Plastic Surgery for Weight Loss

scaleOften times when I consult with patients who are considering a tummy tuck or liposuction, they will ask “How much weight will I lose?”. Unfortunately, for most patients the answer is a pound or two, so not very much. Plastic Surgery is just not intended as a weight loss tool.

While both procedures do remove fatty tissue, and in the case of a tummy tuck, loose skin, these just don’t weigh very much. Fat as a tissue, is not very dense. It takes a lot of fat to weigh even a pound. I always weigh the amount removed when I do a tummy tuck and it almost always between 2 to 3 pounds, that’s it. This if for the patients who have a fairly generous roll between their belly button and pubic area. For the patients who really only have loose skin, usually from babies, it might not even weigh a pound.

With lipo, the same applies. I am able to suction out the fat, but fat just doesn’t weigh that much. In the ‘pound of feathers vs pound of lead’ comparison, fat is in the feather category and a tissue like muscle is in the lead category.

What these operations are really intended to do is to shape and contour your figure by trimming off inches. They tighten loose skin and remove stubborn fat pockets to balance your body and improve your shape. They also change dress sizes for a lot of patients. So many patients tell me they have to buy larger sizes to accomodate their thighs or hips or tummy only to have their jeans or pants then be too loose every where else. These are the kinds of problems Lipo and Tummy Tucks do improve.

I hope this helps to answer the weight loss question. If you have questions please contact us at (502) 721 0330 or via our Virtual Consultation page at www.CorbettCosmeticSurgery.com

Lee Corbett, MD

Medical Director Corbett Cosmetic Aesthetic Surgery and Med Spa

Your Weight and Cosmetic Surgery

A common question that I hear when new patients are considering a cosmetic procedure, particularly liposuction or a tummy tuck, is “Should I lose weight first?”

My answer is that you should be within about 10 to 15 pounds of your goal weight at the time of surgery. Mind you “goal weight” is not the same as ideal body weight. Ideal body weight is a weight range that you will find on Body Mass Index charts. However, for a variety of reasons ideal body weight isn’t attainable , and honestly a lot of people feel more comfortable / think they look their best at a weight that is outside of this range. I call this your “goal weight” and I want you close to that number at the time of surgery.

The reason it’s ok to proceed with 10 pounds left to go is because as you lose weight it doesn’t all come off of one body part. There is no such thing as targeted or spot weight loss. Doing crunches doesn’t melt the fat on your tummy, it makes your abs stronger. Doing lunges doesn’t make your thighs smaller, it makes them stronger. When you lose weight you lose it all over your body. So 10 pounds isn’t really going to affect the  outcome. So, if you are more than 10 -15 lbs above your goal weight, it’s best to work on that before surgery.

Every plastic surgeon will have some guidelines on your weight, there are no hard and fast rules on this. But, most of my colleagues tend to agree on the 10-15 pound zone.

I hope this helps those of you who are contemplating cosmetic surgery prepare appropriately.

Lee Corbett, MD

Medical Director Corbett Cosmetic Aesthetic Surgery and Med Spa

 

Can Liposuction help me lose weight and lower my blood pressure?

Over the weekend I had a good question posed about what liposuction can and cannot do. So, I thought I’d answer that question on my blog to help clear up some pretty common misconceptions about Liposuction.

First, there are several liposuction techniques. Tumescent lipo, ultrasoninc lipo both internal and external, and laser lipo such as the SmartLipo® technique that I prefer. Although all are a bit different, the end result of any of these techniques is a contouring or sculpting effect. Liposuction is a tool we use to remove fat that will  not go away with a reasonable amount of exercise and when maintaining a healthy diet. Common areas are under the chin, the back of the arms, bra line, tummy, love handles, inner and outer thighs or saddlebag area. The goal when treating any area is to bring that problem spot back into proportion with the rest of your figure. I compare it to a nail file. It is a tool we use to smooth out a “rough spot”.

Liposuction is NOT a way to lose weight. It will not lower your blood pressure. It will not lower your cholesterol, raise your HDL or lower your LDL. It will not help your diabetes. It is not a way to shrink yourself. Again, it is a sculpting tool that we use improve your shape and perhaps trim off a dress size of so by ridding you of a bulge on your tummy or hips for instance.

So why cant we use Lipo to just suck out 30 or 40 pounds of fat? Well, fat is not very dense as a tissue. Think of the “pound of feather, pound of lead” concept. Well, fat falls into the feathers category. It is not a very dense tissue so it takes a whole lot of fat to add up to even 5 pounds. Liposuction is a very safe procedure, in fact it is the second most commonly performed cosmetic surgery in this country behind breast augmentation. That is because Plastic Surgeons use it properly. We remove maybe 2 or 3 pounds of fat with a typical lipo case. In contrast, trying to remove 30 or 40 pounds of fat would NOT be safe and could lead to very serious complications. So the reality is that while removing a tummy bulge or saddlebags may change you a dress size or make your clothes fit a lot better, that’s not enough of a weight change to help with BP or cholesterol or diabetes.

Hope this explanation helps.

Lee Corbett, MD

Corbett Cosmetic Aesthetic Surgery and MediSpa

Weight Gain after Contouring Surgery

This past week one of my most favorite patients from this past year came back in with her husband and was worried because her tummy seemed to pooch out more. She had a tummy tuck just about a year ago. She had called and said her tummy was getting bigger. This sounded a bit unusual to me so I asked them to come back in so I could examine her and help find a solution. When I examined her the tummy was still nice and flat, her muscle repair was still intact and her skin was still tight. But…she was definitely a bit more full. When we looked back at her chart from her initial visit and after some discussion it looked like she might have gained some weight over the past year. So she hopped on the scale and sure enough, she had picked up about 15 pounds since surgery.

Weight gain after body contouring surgery usually shows itself as described above. When we do a tummy tuck or liposuction we are not only shedding excess skin and fatty tissue, we are sculpting and re-contouring the body. Now, if you maintain your pre-surgical weight you should maintain your results in the long term. If however, you do add  weight what tends to happen is that the beneficial shape changes that resulted from your surgery maintain but you are just a bit larger. As in this patient, her tummy is still flat, her skin still taught, her muscle repair still intact, she is just a bit thicker at her current weight. What does not happen, and I hear this all the time, is that other body parts become disproportionately large. In other words, for example, your tush and thighs will not get extra large with weight gain if you’ve had your tummy liposuctioned or a tummy tuck. You will simply get larger but maintain your shape proportions.

As for my patient, after a good laugh was had by all three of us, we agreed her best option was to get back on her exercise regimen that had her at her lower weight to begin with!