Caption: Can liposuction treat obesity? Does it allow you to eat whatever you want thereafter without consequences? Dr Terence Goh, Department of Department of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery, Singapore General Hospital, shares the limitations and misconceptions about liposuction. (iStock photo)
"Liposuction provides no direct health benefits; the procedure is mainly applied to areas that need improvement in their appearance. Most people would achieve the same or better results with a healthy lifestyle of regular exercise, a balance diet, and adequate sleep," emphasises Dr Terence Goh, Consultant, Department of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group.
Liposuction: What it is not
"It is not a weight-loss method and certainly not a treatment for obesity," Dr Goh adds.
When a person gains weight, each fat cell increases in size. During liposuction, the fat cells in a specific area are permanently removed and this alters the shape of the body. However, if the patient does not maintain a healthy lifestyle after the surgery, the remaining fat cells will grow bigger.
Not a weight-loss solution
For patients who are overweight (BMI between 25 and 29), liposuction may be of use, if they understand that it is not mainly for weight loss but as an adjunctive procedure during tummy tuck or body contouring surgery.
For patients who are obese (BMI more than 30) or morbidly obese (BMI more than 35), there is a limit to how much fat can be removed, and liposuction will not make a difference at all when compared to a person's overall size.
Not for sagging skin removal
Liposuction does not tighten loose skin and it cannot help individuals who want to remove sagging skin. It can however, be combined with procedures such as arm lift or thigh lift, which addresses the loose skin during body contouring procedures. It is intended for patients within 30 per cent of their ideal weight.
Not a license to eat what you want
Whilst liposuction can permanently remove fat from the body, it is unable to prevent future weight gain. Getting liposuction done does not mean you can eat whatever you want thereafter. The only way to maintain the results is to adopt a healthy lifestyle, eat a balanced diet and have enough rest.
Articles on HealthXchange.sg are meant for informational purposes only and cannot replace professional surgical, medical or health advice, examination, diagnosis or treatment.