Are Liposuction Results Permanent?

Written by Cameron Craven, MD, FACS, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon on August 28, 2020 One Comment

liposuction results

Liposuction, also known as suction-assisted lipectomy, removes isolated pockets of stubborn body fat to contour a specific body area or enhance the entire silhouette. Lipo is by far the most effective fat removal procedure, with the ability to get rid of fat that is resistant to diet and exercise. The popular surgical body contouring technique offers dramatic and near immediate results, but are the results of liposuction permanent?

Here’s everything you need to know about how long the results of liposuction last:

Liposuction Permanently Removes Fat

Liposuction removes unwanted fat cells from a localized area of the body with the use of a cannula, a small, hollow tube. The tube is inserted through a small incision and dislodges fat from under the skin with a back and forth motion. Targeted fat is removed via a surgical vacuum, which is attached to the cannula. Fat cells are literally sucked out of the body.

Fat cells removed via liposuction will never come back. Adults maintain a relatively constant number of fat cells their body, essentially making the removal of fat cells via liposuction permanent. The area treated by liposuction will forever have fewer fat cells since new fat cells cannot grow back.

Weight Loss is Not Permanent

While the fat removal result of liposuction is permanent, it’s vital for patients to understand that the small amount of weight loss resulting from your liposuction is not. A significant amount of weight gain after liposuction can negatively affect the results of the procedure.

To understand how body contouring changes after liposuction, it’s helpful to understand how fat cells work in the body. There are two important factors to consider:

  • We maintain a relative constant number of fat cells throughout adulthood: The number of fat cells in the body is relatively constant and that the number of fat cells produced from precursor cells is approximately equal to the number of fat cells lost due to normal cell death over a given period of time. The fat cells you have shrink or grow.
  • We gain weight in each fat cell evenly: The fat cell enlarging effect of weight gain or weight loss occurs evenly throughout every fat cell in the body. Some areas may seem to gain or lose weight more quickly than others, but this is because there are more or less fat cells in those areas.

After liposuction, you’ll permanently have fewer fat cells in the treatment area. However, that does not mean those fat cells can’t expand or become enlarged with weight gain.

  • A small amount of weight gain will change the overall look of your body, but will affect the treated areas less (relative to before), because there are now fewer fat cells in those areas.
  • A significant amount of weight gain has potential to negatively impact your results by enlarging each fat cell in your body. It will still affect the treated areas less, but too much weight gain can negate the benefit of liposuction altogether.

Maintain Your Weight for Permanent Liposuction Results

To permanently maintain the results of your liposuction procedure patients must maintain their post-procedure weight.

Your liposuction treatment will remove a certain amount of weight from your body. This is the weight you should maintain for permanent results. For example, if you weighed 135 pounds prior to surgery and had 7 pounds of fat removed via lipo, maintaining your new weight of 128 will maintain your results.

Tips for Maintaining Post-Procedure Weight

  • Exercise regularly. Maintaining your current body weight depends upon maintaining balance between calories in and calories expended. Focus on doing both cardio and weight training exercises to burn calories and build lean muscle mass.
  • Eat healthy foods in moderation. Emphasizing healthy proteins and fats over simple carbohydrates keeps you satiated and prevents overeating.
  • Stay hydrated. Thirst is often mistaken for hunger. Staying hydrated helps prevent weight gain.

When fat is removed from underneath the skin, it can sometimes result in sagging or lose skin. Healthy, elastic skin is more likely to tighten on its own after surgery. Keeping your skin tight will contribute to continued good-looking results.

Tips for Maintaining Healthy Skin

  • Follow all post-surgical instructions. If you were provided with compression garments, wear them for as long as prescribed.
  • Avoid sun exposure, smoke and pollutants. UV light, smoke and air pollutants damage collagen and elastin and hasten the effects of aging.
  • Moisturize and Hydrate. Hydrated skin is typically more elastic and springs back more quickly after weight loss. Water also helps plump collagen.

It’s important to remember that liposuction is not a weight loss procedure, but a cosmetic one. It will improve the shape of localized areas of the body, and has the most significant impact on those that are already fit and healthy. You’re a good candidate for liposuction if you already lead a healthy and active life. Maintaining this level of activity and attention to what you eat will ensure that the positive results of your liposuction will last a lifetime.

Cameron Craven, MD, FACS

Cameron Craven MD, FACS is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Dr. Craven specializes in the full spectrum of cosmetic surgery including breast augmentation, liposuction and body contouring, facial rejuvenation, laser surgery, eyelid surgery, and rhinoplasty, as well as reconstructive surgery for skin cancers.

One Response to “Are Liposuction Results Permanent?”

  1. Hi Cameron,
    Thank you for sharing great set of information with us. It’s important to keep in mind that liposuction results are not necessarily permanent. Eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, and follow a regular exercise routine. Enjoyed reading the post.. informative one and keep writing.

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