Liposuction in Los Angeles: Is it Worth it?

Liposuction, a Los Angeles cosmetic staple, is here to stay. According to a study conducted by The American Society of Plastic Surgeons [ASPS], liposuction procedures in the United States increased by five percent in 2014, making it one the fastest growing cosmetic surgical procedures in the country. While liposuction grows in insatiable popularity, it continues to garner scrutiny in the lay and medical communities. It’s dangerous, some warn. The effects don’t last, others say. Recent research, however, counters the naysayers in a myriad ways.

First, liposuction is safer today than it was even a year ago. “The demand for plastic surgery continues to grow as medical advancements are made and technology improves resulting in a wider array of options for patients,” said ASPS President Scot Glasberg, MD. As more and more patients opt for liposuction and other cosmetic procedures, medical practitioners learn more about, gain skills in, and streamline their surgeries, making them safer.

Liposuction has been accessible to the public for more than three decades, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, during which time the community of cosmetic surgeons has established several layers of certifications and trainings a doctor must undergo in order to perform liposuction procedures. Surgeons certified through the American Society of Plastic Surgeons take special classes, tests, and recertification in order to keep liposuction as safe as possible.

During the last 30 years, surgeons and researchers in the medical field have been able to find what factors and circumstances make liposuction safe and viable for some patients, and dangerous for others. Some laypeople see liposuction as a means to lose weight and reduce the health risks associated with obesity, when it should be viewed as a way to spot control and contour the body. The more tissue a patient wants removed, the more risky liposuction is. According to a study conducted by the ASPS, major complications occur in fewer than 1 in 1,000 patients during or after liposuction, and the complications usually occur when a patient has fat removed beyond their BMI threshold. This means that when a patient with a lower BMI (Body Mass Index) has too much fat removed at once (between 3 to 5 liters), they are at more risk to develop seromas, or fluid build-ups under the skin. Bigger patients undergoing large-volume liposuction are at a lower risk for developing seromas. Still, 5 liters of fat weighs roughly 20 pounds; an obese person would most likely have to couple liposuction surgery with other lifestyle changes to achieve a desired weight.

Liposuction is safest for patients wanting to address their “trouble spots,” or areas on their body that retain fat regardless of how much they diet and exercise. These areas typically include the inner and outer upper thigh, hips, lower back, and abdomen. These stubborn, fat-storing areas are determined by where on the body patients are genetically disposed to carry more fat cells. Ideal liposuction recipients are in relatively good shape, and have supple and firm skin. Not only do these ideal patients face less risk, they typically also enjoy better results, as their skin tends to shape up nicely after their procedure. The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery corroborates by stating, “Liposuction can improve your shape, which can help you look thinner and more fit, but it’s not a weight loss method. While some overweight patients can benefit from the reshaping effects, the most satisfied patients tend to be happy with their weight prior to surgery.”

Potential liposuction patients in Los Angeles worry that the dreamy results of their surgery will be fleeting, and that the fat will return soon after. Recent research, however, suggests that once the fat cells are removed from an area, they are gone for good. The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery claims that gaining the same fat back after liposuction is a myth. “At birth, the body stops producing fat cells, but they do get bigger or smaller depending on your weight. Liposuction reduces the amount of fat cells in targeted areas.” According to Cori Agarwal, M.D, a surgeon at University of Utah Health Care, “The interesting thing about liposuction is that once you’ve sucked out those fat cells, they’re gone for good, unless you were to gain a lot of extra weight,” Agarwal said. “If you’re at your baseline weight, you’re not going to gain fat in those areas.” Nevertheless, medical professionals offer the caveat that falling into unhealthy habits after your surgery may result in accumulating fat in other areas of your body.

Most, if not all, cosmetic surgeons agree that prospective patients should discuss liposuction with their doctor before making any final decisions. Surgeons like Dr. Mark Youssef of Younique Cosmetic Surgery in Los Angeles are more than happy to discuss the risks and rewards associated with, as well as candidacy for liposuction. For those who safely qualify for liposuction, the rewards supremely outweigh the risks.

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