Medically reviewed by Dr. John Rosdeutscher – Written by Sine Thieme
Liposuction is not a weight-loss program. It simply removes unsightly pockets of excess fat but typically does not have much of an effect on your weight. This is a misconception for many overweight men who are looking for a way to shed some pounds. However, there are options to help you with weight loss that go beyond diet and exercise, such as the temporary placement of a gastric balloon. Read on to learn more about the difference between a gastric balloon and liposuction for men.
Liposuction for Men
If liposuction is not a weight loss program, what is it?
Let’s recap what liposuction does. When you undergo a liposuction procedure, the plastic surgeon uses a thin cannula to remove fat from under the skin (subcutaneous fat). This can be performed on a variety of areas – your abdomen, thighs, neck, arms, or chest. When fat is removed from the male chest, this is called a male breast reduction, which is often coupled with a small surgical procedure called glandular excision to achieve full flatness.
Liposuction is minimally-invasive and typically performed under local anesthesia. The anesthetic (lidocaine) is flushed into the treatment areas using the same suction system that is used to remove the fat. In some cases the addition of IV sedation is recommended, especially for larger patients or patients who want more than 3 areas treated. The results of liposuction are much better measured in inches (to the waistline) or pant size, rather than weight loss.
Gastric Balloon Therapy for Men
Both men and women can benefit from the placement of a gastric balloon to help with weight loss. At NuBody Concepts Nashville, we perform the Orbera Gastric Ballon procedure on women and men alike.
Let’s recap what a gastric balloon does. It is a grapefruit-sized silicone balloon that is inserted into the patient’s stomach in an endoscopic procedure under IV sedation. After insertion, the surgeon inflates the balloon with a sterile saline solution. The balloon stays in the stomach for a period of 6 months to reduce the feeling of hunger and thus help the patient adapt his or her eating habits to healthier portions. The removal of the balloon is done in the same way it was placed – both procedures are done in under 30 minutes.
Gastric balloon patients see a big difference in weight as early as 1-2 months into their treatment. You can expect to lose 30-50 lbs with a gastric balloon, but many patients have achieved even more. The weight loss is typically sustainable because the therapy is aimed to alter long-term habits.
“For me, Orbera was the start of a domino effect.”Shawn, weight-loss balloon patient who lost 126 lbs with Orbera
Pros and Cons of Liposuction vs Gastric Balloon
As we have shown above, the two procedures are very different. Liposuction is aimed to reduce excess fat and can be measured in volume, not in weight. After a liposuction procedure, you walk out of the doctor’s office with less fat in your body than you came in with, but it doesn’t change your behavior in and of itself. After a gastric balloon placement, you walk out of the doctor’s office more or less the same way you came in, but over the course of the next 6 months, your habits will change considerably.
- Instantly removes fat
- Reduces waistline (or chest/arms/thighs/neck)
- Immediate results (once post-op swelling has subsided)
- Does not reduce weight
- Does not improve health
- Fat cells are permanently gone, but new ones can be formed with bad eating habits
Gastric Balloon Benefits
- Reduces weight (30-50 lbs or more)
- Teaches new eating habits for long-term benefit
- Improves health
Gastric Balloon Drawbacks
- No immediate change, takes 6 months
- Two procedures are needed
As you can see, the two procedures are serve different goals. Which one you choose depends on which of those goals you want to pursue – long term weight loss with benefits to your overall health, or immediate fat removal to give you a more aesthetic appearance.
There are some similarities, however. Both liposuction and the placement and removal of a gastric balloon are minimally-invasive procedures. This means that they can be performed without any actual surgery that might require the opening up of skin and/or stitches and sutures. The recovery for both procedures is short – just a few days to get back to your regular routine.
Gynecomastia – enlarged male breasts – is a condition that affects many men, young or old. What is your best option to treat it?
Male breast reduction: A popular solution to enlarged male breasts is a male breast reduction. It removes excess fat with liposuction or surgery, or a combination of both. Most men report high satisfaction with the results of a male breast reduction.
However, because the excess fat in male breasts is often caused by excess weight, weight loss is one obvious solution that you might consider before anything else. Losing body fat overall typically helps in reducing the amount of fat we retain in distinct pockets as well.
Weight loss with diet: If you struggle keeping off the weight, you might try to create a plan using realistic goals and a food diary. It is easier to achieve your weight loss if you set smaller goals, such as 1-2 lbs a week. You might also cut out foods with a high calorie and low nutrition count, like sugary drinks and snacks.
Weight loss with exercise: Cardiovascular exercise typically works best to lose weight in general. If you want to target the chest area, we recommend exercises to strengthen the chest muscles specifically. And you don’t necessarily need to have access to a gym. It’s remarkable how much you can work on your body simply by doing push-ups and various exercises using elastic bands.
Weight loss with gastric balloon therapy: If diet and exercise don’t give you the results you are looking for, you could benefit from a gastric balloon. It will help you alter your eating habits over the course of 6 months and make it much easier to adopt a healthier lifestyle afterwards, so that your results can be sustained long-term.