10 CONSUMER TIPS
If you’ve resolved to get in shape in 2001, the road ahead may seem daunting. Getting fit often requires major lifestyle changes including reducing food intake,selecting foods that are better for you, and sticking to an exercise routine. Could lipoplasty (liposuction) offer an easier way to achieve your ideal body? The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) offers these consumer tip questions and answers to help you determine if lipoplasty is right for you:
- Have you tried diet and exercise? A healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise are always the first choices to improve fitness. If these methods fail to improve specific problem areas of fat accumulation, then lipoplasty may be the answer.
- Is your weight within the normal range? Lipoplasty is a body contouring technique, not a method for overall weight reduction. The ideal candidate should be no more than 15% over his or her ideal body weight, although some patients who exceed this amount may also derive benefits from the procedure.
- Do you plan to lose or gain weight in the future? Your current weight and future plans are factors that must be taken into consideration when considering lipoplasty. If you plan to lose a significant amount of weight, it is usually preferable that you do so prior to surgery in order to obtain the best results.
- Are you in generally good health? It is important that you share information about your health with your plastic surgeon. If you have any pre-existing health conditions, your plastic surgeon is likely to consult with your personal physician prior to making a decision about whether you should undergo surgery.
- Is your excess fat in specific areas, such as thigh “saddlebags,” “love handles” around your waist, or extra padding on your hips? If so, you may be a good candidate for lipoplasty. Localized fat deposits frequently are resistant to diet and exercise. Lipoplasty of these problem areas can help you achieve a smoother body contour.
- How “elastic” is your skin? Patients with good skin tone will obtain the best results from lipoplasty. Individuals with diminished skin tone due to weight gain or loss, pregnancy, or the aging process may require a skin tightening procedure, whether alone or in combination with lipoplasty.
- Do you have cellulite? Lipoplasty is not effective in treating cellulite, a condition that gives the skin an uneven, dimpled appearance. If you are bothered by cellulite, your plastic surgeon may be able to recommend some alternative treatments instead of, or in conjunction with, lipoplasty; but there currently is no objectively proven method for eliminating this condition.
- Can you take sufficient time for recovery? The amount of time it takes for recovery from lipoplasty varies depending on your individual healing characteristics and on the extent of the procedure. Typically, it takes 1 to 2 weeks before you can return to normal activities, and a little longer before you can resume exercise.
- Can you maintain your new body contour? Fat cells that are removed from your body by lipoplasty are permanently gone. However, lipoplasty will not prevent weight gain in the future if you overeat and fail to exercise. Before undergoing lipoplasty, you should make a firm commitment to a healthier lifestyle.
- Have you consulted with a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS)? Surgeons certified by the ABPS are trained in the full range of plastic surgery of the face and body and may be able to suggest solutions you may not have considered. Certainly, when you are considering surgery, you should remember that all surgery carries risks as well as benefits, and a candid discussion with a qualified plastic surgeon should help to answer your questions. For referral to an ABPS-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in cosmetic surgery, call the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, toll-free: 1-888-ASAPS-11 (272-7711).