Despite an ongoing cultural perception that cosmetic surgery is only for women, men are seeking out plastic surgery in ever-increasing numbers. This is especially true since the advent of effective bariatric surgeries such as gastric sleeve and gastric bypass, which cause people to lose weight very quickly and effectively. One example is the focus of this week’s Ask Dr. Pane segment. The viewer sent in photographs for Dr. Pane’s perusal and asks, “Should I get a second body lift or liposuction?” The patient previously had a body lift and is now unhappy with the appearance of his sides, the “love handle” region.
Dr. Pane evaluated the photographs the patient sent. The patient’s skin appears to be in good condition and generally seems to have recovered well from the body lift. There is no evidence of folding or pocketing of the skin around the front of the torso, which is a promising sign. The patient’s sides show moderate bulging in the love handle area, but overall the initial outcome is exactly what Dr. Pane would expect. As always, please remember that photographs are not a substitute for an in-person clinical evaluation!
Based on the photos, Dr. Pane says a body lift would probably not be appropriate for this patient. The appearance of the skin and the overall draping likely make a body lift excessive, to say the least. However, the patient could certainly benefit from liposuction of the target areas and body sculpting to help reshape the area into a sleeker, better defined profile. To understand why this is so, we first have to evaluate the difference between a body lift and body sculpting.
A body lift removes excess skin from the abdomen, upper thighs and (if necessary) the back. This is on the higher end of invasive procedures and is reserved for people who have lost a substantial amount of weight, creating a lot of loose, slack skin. Once their weight has reached a stable plateau, then the lift is performed to tighten the remaining skin and present a more streamlined figure which is more aesthetically pleasing.
By contrast, body sculpting and liposuction are used largely as interchangeable terms, as we have discussed elsewhere. While many cosmetic surgeons, and not necessarily bad ones, use “body sculpting” as a marketing gimmick, in reality they are one and the same. Liposuction is simply the removal of subcutaneous adipose tissue, also known as fat, from a specific area of the body. Areas where liposuction is commonly performed include the sides, abdomen, hips and thighs. How the liposuction is applied and what the intended result is may allow for reclassification as body sculpting, which in this case is exactly what the patient needs. After liposuction, the skin typically shrinks down and settles over the areas where the removed fat was. By targeting the areas where the liposuction is applied very specifically, it is possible to reshape the subcutaneous fat in such a way that it presents a more sculpted appearance.
In this patient’s case, liposuction would give better results for several reasons. First, while it is unquestionably invasive, it is not nearly as general as a body lift. Second, advances in liposuction such as so-called “tickle lipo” have helped to make liposuction less painful, to the point where in some cases it can be done under local anesthesia, something which is very definitely not commonly recommended for a body lift! Third and most importantly, by focusing on one specific area, the patient will have less recovery time, a better aesthetic outcome and a body he’ll be happier with for a long time to come. However, it should be noted that all of this is contingent upon an in-person clinical consultation and firsthand evaluation of the areas in question, to ensure there are no missing pieces which might alter Dr. Pane’s initial perception of the case.
If you have ever wanted to ask a question about cosmetic surgery, but didn’t know who to ask or got a lot of conflicting opinions from laypeople and medical professionals alike, the staff of Atlantic Coast Aesthetics is always happy to discuss your concerns, issues and interests. Simply contact us through our website’s contact form; follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook; or call us at (561) 422-4116. Your question might even be selected as the focus for an upcoming Ask Dr. Pane segment, helping us advise and inform others who share your interests while giving you the open, honest answers you need to make an informed decision. Remember, at ACA, we believe the only bad question is the one you don’t ask!