7 Things Surgeons Say Patients Are Always Surprised to Learn About Liposuction

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Liposuction is one of those procedures that has tried-and-true results. It is not a fleeting trend and everyone has heard of it, yet it doesn’t always seem to be so easily understood. So we asked the experts: What are most patients surprised to hear regarding the topic?

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You don’t actually lose a lot of weight with liposuction.
As Princeton, NJ, plastic surgeon Adam Hamawy, MD, stresses, liposuction is a body-shaping procedure, not a weight-loss procedure. Yes, you will see a difference, but that difference will be more in the mirror than on the scale. “It is best suited for patients who maintain fairly healthy lifestyles but have targeted areas of fat that they would like removed,” says Newtown Centre, MA, plastic surgeon Joseph Russo, MD.

Yes, the fat cells are gone forever, but there is a “but.”
We are born with a fixed number of fat cells in our bodies, and that does not change throughout life. “These cells simply expand and contract as we gain or lose weight. Liposuction removes fat cells in the targeted treatment areas, so they are gone forever,” says Dr. Russo. But, as Dr. Hamawy adds, the fat cells that remain can get bigger if you don't maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The fat removed can be transferred to other parts of the body.  
Sounds kind of scary, but this can be a big plus if you’re looking to augment other parts of your body. “Rather than discarding it, the fat can be used to shape and augment the breasts and butt,” Dr. Hamawy says. “It can highlight and rejuvenate the face, which tends to deflate as we age. The fat can even be used to enhance muscles like abs, pecs, and shoulders to give you that six-pack you've always wanted.”

You don't have to be overweight to get liposuction.  
Truth. In fact, Dr. Hamawy says that the ideal candidate is someone who is at his or her ideal weight and is trying to eliminate pockets of stubborn fat.

It is often combined with other technologies.
Dr. Russo says lipo is commonly combined with radio-frequency, ultrasound or laser technology to help dissolve the fat and tighten the skin. “This gives much more well-rounded results.”

It can actually be done on the face.
Sounds kind of high-tech, but Smithtown, NY, facial plastic surgeon James C. Marotta, MD, says liposuction can be done for isolated deposits of fat under the chin. Dr. Russo adds, “The jaw/neck area is one of the most commonly treated areas and usually gives excellent results. Lipo here can help remove the double chin and redefine the jawline. Again, I like to use an energy-based devise as part of the overall treatment plan to tighten the skin.”

As well as the neck…
“Liposuction for the neck is best done in a younger patient who has good elasticity of the skin so the skin can contract after the fat is removed,” Dr. Marotta says. “If liposuction under the chin is done in an older patient, without doing a facelift, it could cause sagging skin.” In both the cases of lipo under the chin and neck, he says you should anticipate about a week of minor swelling and bruising.

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