Liposuction remains the most commonly performed body contouring surgery for men and women. Despite the introduction of some newer techniques and technologies, the basic principle of this procedure remains unchanged: Remove the unwanted fat that sits next to the skin to achieve a slender, more athletic physique.
Leading Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley shares some of the surprising liposuction facts that you may not know about.
- It is only suitable for patients with a relatively good physique.
As with any body contouring surgery, liposuction requires that you are at least within 25-30 percent of your ideal weight. Bear in mind that the lipo cannula (a stainless steel probe) can only remove the superficial fat, which has not responded to diet and exercise.
The “stubborn” superficial fat is more likely due to genes than lifestyle. The deeper visceral fat, meanwhile, is linked to obesity and will only respond to weight loss, which of course is only possible through lifestyle changes, as opposed to fad diets, pills, and body contouring surgeries.
- You may gain more body fat afterwards, particularly the visceral fat linked to obesity-related problems. But only if you’re not careful.
Some researchers have suggested that the body makes every effort to protect its “natural” fat distribution and composition. Hence, after liposuction patients who remained sedentary were found to have their visceral fat increased by around 10 percent (from its pre-surgery level), predisposing them to increased risk of heart problems, insulin resistance (diabetes), and inflammation.
However, you can “re-train” your body, preserve the results of your liposuction, and ultimately maintain a healthy physique. According to the same researchers, doing moderate exercise (i.e., one hour of cardio combined with strength straining three times a week) has prevented patients from the “exercise group” to regain fat.
Furthermore, these patients were found to have improved their health just after six months of moderate exercise.
- It’s more about what’s left behind, and not about removing the optimal amount of fat.
In fact, removing all fats from the treated area can lead to disaster—e.g., surface irregularities, unnatural contour, and sagging/gaunt appearance. To avoid any sign of botched result, a good surgeon preserves some fats especially beneath the skin.
- Any doctor can perform liposuction, even if he has no standardized training.
Liposuction is best performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon—i.e., a member of the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Medical literature has suggested that they have the lowest complication rate due to their specialized training, in addition to the fact that they are required to pass rigorous oral and written exams, which they need to take every 10 years.