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Do Adipocytes Have Minimum Volume and Diameter?

Here we are talking about subcutaneous (as opposed to visceral) fat, mainly I would like a professional opinion about these questions: -does the number of subcutaneous fat cells increases over time and in which circumstances? -do the cells have (as some people claim) a MINIMUM, finite size, after which they cannot shrink further no matter the amount of diet and exercises, and the only way to get rid of a resulting flabby pouch belly (panniculus?) is by abdominoplasty? -people usually refer to this problem as an "excess abdominal skin", but is it really just skin? The skin should be max -3 mm thick, and the remaining layers bellow are just the subcutaneous fat cells...are there any other tissues or structures beside these cells which give the flabby look seen in patients diagnosed with "subcutaneous fat after weight loss" problem? Thanks

Doctor Answers 3

Fat cell metabolism

Fat cells do shrink to their lowest volume with weight loss and if the skin above it has lost its elasticity then it does not matter how thin the fat cell becomes.  I know this because when I operate on really thin pateints for other reasons, I know what that fat looks like and it looks weak and what really matters is the skin elasticity.  So the answer to your question is not about the adipocyte volume as much as it pertains to the skin elasticity.  This is the key element in my opinion.  I hope this helps.

Dr. Vasisht

South Shore Plastic Surgery

Voorhees Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Pannus and Fat Cell Size

     The pannus contains fat and skin, but the tummy tuck is necessary to remove the laxity of the skin tissue.  Liposuction can reduce fat cell numbers and exercise and diet can reduce fat cell volume, but skin is an entirely different entity and will persist within the pannus after either of these.   Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

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