Can Liposuction Cause Weight Gain?

Why Liposuction Is Not a Substitute for Weight Loss or Exercise

Plastic surgery markings on a women’s body.
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Liposuction is without a doubt one of the most popular cosmetic surgical procedures performed today, and the vast majority of liposuction patients say they would do it again. However, the surgery is not without its risks and problems. There are some questions about the effect of liposuction on metabolism and the possibility that liposuction can increase a patient's propensity for gaining weight. The burning question then is this: Can liposuction cause weight gain?

Liposuction and Weight Gain

Liposuction is a minimally-invasive cosmetic surgical procedure that removes fat from areas of the body. The procedure uses a thin, hollow tube, known as a cannula, that is inserted into the body through incisions, to loosen and suction excess fat using a vacuum or a cannula-attached syringe.

Simply put, liposuction is not a substitute for weight loss or exercise. It does not remove cellulite or tighten loose or sagging skin. The procedure is meant for those areas of fat that don’t respond to exercise or diet. Liposuction targets areas on the thighs, abdomen, arms, back, hips, buttock, flanks, chest, face, calves, and ankles.

What Liposuction Does Do

Fat cells are permanently removed during liposuction. They do not come back unless you gain a significant amount of weight. If you do gain weight, it usually does not return to the areas that were treated with liposuction.

However, if you do gain a significant amount of weight, fat will accumulate in both the treated area and untreated areas.

If You Gain Weight After Liposuction

Because the fat cells in the treated area of the body are removed permanently, there are little to no fat cells in the treated area to absorb the newly formed fat.

Fat is then deposited into cells in untreated areas of the body. This new weight gain will cause the remaining fat cells to grow. As you gain more weight after a liposuction, the results of the procedure will be less than ideal.

The Bottom Line

If you are considering liposuction, but are concerned about weight gain after liposuction, the best approach is to lose as much of your excess weight as possible with a sensible diet and exercise regimen before undergoing the procedure. After the procedure, and with your doctor’s approval, maintain the results of your liposuction by continuing your healthy lifestyle of diet and physical activity.

More Resources for Liposuction and Weight Loss

Liposuction: What You Need to Know

The Truth About Liposuction (Hint: It's Surgery)

Limitations of Liposuction

How Long Will My Liposuction Results Last?

The 10 Body Parts Liposuction Can Fix

Recovery After Liposuction



National Institutes of Health.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

U.S. National Library of Medicine.

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