Michael Echavez

Lipodystrophy & Lipoatrophy

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Fixing Lipodystrophy & Lipoatrophy With Cosmetic Surgery

The word lipodystrophy literally means “fat disorder.” It is an abnormal change in the way the body distributes and metabolizes fat causing some parts of your body that don’t normally store fat to store fat and affecting how your body processes fats and sugars as it breaks down food. Many people who suffer from lipodystrophy suffer from fat being distributed in areas around your body under the skin like the neck and facial areas.

While there is no proven way to reverse the changes that occur the body associated with lipodystrophy, cosmetic surgery is leading the way to improving the appearance of those who suffer from it by successfully reversing the changes in fat distribution. Unfortunately for most lipodystrophy sufferers going to a plastic surgeon to have your appearance corrected is considered “cosmetic” and isn’t covered by a lot of private or public insurance plans.

How Can a Surgeon Help Treat Lipodystrophy and/or Lipoatrophy?

Cosmetic surgery can be used to help correct the effects of lipoatrophy in the face and make your hollow cheeks full by placing facial implants or injecting dermal fillers under the skin. Surgeons also remove abnormal fat deposits by performing liposuction or surgically removing them. Liposuction is performed generally under anesthesia and involves little to no risk or discomfort. You can be released to go home the same day and generally have no major side effects.

Fillers Surgeons Use to Treat Lipoatrophy

Polylactic Acid (Sculptra™)

This product, also known as NewFill™, fills in affected areas by stimulating collagen production and the gradual thickening of the skin. Depending on how severe the lipoatrophy is, it will take between three and six treatments to have everything resolved. The results with Sculptra in SF can last anywhere from two to three years. The process is slightly painful with bruising and swelling that only lasts a little while.

Calcium Hydroxylapatite (Radiesse™)

Made from microparticles of calcium that help stimulate the formation of new collagen fibers, which can lead to a natural looking filling that lasts between one and a half to two years. Radiesse in SF a great option for people with mild lipoatrophy but expect treatment to be moderately painful and produce some short term bruising and swelling.

Polyalkylimide (Bio-Alcamid™)

This is the only permanent filler currently available on the market. It’s a water-based gel that is injected deep under the skin until the desired volume is reached, usually in one or two treatment sessions. The side effects are a little harsher but the effects will wear off after a certain number of days.

Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA)

Composed of microscopic particles of PMMA that stimulate collagen formulation PMMA has a life-span of five to 10 years. You will need to have a series of treatments every three months until you reach your desired results. Because it lasts for such a long time touch-ups are not necessary for a while.

There are several cosmetic procedures that can be performed to treat the disorders Lipodystrophy and Lipoatrophy. If you are interested in finding out what a plastic surgeon can do for you take a moment and consult Dr Echavez at the number above.

Keywords: Lipodystrophy, Lipoatrophy


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Our Office Locations in San Francisco, CA & Seattle, WA

Facial Plastic Surgery and Cosmetic Surgery Offices: Patient office visits are scheduled every weekday except Thursday. Early evening appointments can be arranged on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Please contact us for appointment dates in the Seattle office.