Q: Dr. Eppley, I am 32 years old, 5’ 4” and weigh 148 lbs. I have been struggling my entire life with a very disproportioned body. I have a pear-shaped body with saddle bags and thighs that don’t seem to match what I look like above my waistline. This gives me a problem when it comes to finding clothes particularly pants. I want to get liposuction to improve this problem but I have two concerns. First, how effective will it really be? Can it really make a significant difference in the shape of my lower body? Second, I have cellulite and stretch marks and am afraid that it will make them look worse. Despite these fears, I am so frustrated with these bulges of flab that I can do nothing about, no amount of exercise does anything. Plus this flab irritates me when I walk as it jiggles.
A: While your concerns about liposuction is understandable, they should not stop you from eventually getting a positive change from the procedure. This congenital distribution of fat will respond to no amount of diet and exercise as it is not due to a caloric excess. It is the natural proportion of your body. Thus to make a change in its shape, it must be surgically modified. While liposuction will not make your thighs petite or even come to match your upper body, it will make a visible improvement that is most evident in silhouette and in how your pants will fit. While liposuction will not improve the appearance of cellulite and stretch marks, and can even occasionally make cellulite look a little worse, the improvement in your thigh contours make that risk a good aesthetic trade-off in most cases.
Dr. Barry Eppley
Q: Dr. Eppley, I need to get rid of my saddlebags. I don’t know why they are there as they do not fit the rest of my body. I am 5’4″ and about 110 pounds. My body fat percentage is quite low as you can probably tell from my weight. I work out all the time and no matter what I do I can not get rid of these pesky saddlebags. Quite frankly, it drives me insane as I just hate them. I was trying on clothes in the store this past weekend and could really get a good view of them from behind in the jeans I was trying on. Given my small size do you think liposuction will work to get rid of them?
A: Despite being lean and very weight appropriate for their height, I have seen many women who have this saddlebag problem. While I suspect it is a problem of small saddlebags given your height and weight, they are nonetheless disproportionate. The good news is that this is an easy problem to solve with liposuction. Just because you are small doesn’t mean they are not abnormal collections of fat. I would guess your saddlebag problem could be treated by an office procedure under local anesthesia using Smartlipo. This would minimize the process and recovery and provide a solution that truly matches the problem.
Dr. Barry Eppley