This Article Has Been Medically Approved By

Dr. George H. Sanders


Is beer belly surgery a thing? Several times every year a man will come to my office seeking treatment for his “beer gut.” In the past this was almost always related to a desire for improvement of the appearance, but nowadays there is the additional concern about a large waistline predisposing a person to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Does plastic surgery play a role in the treatment of this problem?

Liposuction can reduce the amount of subcutaneous fat in the abdominal area. Subcutaneous fat is located directly beneath the skin. If the skin tone is good and there is a significant amount of subcutaneous abdominal fat (you’re able to pinch at least an inch), liposuction can reduce the amount of fat and the skin will shrink down to give an excellent result. If the skin tone is not so good, a combination of liposuction and skin removal may be considered. Because abdominal muscle tone is generally good in men because there has been no muscle stretching from pregnancy, the procedure is usually less involved than a traditional tummy tuck, leaving a low scar hidden by undergarments or bathing suits.

If the fat is located beneath the muscle layer of the abdomen so that it surrounds the internal organs (so called visceral fat), liposuction cannot be used to reduce this. Weight loss is the correct treatment. Not only will weight loss improve the appearance of the abdomen by reducing the amount of internal fat and the bulge that it produces, but will also decrease the waist circumference and thus reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. An informal poll of my patients finds that most of the successful weight losers use a combination of diet and exercise. After the weight loss is complete, men will sometimes return to my plastic surgery facility to have skin removed from the abdomen if it does not tighten on its own.

Please contact our office should you have further questions.