Is body contouring an effective solution for obesity? In a word, no. That’s according to Michael Yaremchuck, MD, Chief of Craniofacial Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital. As a Huffington Post contributor, this esteemed plastic and reconstructive surgeon who tackles media-worthy topics with fresh consumer appeal, such as “Why Men Wear Beards,” comes through once again in his latest contribution: “Separating Fact from Fiction: Obesity and Plastic Surgery.” While the title may be mundane, when you peel back the layers, the topic isn’t. Referencing a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Yaremchuk examines our lack of real knowledge about obesity and weight loss, salt and peppering his exert opinion with fascinating, relatable tidbits.
Consider this: Just how many calories you really burn during a bedtime romp? Not nearly enough to write off any significant calorie count. The Journal reports it’s about the equivalent of a Hershey Kiss. As for adding fruits and veggies to the diet, contrary to popular opinion simply adding them won’t make any measurable difference. They won’t help with weight-loss efforts unless you’re making other changes too.
Of course, the real issue at hand is the increasing numbers of severely overweight Americans who are flooding plastic surgeons’ offices looking for a weight loss solution. Want less fat? Just go have someone suck it out, right? Wrong. Just like the misconception that sex is great exercise, so too is the idea that liposuction can be used for significant fat removal. The fact is, and Dr. Yaremchuck agrees, liposuction is for those patients who have already effectively lost the weight and adopted an active, healthy lifestyle to keep that weight off. The standard minimum measure among plastic surgeons, he says, is that patients have a BMI of under 30 in order to be a candidate for surgery. “This lowers the risk of complications during surgery,” writes Dr. Yaremchuck in his blog.
Even for those who have made an effort to lose the weight and have the desire for a little enhancement help to achieve the body they're looking for, it needs to be a life-long commitment: “Instead of simply trying to lose weight for a procedure, patients should have a thorough understanding about proven facts about calories and exercise," he writes. "Without these habits good habits in place, any improvement provided by body contouring can be easily undone.”