There’s no silver bullet for weight loss. To lose weight and keep it off, you need to be honest about how many calories you’re consuming and burning. The healthiest way to lose weight is to eat a clean diet and exercise regularly. But sometimes we do all the right things and still need a little extra help. At Dr. Chicago Lipo, we are proud to offer liposuction to help our clients contour their ideal bodies by targeting trouble areas for fat removal.
How Much Weight Can You Lose With Liposuction?
One of the questions we’re asked most frequently about lipo is how much weight a client can expect to lose. It’s important to understand that this treatment is a body contouring treatment rather than a weight loss treatment. The FDA currently approves this treatment to remove up to 11 pounds (five liters) of fat. However, on average, 4.5 pounds of fat are extracted during this treatment.
How Much Weight Should This Treatment Remove?
A more important question that how much weight can you lose with liposuction is how much weight should I lose with this treatment. That’s because there is a massive difference between a 130-pound woman having 10 pounds of fat removed and a 230-pound man having 10 pounds of fat removed. We recommend a sliding scale of how much fat should be removed based on your gender and body mass index (BMI).
Why Does BMI Matter?
It’s common to see people on the internet claiming that BMI is bogus. The truth is, BMI is a tool to describe a population as a whole. While not everyone who is obese will get diabetes, as a whole, people who are obese are significantly more likely to develop diabetes. When applied to an individual, BMI is simply the result of a formula: your body weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared.
Most people considering lipo are at a healthy body weight. They just need help spot-treating a few final pounds of resistant fat. According to a study published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the higher an individual’s BMI, the better the outcome of liposuction that removes a greater volume of fat. This makes a lot of sense when you consider the essential role body fat plays in your health.
Why Do Humans Need Fat?
A healthy body has fat within a certain range. Stored body fat provides your body with a source of energy when food is unavailable. It also cushions your skin, protecting it when you sit or bump into things. Finally, fat is essential for insulating your organs, ensuring that you do not lose too much heat.
It seems like most fat is visible. However, a significant percentage of your body fat is invisible. This is because some of your body fat is tucked away within and surrounding your internal organs. This visceral fat is found within every cell membrane (the outer skin of the cell that holds it together). Fat is also a crucial component of myelin, the adipose material that sheathes your nerve cells. Myelin is essential for allowing the nerve cells to send electrical impulses required to think, see, move, speak and perform the hundreds of tasks that are required to keep you alive.
Moreover, nearly 80% of your brain tissue by mass is fat. Finally, fat is an essential shock absorber that protects your organs from traumatic injuries, such as falls and motor vehicle accidents. It’s also an essential part of hormone and biochemical production, including bile and vitamin D.
How Often Is Liposuction Performed?
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, over 211,000 Americans opted for lipo in 2014. This represents a 5% increase from 2013. It is the third most frequently performed cosmetic treatment after only rhinoplasty and breast augmentation. While 85% to 90% of people who opted for this treatment are female, if you consider people who used it to treat gynecomastia, only 80% of people who received liposuction were female.
Am I a Good Candidate?
During your initial consultation, we can help you determine if you are a good candidate for liposuction. In general, the best candidates for lipo:
Abstain From Nicotine
The best candidate for any treatment abstains from nicotine. This includes all sources of the chemical, including smoking, vaping, gum, patches and dip. This is because nicotine increases your blood pressure. If you smoke and think liposuction is right for you, talk to your general health practitioner for local resources to help you quit. You will need to stop smoking for approximately six weeks before and two weeks after your treatment.
Are a Healthy Weight
To be a good candidate for lipo, you should be within 30% of your ideal body weight. This is because the treatment is not a fat loss treatment. It’s not intended to help you “lose weight”. It’s designed to sculpt your body into your ideal proportions. Moreover, your skin should be firm and elastic (it should “bounce back” when you pinch it a couple inches). Finally, you should have a decent muscle tone.
It’s also recommended that you can maintain a healthy lifestyle following your treatment. Many Americans are great at losing weight. The problem occurs when they succumb to cravings, binge, and gain back the weight they lost. Liposuction can remove up to five liters of fat from your body, and adult humans can’t grow new fat cells.
But if you consistently eat well above your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure), your existing fat cells will expand. This expansion may occur in the same areas that were treated in the first place. Remember, there is no silver bullet. Maintaining a healthy weight takes discipline and honesty.
