Visceral fat: The fat that is never targeted with liposuction or tummy tuck surgery.
Visceral fat is the fat which surrounds our vital organs such as the heart, liver, kidneys, and intestines. Visceral fat is found inside the body cavities like the abdominal and chest cavities. Excess visceral fat can make the belly area look big, but not all belly fat is the same. Visceral fat cannot be reached during plastic surgery operations. On the other hand, the fat under the skin and in front of the abdominal muscles can be reached during surgery, removed when excessive, and contoured to improve the body’s shape.
What’s the best way to estimate visceral fat?
The oldest known way to estimate visceral fat is to simply take a tape measure and measure the size of the waistline. At Harvard, they found that when a woman develops a waistline greater than 35 inches around, the visceral fat content is so high that it puts that person at risk of health problems later in life. Similarly, you can expect health problems in men with a waistline greater than 40 inches. Using a tape measure is not accurate, however, when planning plastic surgery. Therefore, plastic surgeons use other ways to assess visceral fat.
The most accurate way to assess visceral fat is to use medical imaging. In fact, the best way to see how much visceral fat someone has is to use a CT scan or MRI. These modalities are expensive and time-consuming so not every patient or surgeon will have the luxury of ordering these tests before plastic surgery. Therefore, I prefer to use the calculation of the body mass index to assess visceral fat and the risks to my patients. It is known that a high body mass index implies a high volume of visceral fat and higher risks when having any kind of surgery.
How do plastic surgeons estimate visceral fat?
Typically, during the plastic surgery consultation I would calculate a patient’s body mass index (BMI) and discuss my findings. It is preferred that a patient have a body mass index below 30, which generally indicates a lower level of visceral fat and less operative risks. However, when the body mass index calculation reveals a number higher than 30, we can expect a higher amount of visceral fat which will limit how small the waistline can become after surgery and ultimately hurt the cosmetic results of our operations.
What are the complications of excessive visceral fat?
Complications from excessive visceral fat include heart disease, diabetes, stroke, breast cancer, colon cancer, and even Alzheimerʼs disease. In plastic surgery, a higher risk of wound healing problems such as delayed wound healing and infection can occur. Also, when the visceral fat volume is excessive, the patient may not look good in terms of the level of contouring achieved.
How can I reduce my visceral fat before plastic surgery?
Visceral fat can be reduced with diet and exercise but it cannot be done through plastic surgery. It is up the patient before and after the surgery to work on lowering the visceral fat content, which will lower the risks of surgery, and give them a better looking body after liposuction and tummy tuck surgery.
What diet is recommended for visceral fat reduction?
A low carbohydrate diet is one of the most effective ways to reduce visceral fat. Many doctors recommend a ketogenic diet which is a very low carbohydrate diet and is effective at reducing visceral fat. When planning to lose visceral fat, it is important to increase soluble fiber. One study showed that increasing soluble fiber by 10 grams per day reduced risks of visceral fat gain by 3.7%. Switching from carbohydrates to a protein heavy diet will also increase your metabolism and will help to burn more calories and reduce visceral fat. Consuming more meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and legumes are one way to increase protein in your diet.
Importantly, there are some things that all patients worried about visceral fat should avoid! This includes alcohol, especially red wine, simple sugars such as fructose, and trans fats such as those found in vegetable oils, baked goods, and potato chips.
Aerobic exercise also very important to reduce visceral fat. Studies have shown that aerobic exercise burns a lot of calories and allows patients to lose visceral fat even without dieting. In addition to exercising, reducing your stress levels, and getting plenty of sleep have been found to reduce visceral fat levels.
Should you lose weight before surgery to reduce visceral fat?
Yes, if you know your visceral fat content is too high and you want to reduce the risks of surgery and improve the contouring results, then losing visceral fat before plastic surgery will be recommended by your surgeon. You can calculate your body mass index at home and when your body mass index is above 30, then you should seriously consider losing weight and reducing your visceral fat content.
View this post on Instagram
Dr. Aldo Guerra specializes in tummy tuck surgery in Arizona. Before & after photos shown at 5.5 months post surgery. Doesn't she look amazing? Call us at 480-970-2580 if you are interested in a smaller waistline! #tummytuck #abdominoplasty #minitummytuck #liposuction #lipo #smallerwaist #flatstomach #situps #plasticsurgery #scottsdale #scottsdaletummytuck
Ready to schedule your tummy tuck consultation?
If you have been thinking of a tummy tuck, a body lift, liposuction or a mommy makeover then schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Aldo Guerra today! Call us at 480-970-2580 or contact us online.