Most of us have our trouble spots. That muffin top that you can’t seem to get rid of after pregnancy. The love handles that seemed to grow after you turned 40. The hips and thighs that make you hesitant to put on a bathing suit.
A healthy diet and a consistent exercise program are key to losing weight and tightening up those problem areas. However, some stubborn pockets of fat may not respond to even the most faithful fitness regime. Sometimes, it's simply a matter of aging or genetics.
Fortunately, there are many effective options for removing that stubborn fat and getting the figure you want, including liposuction and CoolSculpting® — both available at our Raleigh, NC practice.
“Much of the skill of a surgeon is in being able to know what tools are available, what tools work for specific problems, and matching the tool to the problem,” explains Dr. Jeremy W. Pyle. “There are many options available. There is always a balance, and the less invasive options are typically less expensive with less downtime.
"The trade-off is that they tend to provide less dramatic results. From less dramatic results to more dramatic results, the options offered include noninvasive techniques like CoolSculpting, to techniques involving small incisions, like liposuction, to techniques involving longer incisions like a tummy tuck, arm lift, or thigh lift.”
Many patients are under the assumption that liposuction causes the fat to migrate to a different area of the body. That's not the case. Dr. Benjamin Wood elaborates: “By the time we are 18 years old, our bodies have made most of the fat cells they are ever going to make. We may get bigger because our fat cells grow in size, but we typically don’t create new fat cells. When fat cells are surgically removed, they do not grow back.”
Choosing the right fat removal technique for you depends on a number of factors, such as the areas to be treated, whether you want a less invasive procedure, whether you have the time for recovery, and your budget.
Liposuction is one of the better-known fat-removal techniques, of course. It involves making a small incision and then suctioning out fat cells from the target area. The surgery is performed under anesthesia in an operating room. Though patients may notice significant improvement immediately following surgery, Dr. Pyle says that it takes about three months for the skin to shrink down and the final liposuction results to be seen. Simply put, Dr. Pyle says, “The most powerful tool for getting fat out and reshaping the body remains liposuction.”
It is important to talk with a doctor about all your options for meeting your goals. Dr. Pyle also stresses the importance of working only with a surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
“Because the promise of getting rid of fat without a lot of downtime is alluring, there will always be someone, somewhere, willing to offer those treatments that promise huge results. But without the right training, that surgeon may not deliver — or may do so with a big risk of a bad outcome,” Dr. Pyle says.
By working with a board-certified surgeon, he adds, you can “avoid less reputable physicians or centers offering unbelievable results without formal training in an accredited plastic surgery residency or fellowship.”
To find out if you are a good candidate for liposuction, a personal consultation with a plastic surgeon is the best place to start. That visit is the place to discuss details regarding outcome, recovery, and costs, so you can make the best decision for you.