The top eight misconceptions about liposuction

Published: December 1, 2018

Liposuction is one of the most frequently performed cosmetic surgical procedures in the United States and around the world. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 246,354 liposuction procedures were performed in the U.S. in 2017. The three board-certified surgeons at Edina Plastic Surgery are all experts in the art of liposuction. However, many patients still have questions about what conditions liposuction can and cannot treat.

Because liposuction is a shaping procedure and not a weight loss procedure, not every area can be treated with liposuction, but the typical procedure locations may include the neck, arms, back, abdomen, thighs and knees. It can be done as a stand-alone procedure or in conjunction with other procedures such as an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck).

Despite its popularity, many people still have misunderstandings about liposuction; the most common misconceptions are listed below.


1. Liposuction can help you lose weight

Even though some of the results for liposuction can be very dramatic, the reality is that most patients only lose about two to five pounds in total. In fact, the best candidates for the procedure are generally within 10 percent of a healthy weight range and have localized fat pockets they would like to reduce.

2. Liposuction can be performed to treat cellulite

Cellulite occurs when subcutaneous fat pushes connective tissue bands beneath the skin, causing those characteristic dimples and bumps. Cellulite is not simply an irregular pocket of fat. Liposuction is only able to remove soft, fatty tissue and does not directly affect the skin or other tissues, so the fibrous connecting bands that cause cellulite are not altered.

3. Liposuction is only for “younger people” and not for “older people”

Liposuction can be safely performed on any patient who is in good health and has had a positive medical examination. If the patient has a lack of firmness and elasticity (both of which commonly decrease with age) it may compromise the skin’s ability to re-drape over newly slimmed, reshaped contours. One of the main contraindications for liposuction is poor skin quality.

4. Liposuction will “fix” lax or droopy skin

Because the appearance of a double chin or a heavy tummy may involve a degree of sagging skin with reduced elasticity as well as excess fat, your surgeon may recommend a skin tightening procedure instead of (or in conjunction with) liposuction. Liposuction alone cannot fix sagging or drooping skin.

5. After liposuction the fat deposits removed will return

Liposuction is “permanent,” in that once the fat cells are suctioned out, they will not return. However, if a person’s calorie intake is excessive, there will still be some remaining fat cells that can grow in size and expand the area. The best way to maintain the results of a liposuction procedure is to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen.

6. You can get back to your normal routine immediately after liposuction

Liposuction is a relatively safe procedure, however every surgical procedure entails a recovery period, and liposuction is no exception. The most common after-effects include swelling, bruising, and soreness at and around the treatment areas. While the healing process varies from patient to patient, most people should plan to take some time off from work to rest and recover. It may be four to six weeks before a patient can resume strenuous activity or exercise, and swelling to a certain extent may be present up to nine months.

7. Liposuction is only for women

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgery, 28,180 men had liposuction procedures in 2017. fact, it was one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries for American men this past year. Common areas for treatment in men include the abdomen, love handles and chest.

8. Liposuction is always the answer to belly fat

Liposuction can only targets subcutaneous fat which is the kind that is located below the skin and above the muscle. An abdomen that protrudes due to fat under the muscle and around the internal organs (known as visceral or intra-abdominal fat) will not be improved with liposuction. The only effective methods to combat visceral fat are diet and exercise.

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