Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

June 17, 2011 at 10:53am

Air Force: Don't use liposuction as PT shortcut

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MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Liposuction, a popular shortcut to a leaner body, might be a shortcut to a leaner paycheck, loss of rank or a career-ending ticket to civilian life for Airmen.

The cosmetic procedure is not an acceptable solution to trimming inches or weight to meet physical requirements, said Lt. Col. (Dr.) Dave Simon, chief of the medical staff for the 6th Air Mobility Wing. In short, trying to make tape via liposuction is not something the Wing will ever sign off on, and "sneaking" off to have the procedure done could not only lead to a ding on one's Air Force career, it could hamper readiness, jeopardize health or otherwise interfere with the duties of Airmen and jeopardize the mission, Col. Simon noted.

"I can't foresee any situation in which it would be approved," said Lt. Col. (Dr.) Terry Haag, chief of aerospace Mmdicine at MacDill AFB. "It's cosmetic and elective, and not something you have to have done."

The primary concern is that with physical fitness requirements becoming more stringent and the emphasis on being "fit to fight," Airmen worried about that little extra around the middle will be tempted by the promises of liposuction.

The bottom line, however, is liposuction is a surgical procedure, which has risks, requires a recovery period and potentially renders an Airman-patient unable to perform at peak level, perhaps even interfering with duty or deployment.

"Infection," said Colonel Haag is the number one risk of liposuction. "There can be other complications, but that is the biggest concern."

Liposuction also doesn't make a person more fit, he said.

"It isn't real," Colonel Haag said.

In addition, unless a lifestyle change is made, such as adjusting the diet or exercising more or more effectively, the weight removed with liposuction is bound to return in short order.

"There are no shortcuts to physical fitness and better health," Colonel Haag said. "It's something that requires work and discipline."

From an Air Force and 6th AMW standpoint, a ready force able to deploy in short order is a priority, which is why any elective surgery has to be approved by a unit commander and medical staff. It also is why there can be severe consequences for Airmen who have elective surgery done without prior clearance.

Disciplinary action for Airmen who have surgery done without command or medical approval can lead to anything from a letter of reprimand to an Article 15 or even a courts martial under Article 92, dereliction of duty, said Capt. Joey Smith, chief of military justice in the 6th Air Mobility Wing Judge Advocate office.

The action taken depends on the Airman's history, as well as the commander's discretion, said Captain Smith. Among the options could be loss of pay, loss of rank and even discharge.    

Comments for "Air Force: Don't use liposuction as PT shortcut" (1)

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