Capitol File

Body Sculpting Basics

Featured in Capitol File Magazine December 2015

If you have a love-hate relationship with your love handles, you’ve got options. And these options can make it easier to do certain exercises and offer an incentive to work out. (The American Heart Association recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week or a combination of both.)

Liposuction–the third most popular cosmetic surgical procedure in 2014, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons–breaks up fat, the removes it from your body using suction. It’s “the gold standard” for eliminating excess fat, says Christopher D. Knotts, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon at Austin-Weston Center for Cosmetic Surgery (1825 Samuel Morse Dr., Reston, 703-893-6168; austin-weston,com). The latest techniques employ heat to help wrinkly or flabby skin shrink after the fat is removed, and the newest devices include those with ultrasound technology (such as VASERlipo) or a laser (Smartlipo). “Smartlipo seals vessels and decreases bruising,” says A. Dean Jabs, MD, PhD, a board-certified plastic surgeon with Cosmetic Surgery Associates (6430 Rockledge Dr. #100, North Bethesda, 301-493-4334; “What we’re doing is a refinement of the technique. We’re adding modalities–things to remove the fat better.”

Liposuction of the Legs

Body contouring procedures—such as a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), which removes excess fat and skin and can restore weakened muscles–also have added benefits.

“When speaking with my weight-loss patients, I tell them that the body contouring surgery to remove excess hanging skin after massive weight loss can help to prevent weight regain,” says Ariel N. Rad, MD, PhD, a board-certified plastic surgeon and cofounder of Sherber+Rad. “I reference an important 20913 study in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery that reported a nearly four-fold reduction in weight regain after body contouring surgery. By giving my patients a slimmer, trimmer body, not only is their confidence restored, but they have a lower risk of relapsing into obesity, thus reducing their risk of heart and joint problems.”

Patients should discuss the benefits and risks and whether these procedures are right for them with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Surgical procedures can entail weeks of recovery and carry risks such as anesthesia reaction and infection.

“Most cosmetic body-contouring procedures can really serve as a springboard [for patients] to jump up their fitness,” says Knotts. “It’s easier to move.” Rad adds, “Having a new body and the peace of mind that their long-term health is improved add up to a win-win.”

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