Are in Good General Health
It’s important to be in good general health before any cosmetic treatment. If you come down with a severe illness two weeks before your treatment, you will need to reschedule. It is important that your body has the time and energy to heal from any existing illnesses before undergoing lipo or any other treatment.
During your initial consultation, you will undergo a general health screening to ensure you are healthy enough for this treatment at this time. You may need to alter certain supplements or medications you are taking for several weeks before and after your treatment. For example, MAOIs and vitamin E thin the blood. You’ll need to stop taking these until after your treatment. We will go over everything in detail when you come in.
It’s important that anyone considering this treatment has realistic expectations about the results. It won’t allow you to look like your favorite rock star or actress. It will help you look like a better version of yourself. So, what results can you realistically expect? The old saying is true, “every inch you can pinch is a pound of fat.”
This treatment can remove up to 11 pounds of fat safely, depending on how much fat you need to lose. Thus, you can expect to lose up to 11 inches from your body. It’s not uncommon to see several trouble areas treated with liposuction. For example, you may have an inch to lose around each of your upper arms and three inches of excess circumference around your lower abdomen (five pounds of fat).
Where Can I Get Lipo?
Lipo can be performed just about anywhere there is an inch of pinchable fat. The FDA has approved this treatment for the safe, effective removal of fat in the following areas:
- Inner or outer thighs
- Upper arms
- Lower or upper abdomen
- Lower back
- “Bra bulge”
- Beneath the buttocks
- Love handles
Types of Lipo
There are several types of lipo that may be performed. Here are a few of the most common:
Tumescent lipo, or fluid injection lipo, is the most commonly performed. It involves the injection of a significant volume of medicated solution into the treatment area before the fat removal. Depending on your unique case, this solution may be up to three times the volume of fat that is removed. This solution is composed of lidocaine (a local anesthetic), epinephrine (to contract the blood vessels) and an IV (intravenous) salt solution.
The lidocaine serves to numb the treatment area both during and after the treatment. In some cases, it is the only type of anesthesia you will receive. Epinephrine serves to mitigate the risk of swelling and bruising. Finally, the salt solution helps the fat come out easier. It is suctioned out at the same time as the fast. While the most common technique for this treatment, it also takes the longest.
The super-wet technique is extremely similar to tumescent lipo. However, the injected fluid volume is equal to the volume of fat that will be removed. This technique is far more time-efficient. However, it usually involves sedation or general anesthesia. During your initial consultation, we will discuss with you the advantages of sedation or general anesthesia to help you determine which is right for you.
Ultrasound-Assisted Lipo (UAL)
Did you know that ultrasound technology has been around for decades? It has been used safely and effectively in many applications. But thanks to brilliant minds in the medical community, it is now being used to help perform lipo. The ultrasonic vibrations liquify the adipose tissue. Afterwards, the cells can be vacuumed out easily.
UAL can be performed externally via a special emitter or internally via a small, heated cannula (thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera on the end). This technique is ideal for the removal of fat from dense, fibrous (fiber-filled) parts of the body. Examples include the upper back (bra bulge) and gynecomastia (enlarged male breast tissue).
Most often, UAL is performed in secondary (follow-up) treatments, in conjunction with tumescent technique or for extreme precision. This method takes longer than the super-wet technique but has many advantages.
Laser-Assisted Lipo (LAL)
Laser-assisted lipo is another lipo technique that liquefies fat cells. In the case of LAL, it is laser energy that accomplishes this. Once the adipose cells are liquefied, they can be drained out through tiny tubes (cannula) or vacuumed out easily. LAL is the preferred technique in confined areas, such as a second chin, jowls or the face. This is because the tubes are much smaller than those used in traditional lipo.
The most significant advantage of LAL is the laser energy stimulates the production of collagen. Collagen is a fibrous protein that plays a crucial role in keeping your skin tight. If you have mild-to-moderate skin laxity (sagging skin), LAL can help keep your skin taut and youthful after your body contouring treatment.
Schedule Your Initial Consultation Today
To learn more about lipo, contact the dedicated medical professionals at Dr. Chicago in Chicago, IL today to schedule your initial consultation. We can help you determine if you are a good candidate and what results you can realistically expect.