Ask a doctor

Does Weight Gain After Stomach Liposuction Bring Fat Back to Upper Body?

When you have liposuction around the waist and in your stomach area, is it is it true the fat comes back in your upper body? I've heard it will reappear in your arms, upper back and chest area and in your face.

Doctor Answers 19

Liposuction is best reserved for body contouring and addressing stubborn pockets of fat.

Most people who undergo liposuction are very in tune with their bodies.  They are very good at maintaining their physique and will not allow weight gain.  If you put on a few pounds you will not notice an abnormal distribution of fat.  However if you put on a significant amount of fat you may get abnormal deposits.

Post-lipo weight gain should be evenly distributed

As you know, liposuction is done to remove areas of fat that are localized and out of proportion to the rest of the body. These fat cells behave differently than fat cells in other areas, and are very resistant to diet and exercise. Think of them as your body's "favorite" spots to store emergency energy reserves in the form of fat.

The key with lipo then is to make sure that you treat all of these areas. A common example would be the "apple" body, where there is excess fat around the abdomen and hips. Typically the upper inner thighs are affected too so if they aren't done then you will have a bigger problem there. Otherwise, any weight gain should distribute evenly.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Weight gain can occur after liposuction

If one were to gain weight after liposuction, the weight has to go somewhere. It will proportionally go back to the operated area less than other areas because there are fewer fat cells left there compared with areas that did not undergo liposuction. The weight might be distributed in certain areas more than others. Maybe the face, maybe the breasts or the back or the thighs, or all over. The key is not to exercise less and eat more after liposuction. Continue your healthy habits.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Treated areas are unlikely to revert to pre-liposuction levels

After liposuction, the areas treated are not likely to regain fatty fullness, as many fat cells have been removed. These areas have reduced fat storage capacity.

However, if weight gain occurs, the fat will be stored in areas that have not been liposuctioned.

Fred Suess, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Effects of weight gain after liposuction

Thank you for your question. While there are definitely safety concerns with respect to weight and liposuction there are several considerations:
1) Are you goals for the surgery achievable with liposuction? E.g. Liposuction is not a weight loss procedure, even though you will lose a few pounds. It is more to contour areas of the body.
2) Is your weight stable? i.e. does it fluctuate upwards or downwards more than 10lbs? Weight gain after liposuction will diminish your body contouring results as the remaining fat cells enlarge to store more energy. In addition, you may that other parts of the body that were not liposuctioned may enlarge disproportionately compared to pre-liposuction weight gain. If your weight is stable, your results will also be stable.
3) There are increase risks with liposuction if your BMI is greater than 30.
I would recommend that you visit with a board certified plastic surgeon who can work with you to discuss your goals and discuss whether liposuction is the right procedure for you. In our practice, we offer a pre-surgical and post-surgical weight management program to balance our patient's weight and body contouring goals.

Weight gain after lipo

Gaining weight after liposuction, the fat has to go somewhere.  It will go in some degree to the entire body, even the areas that are suctioned.  Hopefully, you won't gain so much weight that it creates contour abnormalities elsewhere, as this is unusual.

Weight Gain & Liposuction

Liposuction is a procedure that targets localized collections of fat. The fat cells in these problem areas are different from other fat cells because they’re typically hormonally sensitive and diet resistant. For this reason, these fat cells don’t respond to diet and exercise. When patients diet and exercise, they lose weight in the surrounding areas, but the problem areas are only minimally effected.

Liposuction is an effective method for removing fat cells from these problem areas. Once these fat cells are removed, fluctuations in weight are associated with a more even distribution of fat.

Following liposuction of the abdomen, subsequent weight gain wouldn’t occur primarily in the upper body, but would be more evenly distributed throughout the body. In contrast, prior to liposuction, weight gain might affect the mid-section disproportionately.

Liposuction is a significant investment and for this reason, should be accompanied by life style changes. These changes are the best way to insure that fluctuations in weight don’t create these types of problems in the future.

Weight Gain After Liposuction In Stomach and Upper Body

If a patient has liposuction anywhere on their body to achieve a contour improvement, the patient MUST maintain their body weight.   If the patient does not follow this advice and packs on 10 plus pounds that fat has to go somewhere on their body.   As there are fewer fat cells to "fill up” in the liposuctioned areas, the body will fill up other areas.   So the fat does not "come back", but rather the patient increased their weight and it “shows up” elsewhere.   The key to great long term results is to maintain your immediate post op body weight (or lose some weight!!).

Carlin Vickery, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Weight gain and fat distribution following liposuction

Yes, this is true. You will tend to accumulate fat in areas that have not been liposuctioned especially when you tend to gain more than 10% of your ideal body weight.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Weight Gain after Liposuction

We are born with a certain number of fat cells in our body. These fat cells dont multiply but they can get larger.

Once you have liposuction performed those cells are removed and they can not grow again. But the cells that are still there in the area, not all the fat cells are removed, will get big after weight gain.

So after liposuction and weight gain you will have fat distribution in a similar area and location as you would have before having had the liposuction.

Hope that helps.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.