Laser or Traditional Liposuction for Belly Fat?

I am a small framed woman: 5'6" tall and weighing120 lbs; I am 37 years old and I just cant lose the belly fat after having two kids. I am looking at laser lipo or liposuction or some other form of surgery to remove. What would you recommend?

Doctor Answers 9

Belly fat and liposuction

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There are several things to consider to help decide what type of procedure may be best for you. These include the amount of fat and the quality or excess of any skin in the abdomen. Another concern for some patients is laxity or looseness of the underlying foundation or abdominal wall. Many times pregnancy can stretch out the support which leads to excess contour that can't be improved with liposuction. Many patients have some combination of skin, fat and underlying support problems.

In the large majority of patients the use of traditional or perhaps ultra-sound assisted liposuction is appropriate.

A consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon with experience in "body contouring" will help decide the right choice for you.

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon

Look at anatomy

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First, achieve your highest level of fitness and your healthiest, most stable lifestyle as regards diet, exercise, habits, and activity level. Next, look at your anatomy with your surgeon, meaning your muscle, fat and skin amount and quality. You should then decide what you are going to be happy with as a result. Do you want to remove stretch marks? Do you want tighter skin or just a less bulging contour? Are you accepting of scars? Once you know what your goals are, your surgery will address those concerns. If you are simply talking about fat removal, your surgeon will use whatever he feels is effective. It's the surgeon that is most important, not the tool.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

Treatments for belly fat

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Many physicians do not see an advantage to laser liposuction, and many do. The more important question is if you are indeed a candidate for liposuction and/or abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) which might be needed for the muscle wall of the abdomen that bends forward too much from the prior pregnancies.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Liposuction : Laser versus Traditional

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"Belly Fat" : I hear patients complain about this phenomenon everyday! Unfortunately, the definition from one pateint to the other varies. Some patients have excess skin, especially after having children and even after significant weight loss, others do indeed have excess fat or lipodystrophy, and others have a roundness to the abdomen due to rectus muscle separation. Many patients have one, all or a combination of the above findings...So, it is very important that you schedule a consultation with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who performs a significant number of body contouring proceedures to help you identify your anatomic variation.

Empowered with information on what your specific issue may be, will help you and your physicina define your goals. Then you can make an educated decision regarding what procedure will work best and what technique will afford you the best outcome.

To answer your question regarding Laser Liposuction versus tradition...Find a plastic surgeon you feel comfortable with; well respected in your community, referred by friends or family, Board certified,etc. and sit down with him/her and discuss what they use and why.

I personally have used all the new modes of liposuction and found that in my own hands, traditional tumescent liposuction works fantastically and I am very comfortable with the technique. I am able to look through previous patients photos and pick out ones that look similar the the patient I am consulting with to offer them a "realistic" idea of what to expect in the end.

Best of luck, find a great Board Certified (American Board of Plastic Surgery*) surgeon, and I am sure you will be very happy!

Dr. C

John Philip Connors III, MD, FACS
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon

Select a Good Surgeon, They Will Choose the Best Technique

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I realize there has been extensive media hype about "laser this" and "laser that", but I have yet to see any research or presentations that have shown a noticeable benefit from the laser liposuction techniques.

Also, most surgeons who are experienced with the laser liposuction will follow the laser treatment with regular old liposuction. The reason for this is that the melted fat, if left behind, cause prolonged swelling.

My best advice is to seek a board-certified plastic surgeon to achieve the best results. Note that isolated areas of lipo like the tummy only (and sometimes more), can also be done under local anesthesia in the office using traditional liposuction too.

John LoMonaco, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 276 reviews

Both methods work equally well.

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 The important thing is how experienced the surgeon is, not what type of machine he uses. Laser lipo holds no great advantage, over other methods and the surgeon has to pass the cost of the laser on to the patient.

Make sure you don't need a full or partial tummy tuck as well.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Abdominal liposuction

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1)  In my opinion, laser liposuction does not offer any benefits at all.

2)  In New York City, we get very good results on women like you with tumescent ("traditional") liposuction of the upper and lower stomach.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Liposuction after pregnancy

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The best thing you can do is get into the best shape possible. At 5'6" and 120 lbs. you seem to be there. Without examining you, it is difficult to give you advice as to which procedure is best. In general, however, you should focus on the surgeon doing the procedure rather than the technique employed to give you your desired result. Tummy tuck may also be a possibility if you have any skin excess. I suggest you find a local board-certified plastic surgeon and go in for a consultation. If you're in good physical shape prior to surgery, you should expect an outstanding postop result. Good luck!

Elan B. Singer, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Laser vs. Traditional Liposuction

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There are many factors that would go into your decision of wether to have traditional vs. laser liposuction such as amount of fat and skin laxity etc. However the advantages of laser liposuction over traditional are less downtime and a quicker recovery, less trauma to the body, can be done without general anesthesia and you will get a skin tightening effect from the laser. To know what your best options are you should always have a consultation with your doctor.

Jennifer S. Landy MD
Tampa Ophthalmologist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.