There are many non-surgical body contouring treatments on the market these days, and while some of them can be effective, none of them is as effective as liposuction. Liposuction provides reliable and permanent results. At Murphy Plastic Surgery in Englewood, CO, we offer this effective treatment to everyone in the Denver, CO area, to help them reach their aesthetic goals. Let’s go over some common questions about this procedure, starting with whether it’s permanent.
Is Liposuction a Permanent Fix?
The good news here is that, yes, liposuction is permanent if you want it to be. This is a very successful surgery with an excellent track record. The reason it is permanent is because of the way fat cells work.
Our bodies make fat cells in childhood, but after puberty, it is very rare for the human body ever to make new fat cells. We have a set number. This is genetically determined for the most part and something you cannot change: your body will make the number of fat cells it wants to make. You can’t change how many fat cells your body makes, but you can change how many fat cells your body has. Liposuction removes fat cells. Once these cells are removed, they do not grow back. This is why the results of lipo can be considered permanent. For the majority of patients who get lipo, over 80%, the results last for a lifetime.
Of course, this leaves of minority for whom the results are not permanent. There are a few risk factors that can put you into this latter category.
Poor Lifestyle Choices
The number one reason that results may not be permanent is poor lifestyle choices. While it is true that your body will not grow new fat cells under most conditions, the remaining fat cells can continue to expand if you gain weight.
It would not be safe, nor is it possible, to remove every fat cell from any area of the body. Our bodies need fat cells for many reasons. You will always have some fat cells remaining, even after liposuction. If you live a sedentary lifestyle and consistently overeat, these fat cells will expand, and you may gain weight in the area once again.
Our genetics determine the number of fat cells we have in our bodies, and this is particularly true for adipose fat. Adipose fat is the fat that lives around our organs, cushioning and protecting them and serving as a storage area for energy. This fat is particularly difficult to remove with diet and exercise, and it is typically what we target with lipo. The important thing to know here is that your body will store fat in a particular area more easily than another.
This is genetically determined, and you can guess where your body loves to store fat (if you don’t already know from experience) by looking at your close relatives. For example, if a number of your older family members have double chins, you likely have a genetic predisposition to store fat in this area. If you get lipo, but your genetics predispose you to store fat in a particular area, you may continue to do so even after lipo, especially if you make poor lifestyle choices.
Women put on weight more easily than men, and this is primarily due to the way the female body prioritizes whatever is necessary for a healthy pregnancy. A body does not know about a person’s individual family planning decisions and cannot be “told” that it doesn’t need to store fat to sustain a baby during pregnancy.
It is still unusual for a woman to generate new fat cells after puberty. However, it does occasionally happen, especially if a woman becomes pregnant. Pregnancy can undo the results of your lipo treatment.
How Can I Keep My Results?
Despite all we have said above, you are not at the mercy of your genetics or sex. There are ways to protect your results.
The number one way to keep your results for the long term is to eat well. There is an old saying that you cannot outrun your mouth, and this just means that no amount of exercise can make up for a bad diet. A good diet is healthy, balanced, and sustainable. Crash dieting is not healthy eating.
Be sure to prioritize healthy fats from grass-fed and pastured animal sources and naturally fat plants like olives, avocadoes, and coconuts. Be sure to get plenty of good healthy protein, as well, in the form of grass-fed and pastured animal meat and dairy whenever possible. Finally, get fresh fruit and vegetables into your diet, avoiding overly starchy vegetables like white potatoes and remembering that fruit is very sweet and should be treat, not a mainstay. Avoid all processed foods and all quick carbohydrates, which is anything that contains refined sugar or refined, white grains.
Exercise is important too, but just remember that exercise tends to make you hungry out of proportion to the number of calories actually burned. Your body always strives to stay in metabolic balance, meaning that, while exercise can give you a temporary metabolic lift, your metabolism will actually go down more than normal later to stay in balance if at all possible.
Your body will also impel you to eat more in order to make up for the calories burned. Be aware of these issues and view exercise as a way to improve your health, strength, and cardiovascular and respiratory systems rather than a way to lose weight.
Be sure to include strength training in your exercise because muscle is more metabolically active than fat. This simply means that your body needs more calories to maintain muscle than it does to maintain fat, meaning that the more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn doing anything: even sleeping.
A great diet and healthy exercise are the most important things, but your lifestyle choices will also be a factor. Excessive alcohol consumption and excess smoking often go hand-in-hand with weight gain. It’s also important to get plenty of uninterrupted sleep and to avoid stress as much as possible.
As mentioned, pregnancy can undo your results. Most women gain around 20 pounds during pregnancy, and only half of this is actually from water retention and the weight of the baby. The other half is pure fat. Your body will live off this extra fat storage and use it to support the baby as it grows.
Because of this, it’s possible you may actually grow new fat cells during pregnancy, completely undoing the results of your liposuction. It’s best to seek lipo after you’re done having children.
When Will I See the Results?
You will see your first results about one month after the procedure when your body is healed enough for you to notice the loss of fat. You’ll enjoy these results for about one to three months before your final results kick in, and these will develop until the four to six-month mark.
Your final results happen as the body settles into its treatment, re-distributing the fat cells that remain. By sticking to a healthy diet and lifestyle changes during this time, you can even cause more dramatic final results to develop.
Other Treatments That Can Enhance Fat Reduction
Other fat reduction treatments, such as Coolsculpting, can often be a benefit to helping you smooth the way the appearance of cellulite and tighten skin. These can enhance your overall look and complement your liposuction procedure, so talk to us about your options. You may also benefit from working with a dietitian or nutritionist to help you get in the habit of eating a healthy and balanced diet.
Good Candidates for Lipo
To determine for sure if you are a good candidate for liposuction, be sure to come talk to us in consultation. We will evaluate your goals and health history, take a look at the area you want to treat, and help you decide if this is the right treatment for you. The best candidates usually have at least 30% body fat that can be removed but are within a reasonable distance of their goal weight. They have had a stable weight for a while and can commit to maintaining it.
Good candidates are usually interested in removing excess fat from stubborn areas that will not respond to diet and exercise.
Get the Permanent Results You’ve Been Waiting for
If you’ve been trying to address stubborn areas of fat and they simply won’t respond, this treatment could be the right choice for you. It offers permanent results for most people, and especially those willing to commit to a healthy lifestyle. Contact us at Murphy Plastic Surgery in Englewood, CO to find out if lipo is right for you.