How Do Fat Cells Die? (everything you’ve ever wanted to know)

Written by Bryce

If you’ve been wondering how fat cells die, it’s only by way of assaulting them. Here’s how:

Fat reduction and elimination procedures are some of the hottest requests in plastic surgery offices around the countryin fact, last years statistics show liposuction and fat reduction procedures growing by leaps and bounds. But what happens after fatty tissue is treated in any of the various ways top plastic surgeons are able to treat fat cells? Well, that all depends on the method you use you get rid of your fat and how committed to the permanency of your fat reduction you are. Yes, fat cells die, but it’s a matter of what you do to kill them that determines just how thorough and fast that process will be.

Some treatments, like liposuction, actually remove the fat cells so theyre never able to return, while others killthe fat cells in question, and others only encourage the fatty liquid to temporarily drainfrom the cells, which mimics our bodys own natural weight loss process (obviously not a permanent solution, as anyone with sweet tooth will tell you). Many lasers like the Strawberry and others you might find in a local spa only encourage fat cell drainage, not destruction. If you want to make your fat cells die, draining them (by way of machine, laser, or dieting) is simply not the answer.



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Fat cells are mature cells,explains Stewart Wang, MD, FACS, medical director of Wang Plastic Surgery in Los Angeles. Its primary function is to store fat, which is an unused source of energy. Unless its destroyed, fat cells stay permanently in the body. For a permanent reduction of fat cells, its important to destroy them so they’re no longer present to store any unused energy. When you shrink or leak fat cells, the cell can become enlarged again as its used to store additional energy.

Liposuction (and all versions of the traditional procedure), is by far and away the favorite method of plastic surgeons to eliminate fat cells in specific areas. It allows for the greatest level of precision, and guarantees that whatever fat is removed, truly is removed. The only responsibility of the patient from that moment on is to lead a regularly healthy, active lifestyle.


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Freshly liposuctioned fat [ via ]

The fat cells and contents are physically aspirated into a canister outside of the body. The suctioned fat is either discarded as medical waste or repurposed as autologous fat grafting. The current trend is to insert the fat cells back into either the buttocks, the breast or the face.

Basically, aspirated fat has two choices: die a fast death in a canister as medical waste, or get pumped right back into some new home (like cheeks, breasts, or the butt) to live on. Fat cells without an active blood supply die quickly, and medical waste sites are more or less fat cemeteries. Fat cells die a quick, glamorous death this way.

After CoolSculpting and SculpSure, the destroyed cells, which include cell membrane and cell content, are picked up by macrophages a type of white blood cell that eats up cellular debris, and transported to the blood stream and deposited back to the liver to be recycled.

READ MORE: How SculpSure Works

In other words, CoolSculpting and SculpSure (and similar treatments) each claim to destroy about 25% of the treated fat cellsbut neither actually exports the cells out of your body. These fat cells die a slower, more gradual death and our bodies do the dirty work (literally) of transporting each dead cell out by way of our own natural systems. You wont notice oily spots in the toilet, but youll be gradually peeing and pooping your lipids right out. While these methods dont offer the precision of liposuction procedures, they tend to be more affordable for small areas and are considered lunchtimetreatments with less than an hour of downtime.

Wondering which treatment style is right for you? It truly depends on the level of precision youre looking for. If youre seeking a sculpted, perfected look, liposuction is worth every dollar at an ASAPS surgeons office. If youre looking for a quick, relatively painless minor reduction of a small-ish fatty bulge, SculpSure or CoolSculpting are worth a try.

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About the author


Bryce Gruber is a Manhattanite mom who can be found jet-setting off to every corner of the globe. She loves exotic places, planes with WiFi, summer clothes, & Sucre brown butter truffles. Bryce's aim is to do to luxury what Elton John did to being gay. Follow her on twitter @brycegruber

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