Skin Elasticity

1. How does my skin elasticity impact the results of liposuction?

Skin elasticity affects the smoothness of liposuction results. Skin with good elasticity will appear smoother and more natural following liposuction. Skin with poor elasticity is more likely to have irregularities. Younger patients typically have better skin elasticity than older patients. People who have lost a lot of weight have less skin elasticity than people who have never been obese.

2. How does liposuction affect the appearance of the skin?

Because liposuction takes place under the skin, the affect on the skin is similar to what would happen if a person lost the same amount of weight extracted through liposuction by dieting instead. Liposuction cannulas make tunnels in the fatty tissue but connections are left between the remaining fat and the skin to keep the skin in its natural position. In patients with good skin elasticity, the skin will not usually appear wrinkled after liposuction. Pre-existing wrinkles on the inner thighs and upper abdomen are generally not altered by liposuction.

3. Can liposuction improve sagging abdominal skin?

In most women, liposuction improves the appearance of the abdomen by removing the heavy fat that causes sagging. The skin’s natural elasticity retracts and elevates the skin once the fat is removed. However, the skin must have some elasticity and subcutaneous abdominal fat must exist in order for the sagging to be improved by liposuction.

4. Is the skin different on the upper and lower abdomen?

The skin on the upper and lower abdomen responds differently to liposuction. In older patients, the skin on the lower abdomen may appear smoother than the skin of the upper abdomen after liposuction. This is caused by the difference in the ability of the subcutaneous fat in each area to contract and the differences of flexibility of the spine.

The subcutaneous fat of the lower abdomen contains a membrane called Scarpa’ facsia. This membrane has elastic properties. It extends from the belly button to the pubic area and from hip to hip. When liposuction is performed on the lower abdomen, the results are usually dramatic because of the elasticity of this membrane and the skin.

The spine is more flexible at the upper level of the abdomen, resulting in more folds of skin on the upper abdomen when the patient bends forward. These folds are more visible in older patients after liposuction.