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Liposuction and Weight Loss: Frequently Asked Questions
liposuction weight loss
Oct 31, 2017

In this video, Certified Physician Assistant Madison Goldberg and board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Gary D. Breslow of The Breslow Center in Paramus, NJ answer some frequently asked questions on liposuction and weight loss. Read the full transcription below.

Which liposuction technique gives the best results?

There are a lot of different liposuction techniques. There’s tumescent liposuction, SmartLipo, CoolLipo, laser liposuction – they’re all pretty much the same in terms of their effectiveness.

There is a claim that liposuction using laser techniques tends to tighten the skin – I have not seen that to be the case, personally. There is also an increased risk with laser liposuction, as it can actually cause burns to the skin.

Liposuction is really more technique dependent than device dependent. At The Breslow Center we use something called the Separation, Aspiration and Fat Equalization (SAFE) technique, which minimizes the risk of contour irregularities and divots. It gives you a consistent, smooth, even result.

Can liposuction get rid of cellulite?

Liposuction cannot get rid of cellulite. As a matter of fact, liposuction can actually make cellulite worse. Cellulite is a different issue than lipodystrophy, which is excess fat. Cellulite is a fat storage condition which affects more than 90% of women to some extent or another.

Think of cellulite as coils of a mattress – one coil is raised, and the next one is lowered. This creates dimpling. When you go in with a liposuction cannula, you can actually break them up and make things worse. In short, liposuction is not indicated for cellulite.

There are treatments for cellulite, but there are no permanent cures. Most cellulite treatments are non-invasive, and involve using some sort of thermal device, whether it be radiofrequency or some sort of thermal energy, to tighten those coils and even out the dimpling.

With that said, liposuction can be performed on patients with cellulite, but it has to be done very carefully.

cellulite up close

RELATED: Liposuction Can’t Get Rid of Cellulite — Here’s Why

Can liposuction give you a flat stomach?

That’s a question we get all the time. Liposuction and abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) are the two most effective treatments for giving someone a flat abdomen. However, they treat different issues. If you look at what liposuction treats vs. what a tummy tuck treats, you’ll see that liposuction only treats the excess fat directly underneath the skin. For a younger patient who has tight skin and just wants to get rid of excess fat, liposuction is the best option.

On the other hand, a tummy tuck is effective for patients with skin laxity, excess fat, and laxity to the abdominal wall, which is in the deeper layer. That’s often the result of having been pregnant, or after weight loss — the abdominal wall gets lax and needs to be tightened. An incision is made very low, along the bikini line. The excess fat and skin is lifted up, the abdominal wall is tightened, and the excess fat and skin is removed.

Someone who is a good candidate for liposuction is generally not a good candidate for a tummy tuck, and vice-versa. They treat two different things.

Can liposuction remove visceral fat?

No. Liposuction can only treat the fat beneath the skin, also known as subcutaneous fat.

The two places where your body stores fat is the subcutaneous fat and the visceral fat, also known as intestinal fat. It’s the fat that’s actually attached to the intestines.

The first place where you gain and lose weight is the visceral fat. The intestines get bigger when you gain weight, and get smaller when you lose weight. It actually pushes out on the abdominal wall. When you lose the weight it pushes out less, causing laxity to the abdominal wall.

Someone who has visceral fat is not a candidate for liposuction, nor a candidate for abdominoplasty, because they need to lose that visceral fat. The best time to come for liposuction is when you’re at your ideal weight. Liposuction is for someone who is in shape, at their ideal weight, and just has areas of fat that they can’t rid of through exercise and weight loss.

Can liposuction help with diabetes?

Liposuction can help with diabetes to the extent that it jump-starts the process by getting a person into shape. Diabetes is subject to excess fat around the body. Liposuction is not going to cure diabetes, but it can help in terms of motivating patients to get into shape and remove the excess fat on their own.

How many pounds can you lose from liposuction?

Not as many as you would think or some patients would hope. It’s usually a couple pounds here or there, depending on how much is done. Large volume liposuction – anything over 5000cc’s – is generally done in a hospital or an overnight setting.

It’s generally not as much pound loss as someone would think. It’s a contouring procedure – not a weight loss procedure.

Is liposuction permanent?

Liposuction is a correction for contour irregularities, but for someone who is going to gain and lose weight, it can still be effective afterwards. You generally don’t gain the weight back in the area that’s been corrected because those fat cells have been removed.

About the Author

Dr. Gary Breslow, MD, FACS

Dr. Gary Breslow, MD, FACS

Is a highly regarded plastic surgeon in Paramus New Jersey, known by both patients and peers as a problem-solver with a warm, engaging personality, and an instinctive ability to identify and truly understand the goals of his patients and the patients, themselves. Dr. Breslow has dedicated his efforts to providing results of only the most unsurpassed quality, continually staying abreast of the most advanced techniques in cosmetic surgery for the benefit of his patients. Dr. Breslow is Board-Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and is licensed to practice plastic & reconstructive surgery in both New Jersey and New York.

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