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What to Do When You Have a Bellyful

Losing the love handles



Once an area is liposuctioned and the fat cells removed, the area will keep its new contour, he says. "You are not going to gain weight in that area," Jackson says. "But if they overeat, men can still gain weight in the abdomen."


In liposuction surgery, an incision is made and a long tube is placed under the skin to suck away stubborn pockets of fat. A new method called power-assisted liposuction uses a mechanical cannula to remove fat using a rapid back and forth motion. Unveiled at the American Academy of Dermatology's recent annual meeting in Washington, D.C., the power-assist method reportedly causes less skin bruising, which reduces healing time.


Jackson uses the so-called tumescent technique, which employs low doses of drugs to loosen fat and reduce bleeding. "It is the gold standard," he says. "Anyone not using the tumescent technique I would probably not go to."


Before deciding on surgery, Jackson suggests that men ask their doctors several questions:


  • Among the most important things you want to know are the techniques the surgeons use, how long they have being doing liposuction surgery, and how many procedures they have performed. "You need to make sure that the person doing the surgery has been doing it for a long time," he says. "The experience level of the surgeon is more important than anything else."
  • Ask to see before and after photos of other men to see their results. "It's not a bad thing to ask the doctor to let some of his patients call you," Jackson says.
  • Ask if the fat you want removed will come off, and what kind of result you should expect. Be realistic, and don't expect miracles, Jackson says.
  • Find out what to expect after the surgery. "You'll basically feel like you've exercised real hard," Jackson says. "You're not sick, you're sore."


Jackson likes his patients to stay home from work between three and four days after surgery. He also expects them to wear a garment that compresses the surgical area 24 hours a day for the first week, 18 hours a day the second week, and 12 hours a day the third week. "It's like a binder," he says. "You wear it underneath your clothes like a tight band."


Sam returned to work four days after his surgery. He had enough discomfort to require pain medication. He weaned himself off the medicine during the second week, stopped wearing the wrap after the fourth week, and lost all but a little swelling by the fifth week.


"You need to be cautious and not overdo it," says Sam, who was told his skin would be sensitive for six months to a year. "When they separate your skin from your body in a large area, you will have some discomfort. But it is certainly manageable."

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