Can Liposuction Get Rid of Belly Fat?

Do you avoid wearing tight shirts because you don’t want anyone to see your belly fat? Is lower belly fat affecting the shorts and pants you wear? If so, you’re probably frustrated by your appearance and wondering about your fat removal options. Today, our experts at East Bay Aesthetic Surgery in Pleasanton, CA and Danville, CA are taking a closer look at liposuction, including whether it can be used to eliminate belly fat.

Can Liposuction Get Rid of Belly Fat?

Liposuction can get rid of belly fat if the fat is subcutaneous. It is important to understand that there are two types of fat, subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat is fat that accumulates around the deepest layer of your skin. On the other hand, visceral fat is fat that accumulates around and in your organs. Lipo wasn’t designed to remove visceral fat, but it was designed to remove a lot of subcutaneous fat.

How Much Subcutaneous Fat Can Be Removed With This Procedure? 

If you are seeking lipo to remove subcutaneous belly fat, you can expect it to remove roughly 25 to 30% of the fat cells in the area. However, the amount of fat removed depends on several factors, including the size of the area, the amount of excess fat in the area, and your total body mass.

How the Size of the Targeted Area Affects Treatment Results

As a general rule, the smaller the treatment area is, the more excess fat will be removed. If you want to remove excess fat from your submental region, underarms, or knees, up to 80% of the fat cells in the area can be removed. On the other hand, if your goal is to reduce excess back fat, lipo may only be able to remove 20% of your back fat cells.

How the Amount of Excess Fat in the Targeted Area Affects Treatment Results

Typically, the more excess fat you have in an area of concern, the more fat will be removed in a single session. Remember, you can expect lipo to remove around one-quarter of the fat cells in your belly. If you have 20 pounds of belly fat, lipo can remove around five pounds of fat from your stomach. If you have five pounds of belly fat, lipo can remove around one pound of fat from your stomach.

How Your Body Mass Affects Treatment Results

As a good general rule of thumb, lipo can only result in a fat loss of up to 11 pounds. This is because there is a limit to what percentage of your body weight can be removed. If you don’t weigh a lot, we may only be able to remove nine or 10 pounds of fat from your whole body safely.

How Long Does This Procedure Take? 

Lipo can take around three or four hours to complete depending on the number of areas being treated and how much excess fat you are trying to lose. The length of the procedure is also affected by the technique used and whether you are receiving other procedures at the same time. For instance, if you are getting a breast reduction or arm lift in addition to lipo, your procedure will take a lot longer.

However, it is worth noting that lipo is an outpatient procedure. Even if you receive several procedures that last a total of five or six hours, you will be able to go home on the same day as your operations. You will be observed for a brief period to ensure that the anesthesia has worn off, but you will not have to spend the night in a hospital. Just make sure you have someone to drive you home.

What Other Post-Op Instructions Should I Be Aware of?

You should keep in mind that you may need to take a week or two off from work depending on the nature of your job and the scope of your procedure. You are more likely to need more time off from work if your job is less sedentary or you are seeking lipo for more than just belly fat.

To speed up your recovery, you should make a point to stay hydrated and well-nourished, sleep as much as possible, get moderate exercise regularly, and wear a prescription-strength compression garment to improve circulation in the targeted area. You can also recover faster by refraining from nicotine and alcohol consumption until your skin has healed.

How Soon Will I See the Results of My Procedure? 

Lipo works by suctioning out excess subcutaneous fat cells in the treatment area, like the belly. Therefore, you will be slimmer and lighter as soon as your procedure is over. However, you won’t be able to appreciate the full extent of your results until your recovery period is over. This can take several weeks.

Am I a Good Candidate for This Procedure?

The only way to ensure you are a good candidate for this procedure is to come in for an initial consultation. If you are in good health, there is a good chance you will qualify. However, your areas of concern must be evaluated before a final determination is made because there has to be enough excess fat in the areas of concern for this procedure to be effective. It is also important that there is not too much excess fat in the areas of concern.

Who Isn’t a Good Candidate for This Procedure?

This procedure may not be right for you if you plan to become pregnant in the future. The fat removal results of this procedure are permanent because adults can’t grow new fat cells. Therefore, after your procedure, there will never be as many fat cells in your belly as there were pre-op. However, it is important to keep in mind that this procedure will only remove around a quarter to a third of your subcutaneous fat cells.

The remaining 67 to 75% of fat cells are undamaged by the suction device and can still expand to store more fat. If you plan to become pregnant in the future, you should keep in mind that you may put on fat during your pregnancy and you may need a follow-up procedure afterward. Sometimes, women gain weight during pregnancy and find that they can’t lose it alone.

When Is the Best Time to Schedule My Procedure? 

The best time to schedule a lipo session is when you are committed to leading a healthy lifestyle for the rest of your life. If you lose and gain weight regularly, you may want to hold off on this procedure until you feel confident that you can maintain your weight. If you are committed to a lifelong healthy lifestyle but find yourself struggling to maintain your weight, consider asking a registered dietitian for help.

Note, while we take into consideration whether you can maintain your weight post-op when determining who qualifies, you can lose weight after lipo. You can even gain weight after lipo. To qualify for this procedure, you should be committed to not gaining too much fat post-op. In other words, it is perfectly acceptable to gain muscle mass, lose fat mass, or increase fat mass by no more than 10 pounds.

An Additional Note

People commonly schedule lipo in the winter because one of the recovery guidelines is to minimize exposure to sunlight. They would rather take a week or two to recover from this procedure indoors when temperatures regularly dip below the 70s than when their kids are on summer break and doing lots of outdoor activities. Another reason why this procedure is commonly scheduled in the winter is that the final results will be apparent by summer.

Also, keep in mind that you will have to take several days off from work so your body has a chance to heal itself. If your workload increases significantly during a certain time of month or year, talk to your supervisor about coverage for your assignments before you schedule your lipo for belly fat session.

Find Out Today Whether Liposuction Is Right for You

If you’re sick and tired of feeling self-conscious due to excess belly fat, you may be considered a good candidate for liposuction. However, the only way to find out for sure is to discuss your goals with a surgeon. Contact us today at East Bay Aesthetic Surgery in Danville, CA and Pleasanton, CA to schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Eric P. Bachelor, MD, FACS. 

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