The fat you see and the fat you don't

May 22, 2012

The fat you see and the fat you don't
The fat you see and the fat you don't

Patients considering liposuction may think that removing the fat also removes their risk of obesity-related problems such as high blood pressure or cholesterol levels. While liposuction does offer a number of benefits, it's important to understand that there are two types of fat - the kind you can see, and the kind you can't. While liposuction can help remove the stubborn pockets of fat that are visible on the waist, stomach, legs and buttocks, it's the "invisible" fat that is responsible for health issues related to excess weight, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Subcutaneous fat, the kind you can see, is located beneath the skin in problem areas like the abdomen, thighs and hips. Visceral fat, however, is located deeper within the midsection, closer to organs like the liver, heart and lungs. While subcutaneous fat is easier to see from the outside, the visceral fat may in fact be more damaging physically.

"People are self-conscious about the fat they can see," Heather Hausenblas, associate professor of exercise and health and the College of Health and Human Performance in Florida, told the news source. But it's the "hidden fat, in people of any size, [which] poses the bigger threat."

A 2004 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that female patients who underwent liposuction experienced no positive changes concerning their cholesterol levels, blood sugar or blood pressure. However, a larger-scale study released last year indicated that some patients had a substantial reduction in triglycerides and white blood cells. Both are an indication of heart disease and other health problems.

Those who are at risk should know that liposuction is not a replacement for a healthy diet, exercise and the medications necessary to help any health conditions. In fact, experts recommend that those seeking liposuction and other body contouring procedures lose as much extra weight as possible to get the best results. A board certified plastic surgeon will always take a full medical history and ensure a patient is healthy enough to undergo surgery. 

The mission of the Aesthetic Society includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Aesthetic Society, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to

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