Blog — Notes of a Plastic Surgeon

Welcome to my blog. I am a plastic surgeon in Seattle and have been in private practice since 1991. I've seen more than a few interesting faces and cases through my years spent in the exam room, the operating room and the emergency room. And I have an opinion on just about everything relating to plastic surgery (and a lot of unrelated stuff). If you like my blog, let me know. Thanks for reading! Lisa


Seattle Plastic Surgeon discusses possible hazards of removal of superficial fat. 

cc - rubenesque - CopyThe Wall Street Journal recently ran an article about non-surgical fat removal using two different devices. One freezes the fat under the skin and the other zaps the fat with a laser than is focused under the skin. These two procedures basically kill the fat cells, they leak out all their fat and then the body removes the fat droplets, metabolizes and excretes the fat. Over weeks to months, the treated areas slim down.

Does that sound sweet or what??? But stop and think about it…………

The fat treated this way and with other techniques like liposuction, tummy tucks and body lifts is subcutaneous fat. It’s just the fat that resides under the skin and is harmless as far as overall health is concerned. Yeah, it’s unsightly and can get in the way but it’s harmless.

Visceral fat, on the other hand is bad news. This is the fat that is internal and encases and infiltrates the internal organs. This is the fat that causes the “beer belly” in many men and in some women. This is the fat that makes one an “apple” as opposed to hip and thigh fat that makes one a “pear”. Visceral fat produces all sorts of bad substances that lead to metabolic and cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Stay with me here. If subcutaneous fat cells are removed using fat removal methods and the patient gains weight, those fat cells are not around to enlarge and store the excess fat. Soooo….the amount of visceral fat may increase instead. A person may have slimmer hips or thighs or their love handles may be smaller, but their “beer belly” and all the health issues that go with a “beer belly” may increase.

It always bears repeating what I have been telling prospective patients for years. Liposuction and body contouring such as tummy tuck and lower body lifts is for patients that are at a healthy and stable weight. These procedures are not to be used as a substitute for diet and exercise. They are only for the left over, stubborn bulges and/or lax skin. Using these procedures as a weight loss tool will leave many patients disappointed and, if patients gain weight after surgery, at increased risk for obesity related diseases.

Thanks for reading.  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder


Category: Body Contouring, General Health, Laser Liposuction, New Technology, Non-invasive, Obesity, Patient Beware, Plastic Surgery, Tummy Tuck | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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