Liposuction, the most popular cosmetic procedure in the U.S., is best known as a cure for the common saddle bag, muffin top or love handle.
Its results can be remarkable, but there are also limits to what it can do. A patient with realistic expectations will be pleased by the way the procedure can sculpt the body, restoring the elegant proportions of a fit and beautiful profile. Yet liposuction is not a remedy for obesity, a substitute for exercise and a healthy diet, or a cure for some of the imperfections that often appear as we age.
Read on as Dr. Erwin Bulan, an elite Northern New Jersey plastic surgeon, explains what liposuction can and cannot accomplish.
How Liposuction Works
During a liposuction procedure, a narrow tube is inserted under the skin to remove unwanted fat cells. The most popular target areas are the abdomen, hips, buttocks, thighs, upper arms and certain areas of the face. The procedure is ideal for those areas of the body that seem immune to traditional lifestyle approaches. For example, a person may exercise regularly and lose weight through a balanced diet and still retain excess fat in the hips or thighs.
Do You Fit the Profile for Body Sculpting?
Skilled surgeons such as Dr. Bulan always caution patients not to expect a dramatic change in overall body appearance. Liposuction is not an effective way to make an overweight patient fit; it is not considered a weight loss surgical procedure. In fact, Dr. Bulan advises that a patient be within 30 percent of his or her recommended body weight and in good health for the procedure. It is also helpful if a patient’s skin is elastic and muscle tone is good, allowing the skin to conform well to the new body shape.
If skin is already sagging or loose in a certain area, liposuction will not improve its appearance. Liposuction is also not a way to treat cellulite or stretch marks. In addition, some fat is beyond the reach of the liposuction device. In some patients, the abdominal fat that produces the unwanted overhanging belly profile surrounds internal organs. Because it is located below the muscle, it is not safe to remove this type of fat.
Maintaining Best Liposuction Results
Effective liposuction also requires that a patient make a longer-term commitment to embrace a healthy diet and lifestyle. Fat cells are quick to adjust to new conditions. If a patient returns to a sedentary routine and unhealthy foods, the remaining fat cells will increase in size, negating the benefits of the targeted liposuction procedure.
With a realistic perspective about what liposuction can and cannot do, a patient can achieve a result that is beautiful, satisfying and invigorating. Feeling better, and feeling better about your body, leads to improved self-confidence — and that may be the greatest benefit of all.