Let’s say a person lost a substantial amount of weight under ideal circumstances, say 100 pounds over a period of three years due to proper nutrition (no fad or specialized diets) and increased exercise. For best-case simplicity, lets say that the majority of the weight came from a particular region (e.g. belly, legs, etc.).
From what I’ve read on the boards, after weight loss the fat cells still exist and are still pumping out all sorts of hormones and other chemicals, making it hard for the person to keep the weight off in the long run. I’ve also heard that liposuction can only get rid of a small amount of weight at a time. I assume that because fat cells swell with fats as oppose to multiplying, liposuction would remove a larger number of deflated cells than when the weight was on.
After weight loss has occurred, is it even possible for a liposuctionist to find and vacuum out those cells? Would doing so change a person’s body chemistry such that maintaining the weight loss is easier?
[This is not a request for medical advice. I have no surgical plans in my future. YANAD. Shop smart, Shop S-Mart.]
Ack, searching for good information about weight loss is incredibly hard–so much bullshit and marketing crap flooding the netwaves. My main source is from reading Doper threads, with a handful of respected people chiming in with cites (DMark, for one, I believe). Here’s a Timearticle, but I don’t see it referencing where the hormones are coming from.
ETA: Here’s a couple quotes from the article, at least suggesting that the deflated fat cells are still there (though it could be other mechanisms):
I’m somewhat in this position myself, so I will be interested in any responses based on experience or research. I lost about 120 pounds under a doctor’s supervision; this was over 6 years ago. Since then, the remaining, mostly (I think) subcutaneous fat has stubbornly resisted much in the way of further reduction.
I know there are different kinds of liposuction these days; I have seen ads for laser-based liposuction, which purports to melt the fat and then suck it out using a much smaller tube; the heat also purports to shrink the skin somewhat, and the scars are smaller. I don’t know if any of this is true.
Because that’s another problem faced by people who have had major weight loss, especially if they are no longer young(!), is that the skin is all stretched out and does not snap back. So you are left with saggy skin along with everything else.
Come to think of it, the existence of tons of pro-liposuction marketing aimed at the before stage, the relative dearth of it aimed at the after state (‘dearth’ being defined as my not being able to find it in a cursory search), and the apparent huge market for it (“you made the effort–why let it go to waist!”) suggests that there are inherent problems with it.
I can actually speak to this from personal experience. I gained about 40 pounds while going through a divorce in 2001. After everything settled down, I slowly lost the weight over several years through dietary modifications and an increase in physical activity. I eventually reached the weight I had been at pre-divorce. However, I now had residual pockets of fat on the sides of my hips. When I shopped for pants, I had to look for pants that either fit loosely on the hips or that somehow compressed the fat pockets down so they weren’t noticable. I eventually had laser liposuction on those areas, and fully 12 ounces of fat was sucked out of each hip. I think the procedure cost around $6,000, and I consider it money well-spent. I could never have lost those fat deposits through targeted exercise, and I had no control via dietary means to lose that fat. I know it sounds vain to some, but those fat deposits really bothered me, and I had no other means of removing them. I have no regrets about the liposuction procedure. Further, it was done about three years ago, and I have kept the weight off and have had no problems with fat reappearing in the locations it was removed from.
Actually, liposuction is used rather extensively in plastic surgery done after massive weight loss. It’s used as part of larger, more extensive procedures such as tummy and arm tucks, boob lifts, and so forth. The surgeon uses liposuction to sculpt and contour, and because, frankly, skin and fat wind up where they don’t belong and have to be dealt with. Since it’s not possible to lose that residual fat with diet and exercise alone, the surgeon just sucks it out before (and sometimes after) he nips and tucks the excess skin.