QWO injection for cellulite. All you need to know
April 7, 2022

What is cellulite?

Cellulite refers to the dimpling most women and some men get on their buttocks, abdomen, and thighs. It is caused by bands of collagen that connect the skin to the muscle. These bands trap fat between them which leads to a dimpled appearance. This dimpling or orange peel look to the skin may occur due to an interplay between hormones, genetics, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle. However, it is not only due to obesity. It affects all sizes and any BMI. It is not synonymous with being overweight or being unhealthy.

What treatment options are available for cellulite?

There are several treatment options for cellulite.

  • Topicals that contain caffeine – These creams offer only minimal and temporary improvement.
  • Lasers – The Cellulaze laser severs the bands with thermal energy.
  • Surgical – The Cellfina device severs the bands with tiny needles.
  • Vacuum-assisted precise tissue release – Tiny blades cut the bands, then a vacuum pulls the tissue up to fill in and smooth out the areas.
  • Acoustic shockwaves – The Soliton device breaks up the bands with shockwaves.
  • Injectables – QWO is injected into the bands to dissolve them.

Do QWO Injections Remove Cellulite?

Cellulite is a common but challenging condition to treat. It affects about 90% of women and 10% of men worldwide. More than 350 million people in the world have sought cellulite treatment. It is a half a billion-dollar-a-year industry. There are several surgical and non-surgical treatment options available. Many of these treatments only provide temporary relief. However, recently the FDA approved an injectable cellulite treatment called QWO that offers patients a more permanent and less invasive way to treat their cellulite.

What is QWO?

QWO is an FDA-approved injectable to treat moderate to severe cellulite in the buttocks of adult women. It is a collagenase that enzymatically destroys the collagen bands that trap the fat and give the skin a dimpled appearance.

Cellulite injection

Is QWO effective at treating cellulite?

Studies have shown that QWO can effectively reduce the appearance of cellulite on the buttocks. It is a less invasive treatment option. QWO can permanently improve cellulite with less pain and less downtime than other treatments.

How many QWO treatments do I need?

The participants in the studies received 3 QWO treatments. Each treatment was performed 21 days apart. However, this may depend on the extent of your cellulite. If you have a mild case, you may not need as many treatments. Each treatment may last 10-15 minutes.

Are QWO injections painful?

Because QWO is injected into your skin with a needle, there is some discomfort. Many have equated the level of discomfort from these injections to be the same as Botox injections. If you have any soreness after the procedure, you can use Tylenol or ice packs.

Is there any downtime with QWO injections?

There is no downtime after QWO injections. However, there are some instructions to follow.

  • You should not resume exercise for 48-72 hours after injections.  
  • Compression shorts are worn for 3-5 days after injections to reduce the severity of bruising.  
  • It is best to avoid sitting on your buttocks directly for 3-5 days after injections.  
  • Avoid sun exposure to the treated area for two months after injections.  
  • Make sure you avoid drinking alcohol after your injections since alcohol can increase your risk of bruising.  
  • Tylenol and ice packs can help with any discomfort.  
  • Arnica may help with bruising.

Where can I get QWO injections?

QWO is FDA-approved to treat cellulite on the buttocks. It is also used off-label to treat the abdomen, arms, and thighs. 

cellulite buttocks

How often can I get QWO injections?

QWO injections are performed every 21 days. Spacing the injections out gives your body time to heal and time for the injections to work on your cellulite.

Are QWO injections permanent?

Long-term data is not available since this is a new treatment. But the thinking is that it might be permanent.

What are the side effects of QWO?

The most common side effects of QWO are bruising and mild pain at the injection site. Both are temporary and may last 2-3 weeks. Other common side effects include redness, swelling, hardness, itching, discoloration, and warmth at the injection sites. More severe but rare side effects include allergic reactions, nodules, and anaphylaxis.

Because it is a new medication, there is no long-term data on efficacy or safety.

How long does QWO take to work?

You will start to see improvement in your cellulite in about three weeks. However, it may take months to see complete improvement.

Who cannot receive QWO injections?

You may not receive QWO injections if you are allergic to any collagenase or ingredients in QWO. Other contraindications include active infection, pregnancy or plan on becoming pregnant, breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed, and bleeding disorder. You must tell your provider if you are on prescription blood thinners, vitamins, or herbal supplements that inhibit blood clotting.

Is there anything I should do before my QWO injections?

Make sure you consult with your provider before receiving your QWO injections. Consultation provides you the opportunity to ask questions about the procedure. Make sure you bring a list of all your prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and supplements. It is important to disclose your medical, surgical, and family history as well as any allergies to medications. Your provider may ask you to stop blood thinners to lessen your risk of bruising. Do not stop any blood thinners without consulting with your doctor. Avoid drinking alcohol before your injections because it can increase your risk of bruising.


Cellulite is a challenging condition to treat. It affects almost all adult women and some men. Most effective treatment options until recently have been invasive. QWO is the newest treatment in our armamentarium. It offers patients a quick and non-invasive way to treat their cellulite. QWO injections have no downtime and very few side effects. It is one of the most exciting new treatments on the market today. QWO has finally given hope to many people suffering from cellulite.