It is True That Most Belly Fat on Most People is Behind the Muscle and Cannot Be Removed?

The surgeon I had a consultation with told me that there is no way of telling how much of the fat is behind the muscle and that only the fat in front of the muscle can be removed. I was all excited about having Vaser done, but now I am having second thoughts, since I may end up with little results. I do appreciate his honesty, if what he told me is a fact.

Doctor Answers 7

Is Your Belly Fat Just under the Skin or is it Around your Intestines?

If you go to a surgeon and he or she tells you they cant tell if you fat is in front or behind the muscle,  leave quickly and find a new surgeon.  Ant real surgeon certified by the ABPS etc and a FACS can easily tell by manual feeling your stomach....  if fat is just between skin and muscle or around the intestines...  The fat about you intestines is called mesenteric fat.  Surely you could not have been consulting with a true surgeon.  You better assess you mode of seeking consultation.  It is so easy for me and other true surgeons to tell where the fat is, I cannot believe even a non surgeon would tellyhou that they could not tell.  Any doctor should be able to tell.   And PLEASE is NOT the technology, it is the surgeon.   A quality surgeon can get great results with any technology.  A marginal surgeon may get sad results with any technology or method.  Liposuction is liposuction.....liposculpture is liposuction....Vaser is fine, plain simple tumescent liposuction is great.  Do your homework and do not be lired by marketing hype and nonsense.  And get a new consult with a true surgeon boarded by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.  Do not cheat yourself.  Research and remember there is no rush.   You live your life with the result, good or bad.   Good Luck.   Dr Commons.

Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Belly Fat is Located Both In Front and Behind Abdominal Muscles

It is true that belly fat is located both in front of the abdominal muscles (subcutaneous fat) and behind the muscles, inside the abdominal cavity (intra-abdominal fat). It is also true that only the subcutaneous fat in front of the muscles is accessible for removal with liposuction or direct surgical excision or noninvasive techniques. It is not true, however that most belly fat is located behind the muscle in most people. In fact there is much variation depending on sex, age and individual characteristics, but a significant percentage of belly fat is usually present in the subcutaneous layer in front of the muscle. It is also not true that the amount or percentage of subcutaneous fat, in front of the muscle, cannot be easily determined. Whatever belly fat can be pinched is located in front of the abdominal muscles. If there is any doubt, an ultrasound or CT scan can measure the exact thickness of the subcutaneous fat layer.

Max Polo, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Liposuction on the abdomen

It is true that fat behind the muscle cannot be removed. However, I usually find this pretty easy to determine and can demonstrate to patients the amount of fatty tissue that is both internal and external on their bodies. I would recommend an in-depth consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. He or she will be able to give you the best recommendations and determine the composition of your abdomen.

Deason Dunagan, MD
Huntsville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Is belly fat behind the muscle, or can it be removed with liposuction?

Both men and women have intraabdominal fat in the mesentery and omentum, both of which enlarge with weight gain. Likewise, there is a layer of fat outside the abdominal wall musculature, but beneath the skin, which IS able to be sculpted via liposuction, Vaser liposuction, power-assisted liposuction, water-assisted liposuction, SlimLipo (laser-assisted liposuction), etc. The issue is further complicated by the fact that some women have had children, stretching the abdominal wall and the fascia between the rectus abdominis muscles (the 6-pack muscles), causing the belly to bulge even if there is little fat inside or outside! These patients may come in for a liposuction consultation, and may actually have little fat, but rather a stretched abdominal wall from pregnancy that requires abdominoplasty and rectus sheath plication (tummy tuck with muscle tightening). Men with round bellies may have inside fat, outside fat, and sometimes both--but only the outside fat is removable by liposuction (of any kind). That is why few men require abdominoplasty, and even fewer muscle plication when tummy tuck IS done. There are some men, and women who have not been pregnant, who have had massive weight loss after gastric bypass or lap banding, and  may still have loose abdominal walls that can be improved at the time of tummy tuck surgery or belt lift with muscle repair.

Some patients may have a firm, round belly where it truly is difficult to determine the exact proportions of inside and outside fat, but usually it is fairly easy on examination to determine which patient is appropriate for liposuction and which requires weight loss!

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 255 reviews

Liposuction of the abdomen

Abdominal fat is composed of both visceral fat, or omental fat,  the fat around the intestines and located safely behind the muscle wall and the supramuscular fat above the rectus abdominus (six pack muscle) wall. As a generalization, men and women tend to put fat on in the visceral fat , but the extra fat gets deposited in women as lower abdominal supramuscular fat and outer thigh fat, and men tend to place it in the love handles.  Certainly both men and women who have excess fat can have a significant mass in the supramuscular upper and lower abdominal areas.  During consultation with me, patients are examined in different positions to help identify where most of the fat is positioned.  I am then able, as was your doctor, to inform my patients if they are a candidate for liposuction.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Intra and extra-abdominal fat

It is quite easy to tell how much fat is between the skin and the muscle.  All the rest is inside.  I don't know why the doctor waffled on this, maybe go to another.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Belly fat intraperitoneal

That is not necessarily true.  Uusally patient with large intraperitoneal fat components are obese.  And this can not be treated with liposuction or a tummy tuck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

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.