Can liposuction treat cellulite and stretch marks?

Can liposuction treat cellulite and stretch marks?

07th Apr 2017


Cellulite is an accumulation of fat under the skin that gives it a dimpled appearance. This condition imparts an unappealing, orange-like texture to the skin, which is usually visible on the abdomen, thighs, and the buttocks. Additionally, it is also more common in women after puberty due to their skin structure and hormonal changes.

Stretch marks, on the other hand, are thin, noticeable lines on the body that occur as a result of the excessive stretching of weak connective tissues in the skin. Skin of poor quality may break under certain conditions, and as the body attempts to heal the damaged tissue, scarring or stretch marks may develop. Stretch marks may surface due to the following reasons: puberty, weight gain, if the individual is genetically predisposed to developing stretch marks.

Contrary to what some people believe, liposuction cannot target fat from all over the body, nor will it be able to remove cellulite and stretch marks. Liposuction is simply a cosmetic intervention meant to remove the adipose cells from localized fat deposits in certain areas of the body.

More about cellulite

Cellulite refers to a modification of skin tissue that usually occurs in women after puberty. This condition is exhibited by concavities akin to dimples, and nodular subcutaneous formations at the pelvic region, lower limbs and the abdomen. Cellulite is caused by the collection of subcutaneous fat in between the connective tissue fibers which leads to an unattractive appearance in the affected areas. Genetic predisposition, age, and the quantity of fat in the body will determine the probability of developing cellulite and its extent.

More about stretch marks

Sudden weight gain, weight loss, as well as pregnancy are some of the reasons behind the emergence of stretch marks. However, not everyone who goes through these bodily changes acquire this trait as there are plenty of women who have had multiple pregnancies without developing stretch marks. Stretch marks can also occur as a side effect of Cushing’s syndrome, an affliction of the thyroid gland. If you have not suffered massive weight changes, you are not undergoing puberty and you are not pregnant, you should consult an endocrinologist. However, if subsequent testing does not indicate the presence of a thyroid condition, the stretch marks are most probably due to declining skin elasticity arising from a weak collagen network. Stretch marks are congenital; which means that extraneous factors may not necessarily be responsible for their appearance. Women with a perfect skin structure can gain and lose weight, regardless of frequency, without having to suffer from stretch marks. Generally, if your mother and grandmother share this complaint, it is highly likely that you will also experience the same condition.

Another important factor that determines the rupturing of the elastic tissue is the quantity of free radicals in your body as they have a direct action on the collagen in the skin. These cutaneous cellular structures don’t glide perfectly in women unlike in the case of men; hence women are more susceptible to frequent ruptures.

Another period in life that is associated with stretch marks is pregnancy. Some women will develop stretch marks during pregnancy due to the stretching of the skin structures on the abdomen, while others will never be confronted with this issue despite the number of pregnancies they have or the weight they accumulate during that time.

More about liposuction

Every day, we have patients coming in who want to undergo liposuction in order to correct blemishes, such as cellulite and stretch marks. Unfortunately, this surgical intervention does not actually resolve these skin conditions.

Liposuction is a procedure that involves the removal of excess adipose tissue in certain areas of the body that are resistant to diet and exercise. Even though this is one of the safest plastic surgery techniques for removing localized fat tissue, liposuction can only provide temporary relief from the physical manifestations of cellulite. Since cellulite is the result of the pressure exerted by adipose cells on collagen fibers, removing a large quantity of fat cells in an area can briefly alleviate the dimpling of the skin. Nonetheless, liposuction cannot permanently eliminate its recurrence.

There are also cases wherein performing liposuction will only accentuate the aspect of the cellulite, making it more visible and unbecoming.

Furthermore, liposuction should not be considered an option for treating stretch marks because this intervention targets deep tissues, as opposed to stretch marks which are nothing more than superficial scars on the skin.


Before making the decision to undergo a liposuction, you should schedule an initial consultation with your cosmetic surgeon to discuss your expectations and desired results. Your plastic surgeon will likewise assess the tonus and elasticity of your skin and provide you with his expert opinion on the possible outcome of the operation. As a matter of fact, cellulite can improve after liposuction if the procedure is performed superficially (immediately after the skin), but this is an advanced liposculpture technique that not all plastic surgeons can perform. When liposuction is performed by inexperienced surgeons, the cellulite can worsen and become more prominent.

Stretch marks, on the other hand, can only be completely eliminated by a procedure that involves the removal of the affected skin tissue. The tummy tuck is often seen as a method to get rid of unwanted stretch marks on the abdomen, but not even this surgical technique can deliver perfect results as its success is highly dependent on the location of the stretch marks. If the scars are located on the lower abdomen, they can be removed with the tummy tuck. However, if they are found on both the upper and lower abdomen, the tummy tuck surgery cannot completely eliminate the stretch marks. For this reason, it is imperative that you do your research and discuss with your surgeon what it is you expect so that you can properly prepare yourself for the surgery. You should always have realistic expectations because liposuction can only do so much.


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