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What is a Lipo-Litmus-Test? Tips for Self Evaluation

by Alexandra Kilpatrick

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Dallas-based plastic surgeon and professor of plastic surgery Dr. Rod J. Rohrich recently described simple self-tests used to determine if liposuction is an appropriate procedure in his book Navigate Your Beauty.

Contrary to misconceptions, liposuction is not a weight loss treatment but a body contouring or sculpting procedure used to smooth body shape by treating problem areas that don’t respond well to traditional weight loss methods of diet and exercise. The procedure is not meant to treat cellulite and can actually worsen the appearance of cellulite.

Many don’t respond as well to disciplined diet and exercise routines, finding that certain body areas don’t slim down like others. Rohrich attributes this natural inability to slim down problem areas to a genetic resistance to diet and exercise. The most common problem areas include the flanks, thighs and abdomen.

“Many people view liposuction as a type of weight loss surgery, but in fact, the ideal candidates for liposuction are already within 10 to 15 percent of their ideal body weight,” Rohrich explained in a press release. “These are patients who have noticed that, while much of their body has responded well to diet and exercise, some areas just never seem to show improvement or are improving in disproportion to the rest of their body.”

Rohrich explains simple self-evaluations liposuction prospects can use to determine if they are ideal candidates for the procedure.

“If you can fully grasp your body fat in between your hands, you have too much skin and are probably not a good candidate for liposuction,” Rohrich said in the press release. “You are a better candidate for abdominoplasty [or a tummy tuck] in order to address the abdominal wall area.”

Rohrich further explains that another way to test is to check if you have extra folding of the skin above the belly button when you sit down. Those who do not are better candidates for liposuction. Having extra skin present makes liposuction less effective or ineffective. He also stresses the importance of lifestyle changes after surgery to ensure the success of the procedure.

“If you have not resolved to maintain a healthy lifestyle after liposuction, then you may not be a good candidate as poor health choices after surgery can completely negate the results,” Rohrich commented in the press release. “Liposuction is only one small part of the process.”

Rohrich holds the Betty and Warren Woodward Chair in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center as well as the UT Southwestern Medical Center Crystal Charity Ball Distinguished Chair in Plastic Surgery.

After graduating from Baylor College of Medicine, he completed residencies at the University of Michigan Medical Center and fellowships at Massachusetts General Hospital in microsurgery and Oxford University in pediatric plastic surgery. He has also served as president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the world’s largest organization of board certified plastic surgeons.

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