Even after you successfully reduce your overall weight, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the body shape you want. Genetics and hormones influence how we store fat on our bodies, so some people will naturally have more fat on areas such as the midsection, meaning it will look proportionally larger even if they lower the number on the scale. If having a narrow waist and a flat, toned stomach is what you want—but you always gain weight on your stomach before anywhere else—it can be challenging to achieve your desired look. This is why many people turn to plastic surgery to finally achieve the sculpted body shape they’ve always wanted. With that in mind, patients often ask: Will liposuction get rid of belly fat? Our Portland-based team hears this question from women and men alike who are considering surgical body contouring as a method of reducing diet-resistant fat and improving their shape.

The answer depends on what type of belly fat you’re hoping to reduce.

Not all body fat is the same. Subcutaneous fat is the soft and wobbly stuff that’s located directly beneath the skin. This type of fat can be grabbed or pinched. It’s found on areas like the thighs, hips, flanks, and upper arms. Although you can lose some of this fat with exercise and dietary habits, it can be tricky to lose it from certain areas. Environment factors influence the amount of subcutaneous fat we accumulate.

Visceral fat, on the other hand, is found deep in the abdominal area, surrounding organs. It is not visible on the outside.

Plastic surgery treatments can only target subcutaneous fat. In other words, liposuction removes the pinchable fat from directly beneath the skin. If you mostly want to lose subcutaneous fat from the belly area, then liposuction could be a good solution. However, if you mainly want to lose hard belly fat, it will be best to focus on lifestyle changes.

Although you can still have liposuction if you have a lot of visceral fat, it can affect the type of results you attain. For example, if the subcutaneous fat is removed, you may still be left with some fullness from visceral fat. For this reason, many people choose both surgery and lifestyle changes—which also has the added benefit of improving health.

Our Portland-based team at The Waldorf Center for Plastic Surgery has answers to your questions. Call us at 503-646-0101 or fill out a contact form to request a consultation if you’re ready to discover more about what cosmetic surgery like liposuction can do.

Kathleen Waldorf