Why Plastic Surgery is Not a Substitute for Weight Loss

The TV and internet are full of weight loss advertisements, promising the easiest or fastest way to lose fat and reshape your body. There are many proposed solutions. Perhaps the answer is a new diet? Or some secret herbal remedy? Yoga? Some people also turn to plastic surgery, specifically, liposuction to help lose fat quickly. Liposuction is not a weight loss procedure, however, and neither are any plastic surgery operations. Here’s why: 

How Does Liposuction Work?

There are about 200,000 liposuctions performed each year in the U.S., battling breast augmentation as the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure in 2012. How does the operation work? First of all, fat generally gathers in specific regions like the belly or thighs. A narrow rod is inserted through a tiny incision and fat is suctioned through the rod. The procedure is not meant to remove weight from a patient; indeed, most operations only remove at most a couple pounds of fat, meaning there is not a dramatic loss of weight. There is, however, a significant improvement in the body’s contour at the treated areas.

The fat cells removed through liposuction do not grow back, but this does not stop a person from gaining weight in other areas. The new body shape is going to stay essentially the same, however, unless there is a significant change in weight.

Setting Realistic Expectations

The main benefit of liposuction is a renewed self confidence and a healthier self image. Many people have tried relentlessly to lose fat in certain regions, but have not been able to eliminate all of it. This can discourage them from exercise and dieting, but it shouldn’t! Genetics play a major role in the distribution of fat throughout the body, so sometimes liposuction may be the only way to eliminate fatty deposits.

Patients considering liposuction should have realistic expectations beforehand, though. Liposuction cannot change your lifestyle, which will ultimately affect your fitness and body size. Liposuction is a body contouring operation designed to give your body a new shape, but you will naturally accumulate new fat in other areas over time. A healthy diet and exercise program is the best way to defend against this. Liposuction is no substitute for a healthy lifestyle.

Liposuction offers other benefits, too. Although it is mainly a cosmetic surgery, it can benefit people with cellular disorders like lipodystrophy syndrome. People with this disorder can have excessive fat in certain regions with little to none in other areas. Since liposuction reduces the amount of fat in the body, some research suggests that it may even offer heart health benefits. More research needs to be done on this topic, however, and this should not be the reason you choose liposuction.

Are You A Good Candidate?

The ideal candidate for liposuction should be in good health, over 18 years of age, non-obese, and has elastic skin without stretch marks that can resolve itself to new shapes. People considering liposuction should have any life threatening medical conditions or conditions that would prevent them from proper recovery.

There are many areas a surgeon can remove fat from, but here are the most common:

  • Abdomen
  • Back
  • Buttocks
  • Chest
  • Inner knees
  • Hips
  • Flanks
  • Neckline and under chin
  • Thighs, outer and inner
  • Upper arms

Ultimately, you should contact your local plastic surgeon to learn if you are a good candidate for liposuction. You can contact our office for a free consultation on liposuction or any of our other procedures by contacting Dr. McIntosh today.