Leo R. McCafferty, M.D., F.A.C.S., aesthetic plastic surgery

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The Skinny on Liposuction: Separating Facts from Fiction

Monday, March 1st, 2010

You hear a lot about liposuction in the media today, whether it’s on television, in magazines or on the Web. But more information isn’t necessarily better information.

At the offices of Dr. Leo McCafferty, we’re here to help you separate the rumors from reality— and the facts from fiction— about liposuction. Check out some of these common liposuction rumors and get the credible information you need to better understand this innovative procedure, and what it could mean to you.

FICTION: “Liposuction is a great way to lose weight quickly.”

FACT: Liposuction isn’t meant to be a substitution for diet and exercise. Liposuction is a way to treat areas of fat in the body that simply do not respond to diet and exercise. Liposuction is typically done in healthy patients that are already in relatively good shape, but who have trouble spots which are out of proportion with the rest of the body– like the outer thigh/saddlebag area, the lower abdomen or the hips.

If a patient is generally overweight, we at the offices of Dr. Leo McCafferty won’t offer that patient liposuction. Instead, we’ll offer them a nutritional consultation and work with their primary care physician to make sure the patient is a proper candidate for liposuction. Perhaps diet and exercise are the answer. And we’ll guide the patient toward the right, more conservative option, before considering a surgical solution.

FICTION: “If you remove fat from one part of the body using liposuction, it will just come back elsewhere on the body.”

FACT: Most healthy people fluctuate five or ten pounds over the course of the year over a lifetime. And for these people, liposuction acts as a quite permanent solution to unwanted areas of fat. This means fat liposuctioned from the thighs will not typically show up later in the patient’s breasts. And fat removed from the lower abdomen won’t show up later in the upper abdomen, and so on.

FICTION: “Once you’ve had liposuction, you can eat whatever you want. You don’t need to worry about diet and exercise.”

FACT: Liposuction isn’t a free ticket to eat whatever you want, avoid exercise and otherwise abuse your body. Continuing with a healthy diet, and regular exercise following liposuction is a great way to retain the shape you want. Liposuction works, but it has to be part of an overall healthy lifestyle.

FICTION: “This new liposuction technique worked for my friend, so it’s the right choice for me!”

FACT: There are so many different types of liposuction these days— tumescent, super-wet, SmartLipo™, and magic lipo, among others. But when it comes to liposuction, it’s not the name attached to the procedure or the wand itself, but the surgeon waving the wand that ensures a successful procedure. That’s why you should discuss the different types of liposuction with your plastic surgeon, find out the benefits and drawbacks of each, and work together to determine the right type for you. Remember, what’s right for one patient, isn’t necessarily ideal for another.

FICTION: “Liposuction is a painful procedure requiring a lot downtime.”

FACT: Believe it or not, liposuction isn’t a painful procedure. Patients can expect some bruising, but recovery is swift, and patients can generally be back to exercising within a week.

FICTION: “Once you have liposuction, the results are instantaneous.”

FACT: While there is some instant gratification with liposuction, the real results of the procedure take patience. You will notice a difference when you first remove the garment dressing 48 hours after surgery, of course. But over the next year, as the healing process continues, that’s when you’ll see the liposuction really take effect. The swelling will go down, the contours will soften and the shape will fine-tune. We’ve taken photos of patients during their follow-up visits throughout the year, and you’d be amazed at the subtle differences that take place over time.

FICTION:  “Liposuction is an extremely dangerous procedure.”

FACT: Liposuction is surgery, and therefore should be taken seriously. But if performed by an accredited, state-licensed, American Board of Plastic Surgery facility, by a surgeon who has the credentials to do the procedure in both a hospital and in-office, then liposuction can be very safe.

To learn more about whether liposuction might be right for you– and to get the facts on any liposuction questions or concerns you might have– contact the offices of Dr. Leo McCafferty for a personal consultation.


Member, American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons; Member, American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery