5 Things to Know Before Getting Liposuction

There’s a reason liposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries in the United States. It’s a great body-contouring procedure and offers immediate results. But before you jump in, you need to understand what it can and cannot do. Here are five things that you should consider as you make your decision and plan.

Facts About Liposuction

1. Liposuction Is for Shaping, Not for Weight Loss

A common misperception about liposuction is that it’s a way to “get skinny.” So, if you’re considering liposuction as a way to resolve a weight issue, unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way. When you gain weight, the extra fat tends to spread throughout your body. Liposuction targets specific problem areas, such as love handles or a belly bulge, but it cannot effectively treat the whole body. There’s also a limit to how much fat can be safely removed at one time.

Bottom Line: Instead of thinking of liposuction as a way to lose weight, think of it as a powerful shape-changing tool that can help bring a problem area into harmony with the rest of your body. Also, remember that fat can come back, so it’s important to adopt healthy lifestyle habits to get and maintain the best results.

2. Patients Who Are at a Healthy Weight Get the Best Results

This ties in to our first point: Liposuction will give you the best results if you’re already at a healthy weight. If you get liposuction when you’re heavier than you’d like to be, your results will not be as dramatic. Studies show that patients who are happiest with the results of their body-contouring surgeries are those who have made a commitment to healthy eating and exercise prior to the procedure.

If you’re thinking liposuction will motivate you to lose weight and get you into shape, we’re sorry to tell you that usually the opposite occurs — these patients see an improvement in their appearance and wind up feeling LESS motivated to work on getting in shape.

3. The Type of Liposuction Tool Used Is a Decision Best Left to Your Surgeon

There are several “types” of liposuction tools out there. Suction Assisted Lipectomy (SAL) uses narrow tubes that are smooth on the ends to “suck out” the fat. Power Assisted Liposuction (PAL) tools are often used in areas where the fat is more firm or dense, like on the back. PAL tools use vibration, lasers or fluid to help break up and remove the fat.

Of course, all these tools are made by companies. And no surprise here — companies advertise their products. But don’t be pulled in by fancy advertising. All liposuction tools can work very well in the hands of a well-trained surgeon who is experienced in their use. So, your job is to choose a qualified surgeon who can guide you in which technique will be best for you.

4. Liposuction Will Not Tighten Loose Skin

Unfortunately, some advertisers claim their liposuction technique can help tighten skin. This is simply not true. Think of it this way: If you have a bag filled with liquid and you remove a large amount of that liquid, the bag gets looser, right? Well, your skin is like the bag and your fat is the liquid. If you remove a lot of fat from an area, your skin will likely get more lax. If you’re relatively young and have good skin elasticity, then your skin will probably “snap back” well. However, if you already have loose skin, then liposuction can potentially make the problem worse. In these instances, combining liposuction with a skin tightening procedure, such as a tummy tuck or thigh lift, can often yield amazing results.

5. The Removed Fat Cannot “Move” to Another Part of Your Body

So, what happens after liposuction? Patients are sometimes concerned that if they have liposuction in one area, the fat will “shift” to another area of their body. This myth is based on the fact that the way you gain and lose weight after liposuction can be a little different than how you gained and lost weight before it. Why? Because adults don’t make new fat cells after surgery and fat cells don’t move in the body.

So, let’s say you have liposuction that removes half the fat cells in your tummy area. What happens if you gain 20 pounds? Since there are fewer fat cells in your tummy, you’ll put less weight on there than you would have before, which means the weight will be partially redistributed to other areas. So, if you have weight fluctuations after surgery, you’ll probably gain and lose the weight more evenly. That means your “problem area” would stay more in harmony with the rest of your body. While this sounds like a relief, remember the ultimate goal is always to maintain a healthy weight.

Emory Aesthetic Center

Emory Aesthetic Center is experienced in the full array of liposuction procedures. Our expert surgeons will discuss your goals and options with you to create your best results. If you’re interested in liposuction, schedule your complimentary consultation and experience the Emory difference today.

About Felmont Eaves III, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Felmont F. Eaves III, M.D., F.A.C.S., leads the Emory Aesthetic Center as Medical Director. He is double board-certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Dr. Eaves’s leadership is apparent in his impressive accumulation of distinctions. He serves as Director of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the board that certifies plastic surgeons nationally. Previously, he served as President of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery; he is currently a Trustee.

 

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