Are you disappointed of constant failures in your weight loss journey and are in search of a surgical procedure to lose weight? Perhaps you may have encountered in your research, jars of fat, filled with liters of yellow liquid extracted during liposuction. Or perhaps you may have seen before and after images of patients who have undergone liposuction and are now flaunting their thinner waists. These images may mislead you into thinking that liposuction is ideal to decrease digits on the weighing scale, i.e. for weight loss. If so, you are not alone since this misconception is very common and prevalent, as most people confuse weight loss surgery with body contouring procedures.
WHAT LIPOSUCTION IS AND WHAT IT ISNT:
The terms used by both surgical procedures such as ‘fat loss’ are regularly interchanged and may be held responsible for the vague demarcation between the two types of surgeries leading to the impression that body contouring and weight loss are synonyms. So, let’s first clear the cloud around these terms and set the record straight. Liposuction surgery is NOT a weight loss surgery and is indicated for those patients who want to get in shape after they have lost weight, i.e. sculpt or carve the body by targeting irregular pockets of stubborn fat. It only targets the external fat and does nothing about the visceral fat (internal fat). On the other hand, weight loss surgery is medically known as Bariatric Surgery which is more appropriate for morbid obese individuals who may then opt for sculpting procedures like liposuction later on.
AM I A CANDIDATE IF I’M OVERWEIGHT?
Liposuction is an elective plastic surgery procedure that is booming. The surgery stands in line with other popular surgeries such as rhinoplasty and breast augmentations. With such a high demand, the candidates should first be aware of what liposuction is and isn’t. If you are looking into liposuction with the intention of losing pounds then you will be disappointed. Liposuction, being a body sculpting procedure cannot change the size of an individual. It may be thought of as the next step after the patient has undergone healthy weight loss either by means of exercise and diet or bariatric surgery. Other applicants of liposuction may be mothers who have undergone changes during the pregnancy. Liposuction draws out the fat cells through suction mechanism and reduces fat pockets which are isolated. These stubborn areas are resistant to diet and exercise.
THE JAR OF FAT PARADOX:
Therefore, patients who are at an ideal or near to ideal BMI will get the best results out of Liposuction. The weight of the patient may vary by up to 5 or 10 pounds to their ideal weight. Since liposuction targets fat cells, it is often mistaken as weight loss procedure but the fact of the matter is typical liposuction will not cause significant weight loss (usually <3 pounds is lost in liposuction). This holds true for other variations of liposuction too such as Cool Sculpting which is an effecting contouring procedure but not for weight loss.
HOW MUCH WEIGHT LOSS DOES A TYPICAL LIPOSUCTION CONTRIBUTE TO?
However, if the patient does not idealize liposuction for weight loss, he/ she may be satisfied with the bonus weight loss. Hypothetically, if we extract about 7-8 liters of fat from the belly this would result in about 3-4 kgs of fat lost. Concurrently, if we include other areas of the body such as arms, thighs and buttocks this can amount to 25-30 liters of fat which may result in a rough loss of 9-14 kilos. Even though, weight loss does not occur overnight in patients with a higher BMI. Studies and conventional school of thought in plastic surgery does support safe liposuction with fat extractions greater than the guidelines set by modern surgeons i.e. 5000ml of fat or 11 lbs. This leaves it for the surgeon to decide according to the patients BMI and his experience how much fat can be safely suctioned. Liposuction is well regarded as safe and it all boils down to relativity when extracting fat since extracting 10 pounds from a person weighing 120 pounds versus another weighing 250 pounds is a lot different. Therefore, BMI gives a more accurate assessment in these cases. Patients with a higher BMI can tolerate more fat removal than those patients who have a lower BMI. A safer approach may be to break down the liposuction in multiple sessions as guided by the surgeon usually at a month’s interval. This allows more body fat to be extracted with the passage of time.
WORKING OUT AFTER LIPOSUCTION:
Now that you know that liposuction is not for weight loss you may have apprehensions about leading a healthy lifestyle and actively losing weight post liposuction. Well, after your liposuction you may resume your regular exercise routine in about 2 weeks starting off slowly and avoiding strenuous exercise. While there is variation in recovery for every individual since everyone heals at a different pace, within 2 months most people will be back on their regular exercise regimens.
Liposuction has therefore proven to be effective head start for a lot of patients who were always planning to live an active lifestyle but needed a boost to actually get on track. Seeing imminent results, patients want to use the opportunity to build upon the change. Indeed, it is experienced in clinical experience that patients changed their lives for the better after having liposuction.
Sometimes patients may experience weight gain after liposuction owing to the edema and swelling. This edema may mask the actual weight lost but as it settles in a period of 4 to 6 weeks the results will become more prominent. This is why the patient must religiously wear their compression garments to avoid formation of seroma. By living a healthy active lifestyle, the results obtained by liposuction may be further accentuated.
WHO GETS TO DECIDE IF I SHOULD UNDERGO LIPOSUCTION?
Well, if you have your expectations in check, YOU get to decide if you want to undergo liposuction or not. Dr. Arif Hussain has years of experience doing liposuction and is well aware of the associated risks and complications in obese patients. It is therefore extremely important that you choose a certified Plastic Surgeon who can orient your goals with a realistic frame of expectations.
You can have Free Online Consultation with Dr Arif Hussain by filling up the form below: