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 one of the most popular cosmetic surgical procedures and the vast majority of liposuction patients say they would do it again. However, the surgery is not without its risks and problems. One of the questions you may have is whether liposuction has an effect your metabolism. Does it increase the risk of gaining weight after the procedure? Where do you gain fat if you put weight back on after liposuction?

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 syringe attached to a cannula.

Simply put, liposuction is not a substitute for weight loss or exercise. It is not considered to be a treatment for obesity and doesn't promise lasting weight loss. 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.

Fat Deposits in Treated Areas

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, wherever they may be in your body. As you gain more weight after a liposuction, the results of the procedure will be less than ideal.

Weight gain is even more of a risk if you are inactive. The fat may return as visceral fat, the type that settles around the organs and increases your risk of diabetes and heart disease. You may have less fat around the areas where the liposuction was done, but you need to stay physically fit and active to keep your health risks down.

Diet and Exercise Before and After Liposuction

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.

Sources:

Benatti R, Solis M, Artioli G, et al. Liposuction Induces a Compensatory Increase of Visceral Fat Which is Effectively Counteracted by Physical Activity: A Randomized Trial. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2012. 97(7):2288-95.

Liposuction. MedlinePlus U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002985.htm.

Seretis K, Goulis D, Koliakos G, Demiri E. Short- and Long-Term Effects of Abdominal Lipectomy on Weight and Fat Mass in Females: A Systematic Review. Obesity Surgery. 2015. 25(10):1950-8.

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