Dr. Kirby's Blog
Is Fat Gone for Good After Liposuction?February 9, 2017 by Dr. Kirby
Are you tired of choosing outfits based on what will best hide your belly pooch? Perhaps you, like many patients, have considered liposuction, but are concerned that the fat may come back before long. After all, you have dieted and exercised tirelessly and that stubborn fat pocket is still there—so how can you know if liposuction will take care of it for the long haul?
You may be surprised to learn that I appreciate this hesitation; it indicates that you have realistic expectations about what plastic surgery can achieve. However, there is a reason that liposuction is the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure* in the United States. For the right patient, it is effective and results last.
Perhaps knowing more about how and why liposuction works—and what factors into long-lasting results—will help you better understand what it might achieve for you.
Our bodies will not naturally reduce our supply of fat cells, but liposuction can remove them.
Fat cells behave differently from other types of cells. Once we reach adulthood, the total number of fat cells in our bodies remains very stable. Weight gain and loss does not occur by adding and subtracting fat cells, but rather by the existing fat cells we have getting bigger and smaller.
If you have excess fat cells in certain areas, such as the lower belly, thighs, or neck, these areas will be difficult to reduce with diet and exercise alone. Moreover, if you lose weight, all of your fat cells will shrink—not just your “problem” areas. This means that places where you appreciate having some plumpness (such as your breasts) will reduce in size along with the rest of your body with weight loss. In short, your overall proportions will not change much without outside intervention.
Liposuction manually removes fat cells from targeted areas. By suctioning out excess fat cells in a precise pattern, a skilled plastic surgeon can help to “even the playing field,” reducing the total number of fat cells and sculpting a more proportional, aesthetically pleasing shape to an area.
How long does liposuction last?
The great news is that liposuction results can last for many years. Because fat cells are manually removed, and the body will not replace them—these cells are gone. Additionally, you will not accumulate more fat in the remaining cells in treated areas as long as you maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep your weight stable. It is a common myth that when fat cells are removed from one area, they show up in another. This is not true; however, you need to be at least as vigilant about a healthy diet and exercise after liposuction as you were before the procedure.
Want liposuction results that last? Choose an experienced plastic surgeon and commit to a healthy lifestyle, making necessary improvements to your diet and exercise habits before you consider liposuction.
While liposuction can help you spot-reduce bothersome areas of fat relatively quickly, this does not mean a free ticket to eat as much you want! Liposuction is not a weight-loss procedure, nor does the procedure guarantee you will never gain weight again. Take in more calories than you burn, and you can gain back weight after liposuction. While treated areas will not regain the same amount of bulk as they would have without liposuction, remaining fat cells will enlarge with weight gain, which could “cancel out” your results.
How to ensure your liposuction results will last
Commit to a healthy lifestyle and make necessary improvements to your diet and exercise habits before you have liposuction. The most satisfied liposuction patients are those who healthy, fit and within 5 to 10 pounds of their goal weight. These patients recognize that healthy diet and exercise habits are key to looking and feeling great long-term. If you frequently overindulge or spend too much time on the couch, you can expect fat to return after liposuction.
Additionally, it is important to remember that long-lasting does not mean forever. No cosmetic procedure can stop the natural aging process. Over time, it is normal for a person’s metabolism to slow and for body composition to change. Years down the road, you may notice things about your body you would like to change; in this case, you can consult with a board certified plastic surgeon to discuss options to touch up your results or address signs of aging.
Ready to learn more about liposuction? See an experienced plastic surgeon
As you can see, there are many steps you can take to ensure great results with liposuction. One more essential step—choose a board certified plastic surgeon who operates in an accredited surgical facility, who will have the training and experience to perform a safe surgery and the skill to achieve symmetrical, natural contours with liposuction.
If you live in the area, I welcome you to contact me at my Fort Worth plastic surgery practice. I am highly experienced with liposuction for both men and women and will be glad to help you learn more about the procedure and recovery.
*American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 2015 Cosmetic Surgery National Data Bank Statistics.