MSNBC’s Joan Kron is responsible for authoring a very well-done consumer-facing article that may also be of interest to aesthetic practitioners. Trimming the fat: When lipo works … and when it doesn’t:

What can getting liposuction do — and not do?
Liposuction treats fat deposits that are resistant to diet and exercise, such as saddlebags or the lower abdomen, which means it’s not a substitute for traditional weight loss. In fact, diet and exercise are essential before and after the procedure to obtain the best results, says Jeffrey Kenkel, professor of plastic surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. A doctor can suction out up to five quarts of fat, but there is usually little change in body weight — at most a pound or two. Liposuction can’t eliminate stretch marks or cellulite, and it may even make cellulite more pronounced, Kenkel says. Once the fat is taken out, “we can’t predict or control how much the overlying skin will contract,” he says. “In general, patients with good skin tone will experience tightening as the skin redistributes itself. But others with thin, soft skin may develop sagging in the areas suctioned.” Doctors are developing alternative and noninvasive ways to remove fat, but for now liposuction is considered the gold standard.

Thank you, Dr Kenkel, for being clear and precise about the nature of removing fat and the often inevitable saggies. Some of the results cannot be predicted… Contrast this testimonial to the promotional messages presented by firms marketing lipo solutions. In the marketing of lipo hardware, manufacturers oversell their products as a general rule.

Some doctors are skeptical of using lasers this way, pointing out that there currently isn’t scientific data to support the claimed benefits. Also, “you are potentially heating the skin to dangerous levels in order to achieve skin tightening,” Kenkel says (there have been some burns reported from LAL). And the tumescent anesthetic solution that’s commonly used in regular liposuction results in little to no bruising anyway, Narins says.

Indeed, where is the scientific data? Read it all.