In theory, liposuction sounds great: You go into the doctor’s office and emerge not long afterward with less body fat. And looking at liposuction before and afterpictures drives home the notion that it’s a quick fix for all your body blues. In fact, liposuction is neither quick nor easy; it’s a serious procedure with substantial recovery time and potentially serious side effects. While it may be a good option for some people, there are plenty of reasons not to get liposuction.
1. It’s Not a Weight Loss Solution. One of the biggest myths about liposuction is that it’s a good tool for weight loss. The truth is that it’s actually not recommended for people who are overweight or obese. It’s best used by individuals who are at their ideal weight but have one or two trouble spots that simply won’t go away with diet and exercise. The reason? Liposuction results look best on firm skin, and overweight people who undergo the procedure are often left with saggy, loose skin. It’s for shaping rather than shape reduction.
2. Side Effects and Complications Can Be Severe. Liposuction is an invasive surgical procedure in which a long, thin tube is inserted under the skin to remove fat deposits. Due to the nature of the surgery, bruising, swelling, scarring and pain are common side effects. But there’s a real chance that more severe complications can arise, resulting in long-term pain, infection, nerve damage, dangerous blood clots and more. And when general anesthesia is used, the death rate for liposuction is about one in 5,000 patients. Some variations from traditional liposuction reduce side effects and complications, however. SmartLipo and ultrasound assisted liposuction, for example, use laser technology and ultrasonic energy, respectively, to liquefy the fat under a local anesthetic. Water assisted liposuction reduces bruising, pain and downtime by using a saline stream to break up and remove fat. Zeltiq CoolSculpting, wherein fat cells are treated using a controlled cooling procedure, offers the fewest side effects of all because it’s completely non-invasive.
3. Results May Not Last. The multiple varieties and methods of liposuction have one thing in common: fat cells are eliminated. That sounds permanent, and for those particular fat cells, it is. But the body has many other fat cells that can grow and fill in the areas where liposuction has been performed. People who gain weight after the procedure can undo any benefits. Moreover, the area may actually look worse than it did originally because of uneven fat cell distribution.
Thousands of people in the United States undergo liposuction every year, but it’s a serious medical procedure that shouldn’t be mistaken for a risk-free quick fix.