If you’re struggling with fat deposits around your stomach that won’t respond to diet and exercise, you’re not alone. As we age, our metabolism and body fat distribution changes, especially in the abdominal area. In women, childbirth can be followed by new deposits of stubborn and unsightly belly fat. Genetics can also be a contributing factor in body shape and fat accumulation.
Liposuction is now at the top of the list of cosmetic surgeries performed in the United States. While there’s no miracle solution to get rid of that jiggly belly, liposuction can provide amazing results. Liposuction is designed to remove subcutaneous fat, which is located under the skin but on top of the abdominal muscle wall.
While most people think of liposuction as just fat removal surgery, it is really much more than that. Liposuction can be used to contour the body. This is only possible with surgical liposuction, where a plastic surgeon has precise control of the amount of fat removed from the area. When performed by a qualified, board-certified plastic surgeon, liposuction is more like liposculpture. For example, in addition to removing love handles or a belly pouch, a plastic surgeon can use liposuction to contour and define the waistline.
Although liposuction is a method used to get rid of fat, it should not be used as a weight loss solution. Liposuction works best on deposits of fat that are concentrated in a particular area (like stomach, thighs, hips or buttocks). After liposuction, patients may lose a little weight, but it’s not likely to be significant. Also, liposuction won’t address a bulging stomach caused by weakness in the abdominal wall. Pregnancy and weight gain can cause the abdominal wall to separate. No amount of sit-ups or crunches can fix this problem. Patients with this issue need a full abdominoplasty or tummy tuck. During a full tummy tuck, the surgeon will “knit” the muscles of the abdominal wall back together, as well as remove the subcutaneous fat and loose skin. Sometimes pregnancy or significant weight gains and losses can stretch out the skin in the abdomen area, but the underlying muscle wall is intact. In this case, a “mini-tuck”, where the surgeon tightens and removes loose skin, can be done to restore the appearance of the mid-section.
Abdominoplasty and liposuction are two different surgical procedures that can be done individually or combined, with the goal of both being to improve the appearance of your midsection. For example, a tummy tuck would be performed to repair the abdominal muscle wall and remove any excess skin and fat from the belly. Liposuction of the hips and waist could be done in addition to the tummy tuck to define the waistline.
Both options provide great results and our doctors can help you determine which procedure is best for you. If you’re thinking of a tummy tuck, but plan to have more children, you may want to put it on hold until your family is complete or consider liposuction.
If you have been struggling to get rid of that nuisance belly fat, schedule a consultation with one of our award-winning, board-certified plastic surgeons, Dr. Peter Butler, Dr. Jocelyn Leveque or Dr. Nathan Patterson at Gulf Coast Plastic Surgery.