Discussion regarding Pregnancy and Liposuction!
Article by George Commons, MD
Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon
Yes, go ahead and have liposuction and you will be fine but there are a few things to understand. These are as follows. If your weight is fine and you have true lipodystrophy in spots go ahead and have liposuction. You will be fine. If you are overweight, lose this weight first and then have liposuction before children. if you wish, you will be fine. If you are very close to having children, I suppose it best to go with the kids first but it is a human decision call. If you have lipodystrophic areas liposuctioned and then get pregnant, your weight gain will be proportional and fine. Remember in areas that have been liposuctioned of lipodystrophic fat, the fat will not return if weight is gained. In fact fat will never return in any area liposuctioned quite as it would have prior to liposuction. Remember, if 80% of fat cells have been removed from an area, that area has 80% less fat cells to expand and make us fat in that area. But we can still gain a ton regardless of the liposuction we have had. We do not get fat by an increase in the number of fat cells in an area but rather by little fat cells expanding into big fat cells. You might think of a pea becoming a golf ball in analogy. So if you have had liposuction and a great amount of weight was removed, and then if you gain weight during pregnancy you will put it usually around shoulders and arms. This is not good, but is exactly what happens, pregnancy or not, if you gain weight after liposuction. Before going on I will define a an area of lipodystrophy. This is an area of normal fat in an abnormal quantity. This can occur in an obese person or in a person of exact correct weight. Examples include the saddle bags, the hips, the back rolls, the spare tire, and neck fat. This can be seen in persons of perfect weight or in persons of obesity. Then there is just plain fat fat. If a person is decidedly overweight, has no waist, has a big belly, etc. etc and is simply obese, the situation is very different. So there is complexity. If children are years away and if you have lipodystrophic fat go ahead and have liposuction. If you are just simply obese, losing weight is best prior to children. When there is a combination of some obesity and some lipodystrophy, the decision is more complex. This combination is ofter the case. So while it is ok to have liposuction prior to pregnancy, if obese, please combine the program with weight loss and management. Over 30 years I have watched many women go into pregnancy, some obese and some not, some with just lipodystrophy, some just obese, some with and some without liposuction. Obese women have a tendency to skyrocket during pregnancy whether a liposuction history or not. The fat is never good, liposuction or not. Just remember that a person who has had a general body liposuction and gains weight will put the weight on about the arms and shoulders and will look like a 49er. That means masculine. Adding fat after a generalized body liposuction makes a woman look like a man about the shoulders and arms. Not ideal. Again please note the difference between a larger area , multiple site, liposuction versus spot liposuction (for lipodystrophy) in ideal weight people to rid the body of lipodystrophic fat. I do hope you come away from this understanding the difference between lipodystrophic liposuction or spot reduction in normal weight people versus general area liposuction to reverse areas of obesity. So there is not a simple answer to the question of liposuction before pregnancy or not. There are numerous factors to consider. If simple spot reduction of dystrophoc areas is being considered in a slender person by all means go ahead. If liposuction is being considered for general obesity be wary and discuss with you surgeon. If there is some combination then it must be thought out even more. The combo i the most common combination we see. Be sure and select interviews with three real trained surgeons who are Fellows of the American College of Surgeons and have certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Best of luck. My Best, Dr C