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Appendix A: My Perspective: Liposuction and Your Genetics By Judy Brandy-Yoho, R.N.

By Judy Brandy-Yoho, R.N.

While most people might assume overall fitness, diet and exercise are the most important factors influencing final results for liposuction, your own body is important too. Ethnic origins are part of this. Of course there are always exceptions to rules, and ethnic groups have a mixture of body and genetic types. Still, the following generalizations may help certain patients understand what to expect and can aid physicians in their counseling. Additionally, the surgeon's understanding of varying ethnic standards of beauty makes satisfactory results more likely.

Latin-American Descent

Although any body type can be seen with Latin Americans and Native Americans, two general body types are common. The first: narrow hips, thinner legs, wide back, bigger chest, and possibly smaller breasts. When these women gain weight — especially those of childbearing age or over 40 years old - they often gain it in the upper body. The belly may then be bigger proportionally than the legs.

The second category is quite frequently seen in South American and Central American women, and some of the women from the Latin Caribbean islands. These females tend to have a mixed Mediterranean/African shape: smaller on top and larger below. They frequently have larger "saddlebags," and sometimes thicker thighs. These patients often have the "hourglass" figure with a potentially thinner waist.

Latin-American women considering liposuction must keep in mind these possible genetic influences on their body shape, and doctors must include these factors in their counseling. The waist can only be made as thin as the body type allows. Fat underneath the abdominal wall cannot be removed. If the person starts out with very narrow hips and a larger upper body, only so much progress towards a "figure eight" shape can be made because the hips may be relatively small to begin with, and the waist can be made only a bit thinner.

Also, the skin may be thinner, and the chances of permanent wrinkling may be higher in this group. And, the skin above the umbilicus (belly-button) sometimes sags a bit after liposuction. This can be the case with others types also, of course.


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