Over the weekend I had a good question posed about what liposuction can and cannot do. So, I thought I’d answer that question on my blog to help clear up some pretty common misconceptions about Liposuction.
First, there are several liposuction techniques. Tumescent lipo, ultrasoninc lipo both internal and external, and laser lipo such as the SmartLipo® technique that I prefer. Although all are a bit different, the end result of any of these techniques is a contouring or sculpting effect. Liposuction is a tool we use to remove fat that will not go away with a reasonable amount of exercise and when maintaining a healthy diet. Common areas are under the chin, the back of the arms, bra line, tummy, love handles, inner and outer thighs or saddlebag area. The goal when treating any area is to bring that problem spot back into proportion with the rest of your figure. I compare it to a nail file. It is a tool we use to smooth out a “rough spot”.
Liposuction is NOT a way to lose weight. It will not lower your blood pressure. It will not lower your cholesterol, raise your HDL or lower your LDL. It will not help your diabetes. It is not a way to shrink yourself. Again, it is a sculpting tool that we use improve your shape and perhaps trim off a dress size of so by ridding you of a bulge on your tummy or hips for instance.
So why cant we use Lipo to just suck out 30 or 40 pounds of fat? Well, fat is not very dense as a tissue. Think of the “pound of feather, pound of lead” concept. Well, fat falls into the feathers category. It is not a very dense tissue so it takes a whole lot of fat to add up to even 5 pounds. Liposuction is a very safe procedure, in fact it is the second most commonly performed cosmetic surgery in this country behind breast augmentation. That is because Plastic Surgeons use it properly. We remove maybe 2 or 3 pounds of fat with a typical lipo case. In contrast, trying to remove 30 or 40 pounds of fat would NOT be safe and could lead to very serious complications. So the reality is that while removing a tummy bulge or saddlebags may change you a dress size or make your clothes fit a lot better, that’s not enough of a weight change to help with BP or cholesterol or diabetes.
Hope this explanation helps.
Lee Corbett, MD
Corbett Cosmetic Aesthetic Surgery and MediSpa