The Skinny on Cosmetic Surgery
While maintaining a healthy body weight is important for our longevity, our desire to lose weight is often ignited by more aesthetic reasons. Seeking what they believe will be a quick fix to their problems, many look into cosmetic surgery, specifically liposuction, to remove the excess fat cells they have deemed unsightly. Paired with appropriate lifestyle changes, cosmetic surgery can be part of the solution to living a more fulfilling life.
Dr. William Georgis of Georgis Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, has seen nearly everything in his thirty-plus years of experience as a board-certified plastic surgeon. He advises would-be patients that plastic surgery (also known as cosmetic surgery) is only one part of the puzzle. “In my experience, there is no magic fix. While I can surgically remove significant amounts of fat and tighten and tone through surgery, the patients with the best outcomes are those who live a healthy lifestyle and maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine both before and after surgery.”
“Cosmetic surgery is only one part of the puzzle.”
Too much of a good thing
Fat is not a bad thing. We need it to function normally. Fat stores excess calories in our body so we can use it when we deplete our immediate stores. It releases hormones that control metabolism and keeps us warm. An excessive amount of fat cells in the body, however, creates health risks.
The worst fat is visceral fat. It wraps around the organs and increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and many other illnesses. The biggest sign of having too much visceral fat is a large abdomen – that’s why people with an “apple shape” are at higher risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Subcutaneous fat lives directly under the skin and generally has fewer health implications than visceral. Those who are pear-shaped are luckier in that respect, being that the deep subcutaneous fat around the buttocks and thighs can be treated effectively using liposuction. Liposuction breaks up and removes deep subcutaneous fat. Most people have at least one area where the subcutaneous fat is stubbornly resistant. Most men will have deposits in their chest (gynecomastia), waist area, and buttocks. Women will usually carry extra in their breasts, hips, waist and thighs. Liposuction can also treat smaller areas like the neck, arms, and lower legs.
The right way to lose weight
A cosmetic surgery can be a valuable supplement to, but not a replacement for, healthy lifestyle changes in diet and exercise in order to live a better life. “While plastic surgery can do a lot of things, it cannot guarantee a loss of cholesterol, a dramatic amount of weight loss or remove dangerous visceral fat that surrounds the organs,” says Dr. Georgis. “And it cannot keep you from putting weight on again after surgery. Â What it can do is help you achieve your aesthetic goals while you are maintaining your health into the future.”
Dr. Georgis has had many patients who have lost tremendous amounts of weight through better diet and exercise and through medical intervention. These patients first consult with their primary care physician and then fitness professionals such as personal trainers, wellness coaches, and nutritionists to build the foundation for living a healthier life. In cases where weight loss has been one hundred pounds or more, plastic surgeons work to bolster their patients’ positive lifestyle changes by removing excess skin and remaining fat deposits. This surgical fine-tuning can help the patient fully appreciate their new body and shape, allowing them to fit better into their new clothes and give them the confidence they have earned through their hard work.
Success stories are not finished as they leave the operating room, however. Sticking to healthy diet and exercise after surgery is necessary to maintain the surgeon’s work. Dr. Georgis explains,“The best surgical results come from careful following of post-surgical instructions and a commitment to a healthy diet and regular exercise.” While the subcutaneous fat cells are removed via liposuction, visceral fat can come back and increase at any time, along with its concomitant health risks. Beyond these immediate health risks, subcutaneous fat treated by liposuction can also come back in other areas.