Take That, Stubborn Fat!

Liposuction to the Rescue

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Are you struggling with stubborn fat, which despite strict diet and exercise, won’t disappear? If so, there’s great news! Certainly, you’ve already heard of liposuction (or “lipo”), arguably the single most popular cosmetic surgery procedure in the United States today. Liposuction is best for those with undesirable fat located in the abdomen, waist, hips, buttocks, thighs, inner knees, upper arms, chin, cheeks, neck, chest, calves and / or ankles.

The procedure sculpts the body, resulting in an improved body shape and proportion.

Despite its popularity, there are many misconceptions about liposuction. I’m here to separate lipo fact from fiction. Below are the most common generalizations (some true and some false) that I hear during my consultation appointments.

Liposuction is an easy “fix” for anyone.

FALSE. While liposuction provides results that are visible immediately (improvement continues over the next few months while swelling subsides), it isn't for everyone. Ideal candidates for liposuction are in good physical and mental health, and have attempted diet and exercise, to no avail. Liposuction is NOT a treatment for obesity nor is it meant to replace exercise and proper eating habits. Liposuction slims and contours the chubby areas of the body by removing the fat cells, ensuring that these areas will not accumulate fatty deposits in the future.

However, if the patient does not maintain a proper diet and exercise regimen, the remaining fat cell neighbors could still enlarge. In addition to not being an alternative to diet and exercise, liposuction is also not an effective treatment for cellulite or loose and saggy skin. (See my article on abdominoplasty).

The healing process after liposuction surgery isn't necessarily "easy" either - after the surgery, drainage tubes, compression garments and antibiotics may be needed to facilitate the healing process. Depending on the extent of the lipo, patients can expect to return back to work anywhere from two days to two weeks post-procedure. Pain could last up to two weeks, and can be controlled with pain medication. 

Liposuction is just for women.

FALSE. Liposuction can be beneficial for both women and men. Men are genetically predisposed to gather fat around their waistlines, which can be addressed with lipo. The most common areas to be suctioned for men are the neck, abdomen and loin (“love handles”).

Liposuction can be used in conjunction with other procedures.

TRUE. Usually liposuction is performed as a standalone procedure. However in many cases it is also used in collaboration with other procedures such as facelifts, breast reductions, or tummy tucks.

Liposuction is a risk-free procedure.

FALSE.

When a qualified surgeon performs the procedure, risks are uncommon. However, just like with any surgical procedure, lipo carries certain risks. These risks include the following:

  • Infection
  • Delays in healing
  • Fat clots or blood clots
  • Shock
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Burns
  • Perforation injury
  • Lidocaine toxicity
  • Unfavorable drug or anesthesia reactions

Irregularities in appearance are possible, such as asymmetric or “baggy” skin, numbness and pigmentation changes.

If you're interested in learning more about liposuction, make an appointment with a reputable plastic surgeon to discuss the pros and cons, and whether or not liposuction is right for you. 

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