Liposuction – Will the Fat Come Back and Where?

liposuction evaluation of woman's thigh

cellulite skin on her legsLiposuction is often touted as the most effective body contouring procedure for men and women looking to permanently rid themselves of unwanted fat. Flabby love handles, jiggly thighs, sagging underarms and bulging stomachs are some of the most common areas suctioned out in this minimally invasive treatment which has been around for decades.

But what happens to all those fat cells during the procedure? Will they eventually grow back? What happens if patients gain weight following liposuction – does the fat accumulate in other, untreated areas?

Leading NYC plastic surgeon Dr. Aviva Preminger wants all of her patients to have realistic expectations before undergoing liposuction and offers answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

FAQ – the return of fat in liposuction patients

  1. Do fat cells come back after liposuction? No, the fat cells that are removed during liposuction are permanently gone and do not grow back.
  2. How much weight can I expect to lose? Lipo should never be thought of as a method for weight loss, but rather a way to zap trouble spots that aren’t responding to diet and exercise. This procedure is not recommended in obese patients, and really should only be performed in those who are already close, within 10-15 percent, of their ideal body mass index.
  3. What will happen if I gain weight after liposuction? One study, published in the medical journal Obesity, reported that patients who gained weight within one year, typically saw new fat accumulation in areas of the body that were untreated by liposuction, particularly around the abdomen, shoulders and arms.
  4. Does fat always redistribute to other areas of the body after lipo? New research put out by ASPS Member Surgeon Eric Swanson, MD, refutes the Obesity study, finding that patients did not experience fat regrowth in untreated areas and that body “proportions will be better after liposuction, barring extremes in weight gain.”
  5. How many pounds of fat can be removed during lipo? Most surgeons err on the conservative side to reduce risk of serious complications. If a patient needs more than 6-8 pounds of fat suctioned out, two separate sessions of lipo may be recommended to allow adequate healing time.
  6. Can liposuction get rid of cellulite? Unfortunately not. Lipo may improve the appearance of dimpled skin, but cannot eradicate cellulite completely.
  7. How can I keep from putting on weight during the recovery process? It’s true that patients are advised to refrain from rigorous physical activity for some weeks after liposuction. During this healing time, patients can avoid gaining extra pounds by eating a clean diet and steering clear of refined and processed foods. Think tons of colorful fruits and veggies, whole grains, and low-cal proteins like fish and chicken breast. Certain yoga and pilates exercises are wonderful complements and can help burn calories without stressing the body.

Liposuction in Manhattan

Keep in mind that liposuction was never meant to turn a size 12 into a size 4, but it can definitely improve your silhouette and offer lasting results as long as you maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you do not gain weight after the procedure, the fat will not regrow in the treated areas – for many years anyway. Aging and genetics will always play a role, but most patients are thrilled with the outcome.

To learn more about liposuction in New York City or other plastic surgery procedures offered by Dr. Preminger, we invite you to schedule a private consultation by calling (212) 706-1900.