Liposuction continues to be one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures in the world. The reasons are obvious: “Almost everyone has fat somewhere, and they’d like to have it removed,” explains Dr. James Namnoum, a board certified plastic surgeon in Atlanta. Although we live in a time, thanks to the internet, where patients are more educated than ever before, there are still some misconceptions when it comes to liposuction. As an expert in body contouring, Dr. Namnoum is well equipped to walk us through the five most common liposuction myths.
A Primer on Fat
One of the first questions that a potential liposuction patient will ask during his or her consultation is, “If I have liposuction, does that mean that if I gain weight then the fat will go elsewhere?” “Nothing could be less true,” says Dr. Namnoum. People don’t really understand what fat is, and this lack of knowledge really sets them up for this common misconception.
Fat is a storage form of energy. If you eat something, it’s measured in calories, a unit of energy. When you are young, those calories are often purposed for your muscles, your brain and your organs so they’re burned very quickly. With age, the extra calories that you eat get turned into fat. This fat is stored in fat cells that swell and shrink depending on how many calories you consume.
Liposuction & Fat
Liposuction is a procedure in which excess fat cells in the treatment area are removed. Permanently. The fat is either thrown away or else repurposed with fat grafting to be used to fill in lines on the face, neck, chest, augment the breast or the buttocks.
The lipo treatment area is now reduced in fat cells. If patients subsequently gain weight and make more fat, this new fat gets distributed equally around the body, causing all the fat cells to become plumper. Since patients still have far fewer fat cells in the area that was treated with liposuction, it will still be smaller in comparison. It’s not that the fat goes elsewhere, it’s that patients simply have more fat cells in other areas which can get bigger if you eat too much.
Liposuction Results About Talent, Not Technology
The second biggest myth about liposuction is that laser liposuction is better than any other technique. This is simply not the case. Laser liposuction is a specific technology with its own pros and cons. And while it may be advantageous for certain patients, there is no proof that any of the assisted technologies, which includes laser, are any better than conventional liposuction when performed properly.
The key to a successful outcome is the person doing the procedure. You want to make sure that you see a truly skilled provider who has been properly trained, and who has extensive experience in liposuction. Bottom line, “it’s less about the tool and more about the person operating the tool than anything else,” explains Dr. Namnoum.
Liposuction, Diet & Exercise
The third myth about liposuction is that you will now be able to go on an eating smorgasbord. No, you can’t. Well, not if you want to maintain your great results!
Liposuction is not a weight loss or weight management tool. It is a body contouring procedure. It’s about restoring proper proportion to your torso. The more work that you put in to taking care of your body with a proper diet and a consistent exercise regime, the better you are going to look. In fact, the best liposuction results are seen in patients who adhere to a very healthful lifestyle.
Liposuction Does Not Leave Hanging Skin
The fourth myth about liposuction is that if you have it, your skin in the treatment area will now hang or droop. Thankfully, the skin has built in elastic properties that allow it to recoil. As you remove fat, the tissues will remodel and you’ll look OK. However, if you already have hanging skin in the treatment area then yes, you may need to have skin excised in addition to liposuction
This is often the case in the abdomen of women who have had multiple children. The skin has simply gotten stretched beyond its capacity to “snap back.” In these instances, a tummy tuck is probably going to be the better procedure. However, this is something that your surgeon will be able to discuss with you in detail during you initial consultation.
Fat is Your Friend
The fifth myth about liposuction is that the surgeon can take every fat cell. We live in an era of extremes, but most patients are not going to look good with no fat. First off, if the surgeon siphons away too much fat, it will create lumps, bumps and divots. None of which are a good look. Furthermore, most people look better with a little padding. It softens the edges, and gives us the curves that are pleasing to the eye.
In conclusion, fat is your friend – as long as it is in the right place. Which is why it is important to see a board certified plastic surgeon. You want someone with the skill, experience and artistic vision to create the ideal proportion for your individual body.