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How Can I Tell The Difference Between Loose Skin And Fat?

Losing a significant amount of weight, the process of aging, and pregnancy can all take their toll on our bodies. Sometimes these events can leave behind excess fat, loose skin, or both. It can be upsetting to look in the mirror and the image that is projected back is not what you expected to see.

Fortunately, there are a plethora of treatments to address many of the issues that concern us. To find the treatment or surgical procedure that will best address our concerns, we need to understand the underlying cause of the concern. Do we have excess fat vs loose skin or vice versa? Today we are going to look at some key indicators that can identify between the two to help you in your quest to find the perfect remedy.

The Difference Between Loose Skin And Fat And Why It Matters

Loose skin and excess fat deposits will require different treatments so you must know which issue you are dealing with. Many times, after losing weight or experiencing pregnancy you can have both.

Determining the difference between loose skin vs belly fat is not too difficult because the signs are fairly easy to identify.

Loose Skin
Loose skin will usually fold up on itself and if you pinch your belly, you will only be able to grab 3 or fewer millimeters of skin. Individuals who only have loose skin, normally have lower body fat percentages (around 9% for women and 17% for men). One key indicator is that visually the skin appears droopy, saggy, and wrinkled.
Excess Fat
When trying to tell the difference between fat and loose skin you will know the issue is excess fat if you can pinch your stomach or the area of concern and you are able to grab more than a few millimeters between your fingers. Excess fat is not usually excessively wrinkly and it tends to be jiggly.

Excess fat can be frustrating because it can settle into areas that are non-responsive to diet and exercise. If you have recently lost a lot of weight, it is possible you have both loose skin and excess weight or you may think you have excess skin, but it is actually that famous last layer of stubborn fat.

How Do You Get Rid Of Unwanted Fat vs Loose Skin?

The amazing advancements in surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures and enhanced liposuction techniques now make it possible to eliminate unwanted fat and correct the appearance of loose skin.

Treatments To Get Rid Of Excess Fat

Liposuction
One of the top-performed cosmetic procedures and most effective ways to remove fat is through liposuction. Liposuction is a surgical procedure that is effective at permanently removing fat and providing enhanced contours. Historically, liposuction was associated with pain, risk, and long recovery times but now there are newer techniques used that are much less invasive.

Liposuction delivers more dramatic fat reduction results than less invasive procedures but it has a longer recovery time and may be more expensive.

During liposuction, a special mixture of saline and anesthetic is introduced under the patient’s skin. This tumescent fluid helps to numb the area, minimize blood loss, and loosen the fat so it can be easily removed by the surgeon.

After this fluid is administered, during a VASER liposuction procedure, a tiny incision is made in the target area to allow access for the small ultrasound probes to be inserted just under the skin. Ultrasound technology breaks up the unwanted deposits of fat without causing any damage to the surrounding tissue.

Then the surgeon uses a small instrument called a cannula to remove the loosened fat. In traditional liposuction, the cannula is moved back and forth over the fat to remove it but during VASER liposuction the cannula stays stationary which allows fat removal to be done gently and precisely. VASER liposuction usually only takes about four to seven days to recover vs the six weeks of traditional liposuction.

Liposuction can be used to remove excess fat from the stomach, back, love handles (flanks), arms, thighs, buttocks, chin, neck, etc.

360° VASER liposuction before and after
360° VASER liposuction before and after

It is important to keep in mind that when fat is removed, you may be left with more excess skin.

Non-Surgical Treatments To Reduce Fat

Body contouring treatments that are non-surgical or minimally invasive have become some of the most requested procedures in the past few years. These alternatives to liposuction generally do not require any incisions or anesthesia and have very short recovery times.

PHYSIQ Treatments
People who are at their target weight and in good health may benefit from PHYSIQ treatments. Stubborn fat deposits can be eliminated and muscle tone increased through these 25 – 30 minute treatments.

PHYSIQ works using electrical stimulation and heat that penetrates deep in the tissues to reduce fat, tighten surrounding skin and further define the muscles.

Physiq non-surgical body contouring before and after
Physiq non-surgical body contouring before and after
Kybella to Eliminate Fat
Deoxycholic acid is a naturally occurring substance produced by our body to break down and eliminate fat. Kybella is a synthetic form of this substance and is approved by the FDA to treat excess fat deposits in the neck and chin but it has also been used to treat other areas such as the abdomen.

Kybella works gradually through a series of injections that are targeted to address specific areas. It has been found effective in eliminating mild amounts of stubborn fat that had previously been unaffected by diet and exercise.

Treatments To Get Rid Of Excess Skin

Eliminating excess skin can be more involved and more invasive than removing excess fat. The type of procedure necessary to correct loose skin will depend on the amount of skin that needs to be addressed.

Surgical Removal Of Loose Skin

After an individual experiences massive weight loss, the elasticity in their skin is unable to revert back to the size it was before it was stretched out. Surgery will be necessary to correct this type of issues such as during a tummy tuck, thighplasty, or brachioplasty (upper arm).

If your concerns are more about loose skin vs belly fat, then a tummy tuck might be the right procedure for you. Tummy tuck techniques vary and can be used to treat a moderate amount of loose skin (mini tummy tuck, full tummy tuck) to a large amount of loose skin (extended, Fleur-de-lis, or 360 tummy tuck).

Photos after tummy tuck and lipo
Photos after tummy tuck and lipo

Non-Surgical Treatments For Loose Skin

BodyTite™
This minimally invasive procedure can reduce fat deposits and tighten skin through radiofrequency-assisted lipolysis (RFAL) During the BodyTite procedure, the cosmetic surgeon inserts an instrument that has two parts the bottom part is a thin cannula-like instrument just under the skin and into the fat layer.

This cannula works together with the paddle carrying the radiofrequency that is linked directly to it that passes over the surface of the skin’s layers. The movements of the instrument treat both the fat and the skin at the same time.

Evolve
Evolve is a group of body contouring treatments that work together to eliminate excess fat, tighten, and tone different areas of the body. This family of three non-surgical treatments Evolve Tite, Evolve Trim, and Evolve Tone can correct and significantly improve many common issues that are faced by many individuals. They can be used alone or together for maximum results.

These procedures are painless, fast, and safe for all skin types. Treatments are customizable to treat patient-specific areas of concern with no associated downtime.

  • Evolve Tite works with heat energy to treat the subdermal skin layer. It produces tighter, smoother, and skin that appears more toned while promoting the growth of new collagen.
  • Evolve Trim combines the power of a negative tissue vacuum with heat to reach down and address subcutaneous fat. It is meant to be used to target smaller specific areas of stubborn fat and will reduce the appearance of visible cellulite.
  • Evolve Tone – When the areas of fat have been properly addressed and the skin tightened, Evolve tone can enhance these areas by promoting muscle definition. It not only makes you appear more toned, but you also reap the benefits of working out as the treatment also increases your strength.
Evolve Trim and Tite before & after
Evolve Trim and Tite before & after
PHYSIQ Treatments
As mentioned above, Physiq treatments are beneficial in tightening loose skin, increasing muscle tone, and eliminating the most stubborn fat deposits.

If you are having difficulty determining the difference between loose skin and fat we can help! A simple consultation with one of the expert professionals at Surgicare Arts & Aesthetics will provide you with an answer and a treatment plan to address these issues.

Whatever the cause if you are unhappy with your body, we can develop a personalized treatment plan to help you meet your aesthetic goals. Make an appointment today and attain the look you always wanted tomorrow!

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