Can Liposuction Help People with PCOS?
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder of the endocrine system that causes hormone imbalances in women suffering with this condition. PCOS is a complex condition that is not completely understood. There is presently no cure for PCOS, but there are several strategies available to manage its symptoms. Some of the more common symptoms of PCOS include weight gain and difficulty losing weight, excess body hair, thinning hair of the scalp, irregular periods, and oily skin. We perform a tremendous amount of liposuction and body contouring in our practice, and we have treated many patients with PCOS. While liposuction is certainly not a cure for PCOS, it can play a significant role in improving quality of life for women dealing with this diagnosis. This page is designed as a resource to discuss what liposuction can and cannot do for those suffering from this condition.
Liposuction is a minimally invasive procedure designed to remove extra body fat from unwanted areas. Since stubborn weight gain is a common symptom of PCOS, many patients with PCOS express interest in liposuction. While liposuction can play a significant role in improving the quality of life for patients with PCOS, it is important to understand what liposuction is and is not capable of doing.
Liposuction and Weight Loss
At its core, liposuction is designed to change the shape, or contour, of the treatment area (hence the term “body contouring”). For patients with significant deposits of fat that are slow to respond to diet and exercise, liposuction can directly target those fat deposits and remove them. The result is a very rewarding improvement in body shape. Liposuction will not, however, cause weight loss. This is because while liposuction does permanently remove fat cells, your body will still need to store fat somewhere. Your body responds to liposuction by distributing the fat that used to be stored in the treatment area elsewhere around the body. This fat redistribution tends to be even and hard to notice.
Liposuction and Visceral Fat
One of the most popular liposuction treatment areas is the abdomen. It is important to realize that there are two compartments of fat in the abdomen. The superficial compartment is above the abdominal wall, and the deep (or “visceral”) compartment is under the abdominal wall. You can tell how much superficial versus deep fat you have by pinching your abdomen. Fat that you can pinch is superficial. If there is abdominal bulk that you cannot pinch, this is likely caused by deep or visceral fat. Liposuction can only safely treat superficial fat. Dr. Smith will examine you during your consultation and discuss how much superficial fat he can remove in your individual case.
Benefits of Liposuction for PCOS
Liposuction can yield significant improvements in body contour that can be a game-changer for those suffering with stubborn fat deposits due to PCOS. Liposuction is not a cure for PCOS and it will not lead to weight loss. Efforts at maintaining a healthy lifestyle in terms of diet and exercise remain the mainstay of successful weight management in PCOS. This condition can make these efforts seem particularly frustrating, and liposuction may be helpful in bringing a PCOS patient’s appearance in line with her desires in the context of an optimized nutrition and fitness plan. The increase in self-confidence that can accompany the transformations made possible by liposuction can often inspire adherence to a healthy lifestyle.