Liposuction: Addressing Common Myths

By Dr. James White

Since its introduction to the public over 30 years ago, liposuction has remained one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures to date. Liposuction, also known as liposculpture, is used to remove fatty deposits which are unresponsive to diet and exercise. Winter months are particularly an ideal time to have liposuction as it is easier to conceal compression garments, which must be worn while healing, and possible swelling and bruising resulting from the procedure.

Despite its popularity and effectiveness, liposuction has been surrounded by controversy most likely sparked by misconceptions and conflicting information. Let’s address some common myths linked to this procedure.

Myth 1: Fat migrates to areas of the body not treated by liposuction

In 2011, Obesity published a report suggesting that fat migrates to untreated areas of the body following liposuction surgery. Disproving such claims, however, a more recent study ,featured in the journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, reveals that fat cells do not migrate to untreated areas.

In the study conducted by ASPS Member Surgeon Eric Swanson, MD, 301 liposuction patients were evaluated using photographs and precise measurements generated by digital body dimensions of patients before and three months after liposuction surgery. Three months after liposuction surgery, the dimensions/measurements of body areas not treated by liposculpture remained constant.

While fat cannot migrate to untreated areas following liposuction surgery, when the patient has maintained a steady weight, weight gain after liposuction can cause areas of fat that were not suctioned to increase in size,making one think that the fat was relocated. This is why we recommend patients be at an ideal, stable weight for at least three months before undergoing liposuction surgery.

Myth 2: Liposuction results may only last one year

The same study that disproves fat migration of untreated areas also dispels the misconception that fat regenerates to areas treated by liposuction within a year. As reflected by patients’ dimensions and measurements before and after liposculpture , the study found no evidence of fat regeneration in areas treated by liposuction.

Dr. Swanson explains, “Of course, liposuction does not change your ability to gain or lose weight. Its value is in permanently reducing the number of fat cells in problem areas. For any given weight you will be in the future, your proportions will be better after liposuction, barring extremes in weight gain.”

Myth 3: Liposuction helps you lose weight

Liposuction is not a weight loss tool. In fact,the success of liposuction relies strictly on the removal of inches rather than pounds. For example, removing an amount of fat equivalent to a half-pound of butter from a woman’s saddlebag area would result in dramatic change in silhouette, but would not significantly change the person’s weight.

The best liposuction candidates are patients who are at a stable and healthy BMI and need removal of fatty areas that have remained despite diet and exercise. Liposuction can be used to treat common problems areas like “bra rolls”, “double chin”, love handles, thighs and mid-section.

To schedule a complimentary consultation with our Board Certified Surgeons or for more information, call 423-648-4011.

For a complimentary consultation call 423-648-4011.