed that the collagenase treats cellulite in three ways:
- Releases fibrous septae
- Redistributes fat cells
- Stimulates new collagen growth
QWO is injected with a small needle directly into individual depressions on the buttocks; it’s also used off-label to treat the thigh area. Patients receive 2–3 treatments 21 days apart; each appointment takes 10–20 minutes.
This procedure doesn’t have any downtime, although you’ll experience bruising and soreness for at least several days. Results start appearing approximately 10 days after your first treatment.
QWO is suitable for adult women of all skin tones with moderate-to-severe cellulite. Ideal candidates should have good skin elasticity, as the enzymes can worsen the appearance of loose skin. It’s also more effective for women at a healthy weight, as a high BMI makes the results less noticeable.
Before receiving QWO injections, talk to your doctor if you take medications that prevent blood clotting (antiplatelet or anticoagulant), have a bleeding disorder, are pregnant, nursing or plan to become pregnant or nurse. It’s not known whether QWO can harm an unborn baby or is passed into breast milk.
You should not have QWO treatments if you:
- Are allergic to collagenase or any of the ingredients in QWO
- Have an active infection at the injection site
How Much Does QWO Cost?
On average, patients pay $2,700 for the recommended treatment plan of 2–3 rounds of QWO. The amount you’ll pay depends on several factors.
Size of treatment area
A QWO treatment area is defined as a single buttock, and two areas can be treated per session. The more extensive your cellulite, the more appointments you may need and the higher your total cost.
Number of treatments
Patients usually have 2 or 3 QWO sessions. If you’re treating a larger area, have more severe cellulite or both, undergoing more rounds of QWO will increase your cost.
Provider expertise and location
Established, reputable medspas and board-certified plastic surgeons are generally more expensive than less established or qualified ones. Medical aesthetic treatments also tend to cost more in large urban areas than they do in more rural locations.
Alternatives to QWO
QWO isn’t the only minimally invasive cellulite reduction treatment option. Of note is that many of these solutions are quite new and have only been tested in a few clinical studies. They include:
For this minimally invasive procedure, a probe with a hook and retractable blade is inserted below the skin. The probe targets and cuts individual septae, releasing their tension on the skin, in a process called subcision. Avéli treats moderate-to-severe cellulite in the buttocks and thighs, and a single treatment session can cost $3,000–$5,000.
This body contouring and cellulite treatment uses radiofrequency energy and light suction to heat tissue, destroy fat cells and loosen septae. Unlike subcision, it can treat skin laxity in addition to cellulite. A series of BodyFX sessions costs about $1,000.
Cellfina works similarly to Avéli but uses a tiny needle to sever the septae and reduce the appearance of cellulite. In one small study, at 3 months post treatment all patients showed visible improvement and 96% of patients were satisfied with their results. A Cellfina treatment is performed in a single session and costs about $3,900.
This one-time treatment uses a nonablative laser to break down excess fat and loosen or sever septae. It’s suitable for patients with both dimpling and loose skin and averages $5,775 in cost.
Emtone uses heat generated by radiofrequency energy and acoustic waves to thicken skin, increase circulation and remove fluid buildup. Emtone is indicated for cellulite and mildly loose skin and costs $1,150 on average, for a series of treatments. No published studies are available regarding its efficacy.
This long-lasting dermal filler is injected into cellulite dimples to smooth skin and increase long-term collagen production. In one trial, patients who received Sculptra injections showed significant improvement in the appearance of cellulite at 3- and 6-month follow-ups. This treatment costs about $1,925.
Is QWO Worth It?
There’s a paucity of data regarding QWO’s efficacy. What is available is from two clinical trials sponsored by its manufacturer, Endo Pharmaceuticals, which concluded that QWO significantly improved cellulite and was generally well tolerated in patients.
In addition, a literature review of clinical trials for other cellulite treatments presents compelling evidence to suggest fibrous septae play a significant role in cellulite formation. As such, QWO treatments could be worth considering.
How long does QWO last?
QWO results last approximately 12 months; some patients report that results last up to 2 years.
Risks and side effects
Common side effects of QWO include:
- Lumps or nodules
In clinical trials, most side effects resolved within 3 weeks; however, some patients experienced bruising or skin discoloration lasting more than 1 year.
Severe allergic reactions have been associated with the collagenase in QWO, including anaphylaxis.
QWO Cellulite Treatment Financing and Insurance Options
Most medspas and clinics offer financing or payment plans for treatments such as QWO. They may work with a third-party credit card or allow you to pay in installments. Talk with your provider about financing options to make payments for QWO more manageable.
QWO is an injectable prescription medicine that effectively treats moderate-to-severe cellulite in women’s buttocks. Its mechanism of action is not completely understood, but it is thought to work by loosening the fibrous bands that cause dimpling, rearranging fat cells to smooth out the skin and increasing skin thickness.
Most women pay an average of $2,700 for this treatment, which consists of 2–3 appointments scheduled 3 weeks apart. The total cost of QWO is affected by the size of the treatment area, the severity of the cellulite, the total number of treatments you receive and your provider and location. QWO can be made more affordable through payment plans and financing.
Several minimally invasive and noninvasive alternatives to QWO are also available to treat cellulite. They include Avéli, BodyFX, Cellfina, Cellulaze, Emtone and Sculptra Aesthetic.
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