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Often, the first step when considering plastic surgery is research. When looking up a body contouring procedure, such as tummy tuck surgery or liposuction, you will likely come across the statement, “plastic surgery is not for weight loss?”
But what does that mean exactly?
After all, when others want to compliment you after you tighten up an area, such as the stomach, thighs, or waist, they always ask, “Did you lose weight,” not “Did you tighten up your thighs?”
Weight loss seems to be an all-encompassing topic, and yet, even though plastic surgery does accomplish a reduction in fat and excess skin, there are vast differences between the two.
Modifying Your Expectations
Women and men undergo body contouring surgeries to remove excess fat and skin, making them appear thinner, firmer, and more sculpted—all terms associated with weight loss.
However, plastic surgery is body contouring—or body sculpting. These procedures are meant to refine and define, not necessarily overhaul your figure.
Some obese men and women struggling with natural weight loss turn to plastic surgery because they think it will be a quick solution—sadly, that’s not going to happen.
Liposuction or tummy tuck surgery works best when the patient is “close to their ideal weight.” Now, that doesn’t mean they can’t have any excess fat on their body; it only means that these procedures are not right for patients who wish to drop multiple clothing sizes.
Those with significant excess are best suited for traditional weight-loss surgery.
How Does Plastic Surgery Differ From Weight Loss Surgeries?
Weight-loss surgeries are procedures that manipulate or modify the shape, size, or function of the stomach. (Plastic surgery is more surface-level. It manipulates the skin, fat, and muscles, but it does not alter internal organs.)
Weight loss procedures are those like a gastric sleeve or bypass. A gastric sleeve physically removes a portion of the stomach, leaving a much smaller “pouch,” whereas gastric bypass “separates” the stomach, changing the pathway where food is processed through the stomach.
These surgeries are essentially done so that people cannot eat as much, helping with calorie intake and weight loss.
How Does Liposuction Differ From Weight Loss?
Liposuction minimizes unwanted fat—much like weight loss does. However, liposuction permanently removes fat cells, whereas weight loss simply shrinks the size of existing fat cells without eliminating them.
How Does Tummy Tuck Surgery Differ From Weight Loss?
For many, the primary benefit of a tummy tuck is skin reduction, something that no “weight loss” surgery or natural weight loss can accomplish.
Excess skin is a common side effect of significant weight loss—one that requires additional surgical correction.
Tummy tuck surgery also tightens loose or separated abdominal muscles (diastasis recti), which is common in postpartum women or women or men who gained and lost significant weight. Because diastasis recti is the physical separation of muscles, it is not something that can be corrected with traditional weight loss or muscle development.
Only a surgical procedure will accomplish the needed correction.
Interested in Learning More?
If you are interested in a body contouring procedure and think you may be a candidate, contact Baton Rouge-based plastic surgeon Dr. Mary Ghere. Schedule a consultation by calling (225) 412-4774 or filling out our online contact form.