Know your types of fat

Know your types of fat
"Fat" is a word that can put a lot of people on edge.

"Fat" is a word that can put many people on edge. Lots of us have a few extra pounds that we'd like to wipe away - love handles, a bigger belly or thick thighs can do major damage to your self-esteem. While there's no magic wand that can get rid of fat, there is an aesthetic procedure that may seem like magic. Liposuction can remove some of the fat from problem areas, such as the stomach, sides, buttocks or waistline. This gives patients a slimmer body contour, and can be particularly useful for those who have trouble shedding pounds with diet and exercise alone.

However, it's important for individuals considering going under the knife to know that there are two different types of fat, and the ways they affect your body are very different. Let's review the differences between subcutaneous and visceral fact, and discuss how it relates to plastic surgery.

Visceral fat
Did you know that there is some fat in your body that is completely invisible to the naked eye? According to U.S. News and World Report, visceral fat lies deep within the body, surrounding the liver. Though this fat may be less problematic from an aesthetic perspective, it can pose serious threats to health. The fat creates substances called cytokines that cause inflammation and can be dangerous to the internal organs. Having high amounts of visceral fat increases your risk for a number of illnesses, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, high blood pressure, cancer and Alzheimer's disease. Unfortunately, this type of fat cannot be removed via a plastic surgery procedure, but eating well and living an active lifestyle can keep your visceral fat at a healthy level.

Subcutaneous fat
When you complain about the unsightly extra weight on your body, you're talking about subcutaneous fat. This stuff is located just below the skin, and it's what causes us to bulge in all the wrong places. While diet and exercise can help you lose some of this weight, many individuals find that even with a low-calorie meal plan and plenty of time spent at the gym, they simply can't get rid of those extra inches around the waist.

Liposuction surgery targets pockets of stubborn subcutaneous fat. Although a 2004 study in the New England Journal of Medicine saw no reduction in cholesterol or blood sugar following liposuction, a recent study in 2011 showed some reductions in triglyceride levels and white blood cell counts. No matter the ancillary benefits, liposuction should not be seen as a solution for cardiovascular and health problems or a weight-loss plan, but instead a way to improve the shape and contour of your body.

If you think you may be a good candidate for liposuction, book a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. He or she will be able to answer any questions you may have and tell you what sort of results may be achievable.