Summary: Most people have heard of liposuction or have a general understanding of what it is – a miracle weight-loss procedure, right? No. In fact, there are many misconceptions about liposuction thanks for tabloid headlines and speculation. It’s time to set the record straight on what liposuction can and cannot do!

Setting the Record Straight on Liposuction Myths

Liposuction, while an extremely popular procedure for those of us with stubborn fatty areas, is still widely misunderstood. Confusion about surgical techniques coupled with myths about the short- and long-term results have made for a lot of misinformation about liposuction. Here is the truth about a few of the most common liposuction myths that persist today.

Myth 1: Liposuction is an alternative for weight loss.

Actually, the opposite of this statement is true. Liposuction should not be considered a weight-loss method, nor should it be substituted as an alternative to weight loss. It’s more of a helpful partner in a healthy weight loss plan. Liposuction removes isolated pockets of fat from specific areas, and the Mayo Clinic says on its website that having a stable, heathy body weight is more likely to make you a good liposuction candidate. The main purpose of this procedure is to contour targeted problem areas on your body that don’t respond to diet and exercise, not to reduce or eliminate fat in general. Bottom line: You’re likely to lose more weight the good, old-fashioned way — with diet and exercise.

Myth 2: Liposuction is only for bellies.

While this treatment is popular for the lower abdomen area, it is highly effective for many additional places, as well. The inner and outer thighs, hips, buttocks, and those pesky love handles are common treatment areas. In addition, liposuction can target pockets of fat on the face and neck, reducing the appearance of a double chin and giving patients a more youthful look. It even works on the upper arms, calves, and ankles. Bottom line: Liposuction works just about anywhere you have pockets of fat.

Myth 3: Liposuction is permanent.

Liposuction can be a very long-lasting procedure; it does remove the existing fat cells stored in your body, and those fat cells won’t grow back. However, the fat cells you have left can still expand, so your lifestyle choices after liposuction still determine how long your results last. A healthy diet and exercise routine certainly help to maintain your contoured look. Nonetheless, as Toronto-based plastic surgeon Dr. Michael J. Weinberg says on his website, “Liposuction doesn’t halt the body’s aging process, of course, and natural changes to your body’s shape will occur gradually.” Bottom Line: Liposuction results last longer if you make the effort, but you can’t totally stop your body from changing.

Myth 4: Only women get lipo.

The reality is that plastic surgery is for both men and women. In fact, according to a statistical report from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, men underwent more than 1 million cosmetic procedures in 2013. Out of those procedures, which surgery do you think was the most popular? You guessed it: liposuction. In fact, liposuction is one of the most frequently performed procedures all over the world, and that number continues to grow due to changing perceptions of plastic surgery. Bottom line: All kinds of people benefit from liposuction.

Myth 5: Liposuction eliminates cellulite.

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. This is a common myth because most people believe that cellulite is a product of fat. Cellulite is actually caused by bands of fibrous tissue that pull on the skin from below, creating dimples and unevenness on the surface. Excess fat can exacerbate that bumpy texture, but it isn’t really to blame, which is why even thin people have cellulite. That’s also why removing fat through liposuction does little to relieve cellulite. Many plastic surgeons offer other treatments that target the fibrous structures of cellulite, and these can often be done in conjunction with liposuction. Bottom line: Try another procedure if cellulite is your concern.