Realistic Expectations

1. Does liposuction produce permanent results?

The results of liposuction are permanent but may be altered over time. The fat cells removed during liposuction do not come back, so the new body shape is permanent. However, a patient is still able to gain weight after liposuction. If weight gain occurs, the body will be a larger version of its post-liposuction shape. As a person ages, changes to the body are inevitable but the benefits of liposuction will always be visible.

2. How much weight can I lose by liposuction?

Liposuction is not a weight loss procedure and will not result in dramatic weight loss. Because fat is removed from targeted areas, the appearance of the body can be significantly improved. Patients should not expect to lose weight as a result of liposuction but appropriate patients should experience significant improvement in their bodies’ aesthetic appearance.

3. Will the fat cells grow back after liposuction?

Fat cells removed during liposuction do not come back. However, new fat cells can form if a patient gains a significant amount of weight after the procedure. With small weight gains, existing fat cells grow but no new cells develop. With a gain of more than 10% of body weight, new fat cells can develop in all areas of the body, including those that underwent liposuction. As an adult gains more and more weight, increasing numbers of fat cells (lipocytes) are formed from existing pleuripotential connective tissue cells by a process of differentiation. Existing connective tissue cells first transform into immature fat cells, called lipoblasts, and then develop into mature fat cells as obesity develops.

4. What happens if I gain weight after liposuction?

As a patient gains more weight following liposuction, the results become less and less apparent. After liposuction, the patient should weigh less because a certain amount of fat was removed. If 5 pounds of fat is removed during a liposuction procedure, then the patient should maintain a weight of 5 pounds less than they were pre-surgery. If he or she was 145 before liposuction and 5 pounds of fat were removed, he or she should try to stay at or below 140 after liposuction. If a patient regains the same amount of weight that was removed 6 months after the procedure, the results of liposuction will still be visible but not as dramatic as if he or she had kept the weight off. The new body shape will remain despite the weight gain.