How Long Will My Liposuction Results Last?

Measure your liposuction results by this timeline

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Many people want to know if the results from liposuction surgery are permanent. As with many questions relating to plastic surgery, the answer is yes...and no.

The human body has only a certain amount of fat cells, and they grow larger or smaller as we gain or lose weight, respectively. The number and distribution of our fat cells is set before we even reach adulthood. This is why we may have some stubborn areas where fat won't seem to budge, even though we are losing weight in other areas.

This is where liposuction comes in.

When fat deposits are removed through liposuction, those fat cells are gone forever. The body's contour is improved, and ideally, the areas in questions are now more in proportion to the rest of the body. However, there will always be some remaining fat cells in the area, as well as in other areas of the body. Therefore, if the patient subsequently gains weight, the remaining fat cells will grow larger.

Since there are now fewer fat cells in the liposuctioned area, the idea is that in cases of weight gain, those areas will stay in better proportion to the rest of the body. However, be aware that it may appear that you are gaining more weight in areas where you did not have the procedure, since those areas now contain proportionately more fat cells.

In short, while it should improve your body proportions and contours, liposuction is not an effective method of weight loss, and it certainly does not grant you a guilt-free (or weight-gain free) all-you-can-eat license.

How to Make Liposuction Results Last Longer

It is very easy — exercise. According to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, normal weight women who had 2.5 to 3 pounds of abdominal fat removed by liposuction and who exercised after surgery enjoyed their new shape six months afterward.

Specifically, of the 36 healthy but inactive women aged 20 to 35 that had the procedure, half had regained fat six months after liposuction. What's more: It was mostly visceral fat, the type that settles around the organs and increases one's risk of diabetes and heart disease. These women also gained 10 percent more visceral fat than they had prior to the liposuction.

The other half didn't gain back the fat, and more, because they were the group in the study that were randomly assigned to participate in a four-month training program that had them doing cardiovascular and strength training exercise three times a week. This group ended up with less fat in their bodies.

We don't know why liposuction fat gain comes back as visceral fat. It could be because after surgery people tend to be more sedentary, which can lead to fat gain. Our bodies are finely tuned to defend its fat stores and may try to compensate when it loses fat quickly — like during liposuction. However, exercise may mitigate those efforts and recalibrate the body's weight setpoint, or what it thinks it should weigh.



Benatti F, Solis M, Artioli G, Montag E, Painelli V, Saito F, Baptista L, Costa LA, Neves R, Seelaender M, Ferriolli E, Pfrimer K, Lima F, Roschel H,Gualano B, Lancha A Jr. Liposuction induces a compensatory increase of visceral fat which is effectively counteracted by physical activity: a randomized trial. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Jul;97(7):2388-95. 

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