Limitations of Liposuction

What Liposuction Cannot Do!

It’s an issue plastic surgeons deal with every day – setting realistic expectations for their patients. It’s no fun to burst the bubble of people expecting miracles or people who may not fully understand the limitations of plastic surgery. However, it is quite necessary to be plain and honest about possible outcomes and what is truly realistic.

Of the five most commonly performed plastic surgery procedures, liposuction seems to have the most misconceptions about what it can do. Below is a list of things liposuction will NOT do for you.

Tighten skin that is loose, sagging, or hanging.

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The degree of skin laxity or looseness that you have before surgery will remain the same after surgery. Pregnancy, weight fluctuations, and unlucky genetics can contribute to poor skin elasticity. Sometimes, due to the effect of deflation by removing fat, sagging may appear worse than where you started. I liken the effect to a balloon which has been inflated for a while and then is suddenly deflated. The balloon will never take on its originally tight shape.

Remove stretch marks.

Stretch marks are scars. The scars from stretch marks occur in the dermis, the layer under the epidermis which is the top most skin layer called the epidermis. Once they occur, they may fade but will never fully disappear.

Eliminate cellulite.

Cellulite is caused by (1) fibers pulling down on the skin and (2) fat pushing against the skin. Liposuction can help reduce the amount of fat pushing out against the skin, but it does nothing for the fibers that are pulling on the skin and causing dimpling. Liposuction will not eliminate cellulite and could possible even make it worse in patients with loose skin.

Reduce the number on the scale.

Liposuction will not dramatically reduce your weight, nor should it. Ideally, people should be of a reasonable weight for their height when undergoing liposuction. The small areas of fat that these people want treated with liposuction will not change their weight as fat is not dense, and therefore, does not weigh much.

Serve as a replacement for bariatric surgery.

Liposuction is a body-contouring procedure, not a weight loss procedure. This is an important fact for those with a high body mass index (BMI). For those who are overweight (BMI between 25 and 29), liposuction may be of use if it is understood that is not for weight loss. For people who are obese (BMI between 30 and 34) or morbidly obese (BMI greater than 35), they should take into consideration that there is a limit on how much fat can be removed during one surgery. Even if a good amount of fat is removed, it may not make such a big difference when compared to a person’s overall body size, so it really may not be worth it. Even if fat is removed via liposuction, without a change in nutrition and exercise habits, the effects of liposuction can be overcome. In people with a BMI greater than 35, liposuction may be useful in spot-reducing certain areas, such as the chin area.

Replace poor eating habits.

It is possible to outeat your beautiful liposuction result. After liposuction, the number of fat cells in an area are reduced, but not eliminated. Remaining fat cells can expand with weight gain or shrink with weight loss. Incorporating a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins and minimizes fats and sugar/sweets will help maintain your results. Liposuction does not give you a license to eat whatever you want. You’ll be hugely disappointed if this is your goal.

Become a substitute for exercise.

After liposuction, you should remain active for both your inner and outer health. Increased activity will help you maintain your results.

Flatten an abdomen that is rounded due to excessive intraabdominal fat.

Liposuction occurs above the muscle and below the skin. An abdomen that is protuberant or rotund due to fat that is under the muscle and around the internal organs cannot be reduced with liposuction. This type of fat is called intraabdominal fat or visceral fat. This fat is pushing out on the muscles that form the abdominal wall. Even if fat is removed from above the muscle, it will just be a smaller version of the rounded belly. For fat on the inside of the belly, proper nutrition and exercise are the only remedies.

Turn you into a swimsuit model.

Unless your physique was close to that of a swimsuit model before plastic surgery and you had just a little fat pocket or two that needed reducing, you’re not going to look like a swimsuit model after liposuction. Liposuction will simply enhance your existing physique.

Overhaul your life.

Liposuction is merely a procedure to reduce unwanted fat in certain areas. While it may help to help you feel better about yourself and improve your self-esteem, it will not guarantee a job promotion, help you snag Mr. or Mrs. Right, or save a relationship.

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