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Liposuction: Your Guide to Body Contouring

Posted in Liposuction, Plastic Surgery

woman in red dress looking away

As a lot of people realize after successfully adopting a healthy lifestyle, it’s possible to be slim and still have fat in all of the wrong places. Guys often discover that they develop a “pot belly,” for example, as they get older—even if they haven’t piled on the pounds over the years. This occurs because, as we age, our fat redistributes, moving from our extremities to the body’s midsection. Furthermore, we lose muscle mass, so our bodies can weigh the same as they always have while actually carrying more fat. Hormonal factors play a role as well, particularly for women who have had children. Many new moms are shocked to find that even after they lose all of their baby weight, they have significantly larger thighs and flanks than they used to.

People who find themselves in the kind of situations described above have two options: They can keep dieting until they reach an extremely low body fat percentage and see if the problem goes away, or they can try surgical body sculpting. For most people, the second option—surgery—is both more realistic and less risky. Prolonged dieting can lead to nutritional deficiencies, fatigue, depression, an impaired immune system, and even a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Liposuction, on the other hand, has a very low rate of complications thanks to the fact that it can now often be performed under local (rather than general) anesthesia. Aside from a slight risk of temporary nerve damage and infection, this procedure is not associated with serious side-effects in the vast majority of patients.

What is Surgical Body Sculpting?

Surgical body sculpting is the practice of using surgical procedures, like liposuction, to “spot reduce” fat. This is necessary because, contrary to popular belief, it’s not possible to target specific areas of fat with specialized exercises or by eating certain foods. As the popular fitness website Health Status explains, “When the body resorts to burning fat stores, it doesn’t use the stores nearest the muscles being flexed. Instead, fat from the entire body is burned. Blasting a given muscle group may be valuable exercise — just don’t expect it to spot reduce fat… Health science established long ago that targeting specific areas of fat is impossible. The myth has persisted largely because of the efforts of unscrupulous advertisers.”

In other words, if you want fat gone from one specific area, you’ll quite literally have to suck it out. During liposuction, a tiny incision is made in the skin, then a very slender surgical instrument called a cannula is inserted into a deposit of subcutaneous fat. The fat is then injected with a special solution to make it easier to remove and siphoned out. This whole process takes about half an hour on average and creates nearly instantaneous results. Once the patient’s swelling subsides (this can take one to three weeks, depending on the size of the treated area), his or her belly, flanks, or double chin will be gone.

There are, of course, some limits to what surgical body sculpting can accomplish. Though liposuction is very versatile (it can be used virtually anywhere on the body), it’s not able to remove very large volumes of fat. This is the case for reasons of patient safety; rapid weight loss can easily overwhelm the body because of the sudden change in blood pressure it induces. In general, it’s safe to remove about five to eight pounds of fat at a time. With that being said, however, it’s not unusual for patients to look as though they have lost 20 or more pounds after they have liposuction. A flat stomach, slim thighs, and sculpted jaw are the hallmarks of slimness, so achieving these features will make a person look far lighter. In summation, while liposuction cannot make a heavy person thin, it can dramatically alter the physique of a person who’s within (or close to) their healthy weight range.

Who Makes a Good Candidate for Surgical Body Sculpting?

In addition to being a healthy weight, liposuction patients should be in good overall health and be willing to maintain their results with diet and exercise. Patients must be nonsmokers and free of serious health conditions, particularly conditions that might impair their ability to heal (such as poorly managed diabetes). While liposuction is a safe procedure, it’s still invasive, so patients are required to take certain precautions.

If you’re interested in discovering how surgical body sculpting can help you, feel free to contact us. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have or help you book a consultation.