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Once upon a time, liposuction, a surgical procedure where fat is sucked out of the body via a hollow tube inserted under the skin, was one of the only options for eliminating stubborn pockets of fat. With a potential 8 weeks of recovery time and a price tag of $6-$8000, it was not a decision that many entered into lightly if at all. However, thanks to new, recently FDA approved non-invasive technologies, such as Liposonix, patients who might have been afraid to go under the knife now have alternate options.

Liposonix, cleared by the FDA in 2011, uses ultrasonic energy to target the layer of fat just under the skin; the fat is then eliminated by the body’s immune system and liver over a period of time. Though there is no cutting involved, there have been reports of pain, cold, prickling, tingling and warming during the procedure and soreness, bruising, redness and/or swelling afterwards. Though not as dramatic as the results expected from Liposuction, for just about $3000 one can expect a reported average circumference reduction of just over an inch (an entire pants size) at around 8-12 weeks from the time of the procedure.

Although Liposonix may seem like a dream come true to those who have been waiting for a non-surgical, fat loss alternative, some may continue to wait. There are various specifications that a potential patient must reach before being approved. You must have a BMI under 30 (not obese and close to ideal weight), be able to pinch at least 1 inch of fat on your midsection and be realistic about your desired results. Also, this procedure is currently only approved for the abdomen and flanks; so those looking for fat loss in other areas such as the legs, arms or buttock may need to continue to wait or seek out surgical alternatives. To read more about this procedure visit: http://www.cellulitereduction.net/liposonix/.

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This is an interesting problem that I had never realized even existed, though it seems quite obvious now…

Published December 08, 2010 NewsCore

U.S. soldiers are going to extremes — taking diet pills and laxatives, even starving themselves and getting liposuction — in order to meet the military’s weight standards, the Army Times reported Monday.

“Liposuction saved my career — laxatives and starvation before an [Army Physical Fitness Test] sustains my career,” an anonymous soldier told the weekly paper. “I for one can attest that soldiers are using liposuction, laxatives and starvation to meet height and weight standards. I did, do and still do.”

More than a third of uniformed men and women do not meet the Army’s weight standards, according to a 2009 military fitness report, and those officers are subjected to dreaded tape measurements to determine body fat percentage.

If soldiers exceed the body fat limits, they cannot earn leadership roles or promotions, the paper said. Officers can even lose their jobs if they do not shed a significant amount weight in two months –— a very real threat, considering about 24,000 soldiers were discharged between 1992 and 2007 for failure to meet weight standards, according to a report published in Military Medicine.

“I have been on a roller coaster of gains and losses for half my military career,” one lieutenant colonel told the Army Times. “I have considered lipo, and I have certainly starved myself, dieted on only bread and water, or other similar extreme diets to make weight or tape … And it is no secret to any leader in the military what some soldiers will do to conform to standards that have been set.”

Another soldier based at Fort Riley in Kansas told the paper she recently saw an advertisement for liposuction at the post gym. The Army Times also found ads for the cosmetic procedure in base newspapers at Fort Hood, Tex., Fort Benning, Ga., and Fort Campbell, Ky.

Meanwhile, military leaders and doctors continued to warn against the risks of unhealthy weight loss methods.

“I don’t think we have a clear understanding how widespread this problem is,” Col. George Dilly, Medical Command’s chief dietitian, told the paper, bemoaning the lack of empirical data about extreme dieting and cosmetic surgery among soldiers.

“Soldiers are hiding the fact they are doing this because they don’t want the problem exposed,” he added.

“We want soldiers to look right,” Dr. Thomas Williams, a retired colonel who leads the Army Physical Fitness Research Institute, told the Army Times. “But they also need to feel right and perform right, and you can’t get that from a pill or a procedure.”

I’m not sure what the best way to fix this problem would be. On the one hand, it seems a shame that good, intelligent soldiers may be passed for promotion or even discharged because they put on a few pounds. On the other hand though, if the soldier is not in good enough shape to meet the physical demands of the battlefield, they are putting themselves and others in undue danger. One thing is for sure, methods like liposuction are just a way to cover up the problem. I have no idea what the actual guidelines are here so this could be an unjustified statement, but perhaps instead of bmi metrics the emphasis should be on the ability to perform strenuous tasks. Just a thought.

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