Can Liposuction Treat Subcutaneous or Visceral Fat? By Gregory Mesna on February 16, 2017

A man pinching his stomach fatStubborn belly fat is a common complaint among those considering liposuction. Liposuction can be an effective way to remove fat from trouble areas, including the abdomen. However, not all fat is the same; a certain type of belly fat can not be treated with liposuction. Before undergoing liposuction, it is important to understand the difference between subcutaneous and visceral fat. Learn more about whether liposuction can be used to treat subcutaneous or visceral fat in this overview from Minneapolis, MN plastic surgeon Gregory T. Mesna. 

What Is Subcutaneous Fat?

Subcutaneous fat is fat beneath the skin and is more visible on the body than visceral fat. Subcutaneous fat may collect in the thighs, buttocks, arms, abdomen, or other areas of the body. This is the type of fat most patients are referring to when they wish to lose weight. Although excess weight can pose health problems, subcutaneous fat is generally less harmful to health than visceral fat.

What Is Visceral Fat?

Visceral fat is located deep within the body, wrapping around the internal organs, including the heart, lungs, liver, and stomach. Some visceral fat is necessary to protect the organs, but too much is believed to pose a greater risk to health than subcutaneous fat. This is because visceral fat has been more closely associated with heart problems and diabetes than subcutaneous fat. Because visceral fat builds up around the internal organs, it can contribute to the appearance of belly fat.

Can Liposuction Treat both Types of Fat?

Liposuction can only remove subcutaneous fat. It cannot be used to remove visceral fat. Visceral fat is too deep within the body to be removed through liposuction. Subcutaneous fat, on the other hand, is superficial enough to be effectively removed with liposuction. 

What Can You Do to Reduce Visceral Fat?

Many patients that take steps to reduce visceral fat often find subcutaneous fat also decreases, helping to improve both health and appearance. Although visceral fat cannot be removed with liposuction, there are ways to help reduce visceral fat and protect your health, such as:

  • Exercise: Simply taking 30 minutes of your day, five times a week, is generally enough to make a difference in visceral fat. Exercise should raise the heart rate to be effective. A brisk walk, jogging, dancing, or playing outdoors with your kids are great ways to get your exercise.
  • Eat a healthy diet: Eating a healthy diet can help keep overall weight down, including visceral fat. Eating at least 10 grams of soluble fiber a day has been linked to lower amounts of visceral fat, so be sure to add fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to your diet.
  • Reduce stress: Some people deal with stress through overeating or making poor food choices. Taking time to relax and reduce stress through such means as meditation, family time, walking, or reading can help.

Find out if Liposuction Is Right for You

If you're unhappy with stubborn areas of fat, liposuction may be right for you. To learn more about liposuction or other body sculpting treatments, you're welcome to schedule a consultation with Dr. Mesna.

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Dr. Gregory T. Mesna

Mesna Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Center

Gregory T. Mesna MD, FACS, is a board-certified plastic surgeon with over 20 years of top-level experience. He performs a wide range of surgical and non-surgical procedures to enhance and rejuvenate the face, body, and breasts. He is proud to be affiliated with:

  • The American College of Surgeons (Fellow)
  • The American Board of Plastic Surgery
  • The American Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • The Minnesota Society of Plastic Surgeons

You can request a free consultation at our office in Minneapolis, MN, by contacting us online or calling (952) 927-4556.

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