Help, My Man Has Love Handles
My husband has lost about fifteen pounds over the last year, but his love handles don’t seem to be going anywhere. He often talks about smart lipo, but I’ve read that the fat comes back—that it migrates from other parts of the body. Is that as true for men as it is for women? Do men and women achieve the same kind of results from the treatment?
First of all, my husband is skinny and narrow up and down like a ferret and has those same love handles. Almost every man, unless he is a professional athlete or has incredible genetics and spends all of his free time working out, starts to develop fat deposits, or “lipodystrophy,” on his lower abdomen and flanks (or “love handles”) once he hits his early thirties. Those of us who are otherwise fit and just have one or two specific, offending areas are actually the best candidates for liposuction.
However, the term smart lipo needs to be defined. Smart Lipo is a laser that was falsely advertised through media and marketing, and became equivalent in the consumers’ eyes with “liposuction under local anesthetic.” When patients come in asking for smart lipo, what they usually mean is that they want the fat removed with a simple, minimally invasive office procedure without any general anesthesia. There is no such thing. The truth is that the Smart Lipo laser alone does very little for the removal of fat. I know this because I have one in my office and always have to combine it with conventional liposuction to get any kind of result. This can be done under either local (the “tumescent” technique), IV sedation, or general anesthesia. The bottom line is that liposuction requires the removal of fat with a suction cannula. The Smart Lipo laser can be added for possible skin tightening, but even this has not been proven.
After the removal of fat cells by liposuction, the fat cannot “migrate” to other parts of the body. Once the fat is gone, it’s gone, and it can stay gone—as long as you take care of yourself. Usually what I tell my patients is that to keep their fantastic results, they need to kick it up a notch with diet and exercise. If you get lazy once the fat you couldn’t get rid of is gone, you can gain weight back. But fat cells don’t multiply—they just get bigger. What I’ve found is that the fat will start to come back a little in the areas from where it was removed, and then once those remaining fat cells are “full,” they will start filling up elsewhere.
In good candidates, liposuction is a safe, effective procedure that works equally well for both men and women.
Located in Beverly Hills, Dr. Suzanne Trott is a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in breast and body contouring. Her areas of expertise include liposuction and the new “natural breast augmentation” procedure with autologous body fat. She answers your questions on her blog, Lipo Queen, an international resource for unbiased information regarding all of the newest developments in plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine. Her book, Lipo Queen will be available next year. Further information about Dr. Trott and her practice can be found at Drtrott.com.