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The 101 on Lipolysis By Dr. Abhijit Desai

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Been working out like a manic, and watching your calorie intake for a few weeks and still no results? Too lazy to bother getting on the treadmill since 1998? Or seriously dejected after giving birth to your baby and aiming for that pre-pregnancy body but all in vain? We’re surrounded by these weight-loss scenarios. Either we’re facing it or know someone who’s facing it. And with the gaining popularity of surgical and non-surgical treatments, there’s a gazillion myths and misconceptions surrounding them. And so, we’ve brought on Dr. Abhijit Desai, who has been at the forefront of cosmetic medicine in India to guide you through your decision. Get the facts before you step forward.

BB: For people over 100 kilos, will non-surgical weight loss treatments help?

Abhijit Desai: “There are plenty of advertisements promising quick fix solutions ranging from electronic muscle stimulators to slimming tablets and passive exercise belts. Please don’t get fooled by implausible claims and quick fixes. They’ll need to first lose weight, the conventional way, by following a good exercise and diet regime. Then they could opt for surgical intervention for further weight loss and skin tightening. Look for a skilled cosmetic plastic surgeon or a doctor proficient in stomach stapling or bariatric surgery.”

BB: Double chin, heavy arms and fat deposits on the folds of the armpit are common. Some people feel embarrassed about wearing sleeveless shirts. Can these be treated individually?

Abhijit Desai: “Non-surgical lipolysis will not help. They’ll need to undergo surgical intervention. Find a skillful surgeon to do the procedure. Typically, the procedure involves removing excess fat from the area, cutting off excess skin and then suturing the cut.”

BB: Is laser lipolysis painful?

Abhijit Desai: “Laser lipolysis is truly a lunch-time procedure with no downtime. During treatment targeted ultrasonic waves are administered to the problem areas. No anesthesia is given during the procedure and there may be minor redness and swelling which quickly subsides. You can resume work immediately after the session.”

BB: What should one expect while undergoing spot-reduction surgery?

Abhijit Desai: “Prior to the surgery you will be administered anesthesia to numb the area. Post-surgery you can expect bruising, tenderness and some pain. The downtime for this surgery is about three to four weeks but the results are permanent. Don’t expect a miracle overnight. It could take three months for all the swelling to disappear.”

BB: Loose skin around the stomach area post-delivery is widely experienced. Some mothers consider tummy tucks since most advertisements claim it’s a lunchtime procedure. Is that safe and true?

Abhijit Desai: “Please don’t fall for advertising gimmicks. Tummy tuck sounds like a ‘catchy’ phrase everyone seems to be using. But in reality, it’s a major surgery that’s also referred to as an ‘abdominoplasty’. It involves surgically removing fat cells from the abdomen, cutting off excess skin, tightening the muscles and suturing the skin in place. Recovery could take three to four weeks.”

BB: Is it true that the fat removed during surgical lipolysis returns elsewhere on the body?

Abhijit Desai: “This is a misconception. What happens is that fat calls removed from a certain area of the body do not regrow. However, lack of exercise and poor food habits can cause the fat cells in other parts of the body to multiply and expand. So fat deposits may start appearing in areas where they were far less obvious.”

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