Many patients who initially believe that liposuction is a treatment for obesity are surprised to learn that the procedure is focused on body shape, not weight. Fundamentally, it is a cure for the common saddle bag, muffin top, spare tire or love handle — localized volumes of fat that never seem to shrink, no matter how far your weight falls.
Below, experienced Miami plastic surgeon Dr. Christopher Cross sets the record straight on the many myths that often eclipse the true benefits of this popular surgery.
Myth 1: Liposuction Will Make Me Thin
If you are overweight, liposuction is not the solution. It is also not a substitute for exercise and a healthy diet. In fact, it is important that you give diet and exercise a chance before you consider the procedure. Overweight patients should be within 20 pounds of recommended weight.
Liposuction is ideal for those areas of the body that seem immune to traditional lifestyle approaches. If you exercise regularly and lose weight through a balanced diet and still retain excess fat in the hips or thighs, liposuction may be an appropriate option.
Myth 2: Liposuction Eliminates Skin Imperfections
If skin is already sagging or loose in a certain area, liposuction will not improve its appearance. Cellulite and stretch marks are also unlikely to improve significantly, although there may be a slight smoothing of the area, depending on the firmness of your skin.
The elasticity of a patient’s skin is a key factor in how the skin will look after the procedure.
If skin is elastic and muscle tone is good, the skin will conform well to the new body shape. With skin that has been stretched and is less elastic, folds of skin may be apparent after removal of fat.
Myth 3: The Fat Will Return
There is indeed a chance that pockets of fat could become plump again, but it is not inevitable. If you change the behavior that led to obesity, you will not need to worry about significant amounts of fat returning. The cells that were removed during liposuction are gone, and will never grow back. But if your weight begins to rise again, adjoining fat cells will expand to store the excess caloric intake.
Myth 4: Liposuction Is the Only Option
When it comes to removing stubborn pockets of fat, there are several non-surgical alternatives, such as SculpSure and CoolSculpting, as well as radiofrequency treatments such as BodyTite and Vanquish.
SculpSure uses laser-generated heat to disrupt fat cells. CoolSculpting relies on the opposite end of the temperature spectrum, freezing cells in the flabby “pinchable” areas of body fat. These crystallized cells are then absorbed by the body over a period of weeks or months. BodyTite targets fat with streams of radiofrequency energy. It is more likely to be used in a radiofrequency-assisted liposuction procedure for a more dramatic reduction in fat pockets, especially on the abdomen and thighs.
If you would like more information on liposuction, schedule a personal consultation with experienced Miami plastic surgeon Dr. Christopher Craft today.