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Weight Gain After Liposuction

After I had Liposuction surgery done a year ago, I feel I've been constantly gaining weight. I hardly have any bad eating habits, so I don't understand the weight gain after Liposuction. Why is this happening, and what can I do about it?

Doctor Answers (38)

Weight vs. liposuction

+8

Liposuction or liposculpture reduces fat in problem areas. At 2-3 months, stable patients get on the scale and see a few pounds missing. Yet some patients notice that they have actually gained weight.

Why?

Immediately after surgery, swelling replaces where fat was removed. This swelling, caused by leaky capillaries, consists primarily of water. Once the swelling recedes, and they become more physically active, patients typically notice that their weight improves. By nature, surgery causes soreness and patients are usually restricted from full workouts for a period of time after surgery. This explains the weight gains often noticed immediately after surgery.

For weight gain that continues past this point, the patient has gained fat in their body. Period. Some patients will gain a false sense of confidence after their liposuction procedure. Areas that they have monitored as their "alarm bell" are now much better. They relax and allow their good eating and exercise habits to lapse. By the time the usual alarm bell goes off again, they have gained ten pounds.

This underscores several points. We all typically gain weight over time and gain fat and lose muscle. This is normal human physiology. As time passes, the effort and will power to remain "fit" increases. Anybody who has been to a school reunion knows what happens to a classful of previously fit people.

Liposuction is not a weight loss tool. It is to aid in losing fat from problem areas. If anything, patients should plan on being more active and healthier about their eating habits after surgery than they were before. One week in the gym watching their weight and a patient can lose weight perfectly, with no irregularities, much better than I can sculpt in the operating room. Some of the worst results I have seen are from very wealthy people who think they can just suck out the fat and get many procedures done, each time developing a few more irregularities in the process.

This is not what people like to hear, I know. But the rewards for healthy and restrained eating and regular exercise are great.


Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 100 reviews

Liposuction has nothing to do with your weight. Liposuction deals with weight distribution.

+7

If you are gaining weight, you are violating the equation of stable weight: metabolism (exercize) equals oral intake. If you are eating too much or slowing your metabolism, then weight will increase. A few tricks to losing weight.

Exercize:

  1. Cardiovascular exercize is good for your health but not best for weight loss.
  2. With little time in a busy day, always start by building muscle mass. Muscle burns more calories than other parts of your body and will burn them day and night.
  3. Best muscle groups to work on are the biggest - thighs and butt.

Diet:

  1. Eat protein for breakfast.
  2. Eat every 3 and 1/2 hours. Small meals reduce the overall daily intake and reduces the urge to binge eat.
  3. Eat slowly. It takes 15 to 20 minutes for a full stomach to register in your brain. Thus many people on the go over-eat.
  4. Eat hot soup - it slows you down.
  5. Eat with other people and talk the most - it slows you down. Of course, let others talk, but focus on talking more then eating.
  6. Avoid eating anything white. That includes margarine and butter. Use olive oil for cooking and soaking the whole grain bread at the beginning of a meal.
  7. Diets that deprive you of food fail!

Robert M. Freund, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Liposuction is not a license to eat

+5

This is something that I tell all of my liposuction patients. Patients tend to view it as such without even knowing it. Areas that were previously the most noticeable for them are much smaller after liposuction. This gives patients a sense that even though they are eating more they are not gaining weight because the liposuctioned previously more noticeable areas are the last to show the weight gain. Get to the gym and protect the investment that you have made in your body. Good luck!

Kenneth R. Francis, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

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Weight gain is unrelated to liposuction.

+3

To iklugirl,

Liposuction is good for improving shape. Unwanted bulges are removed and contour is enhanced. And the improvement in SHAPE should very long lasting. That means the localized bulges should not come back.

But this does not affect your overall size and weight. Unfortunately, if you eat more calories than your body needs and if you don't exercise enough, then weight will accumulate. One thing is sure: the liposuction that you had is not causing your weight gain.

Hope this is helpful. Now you know what to do!

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Weight gain after liposuction

+2

There are only two reasons that weight gain occurs after liposuction.The most common reason is that you simply take in more calories than you burn up with normal daily activity and exercise. Most patients love the way they look after their liposuction and get complacent in their eating habits. 

You state that has not happened in your case. If so, the only other reason to gain weight is to gain muscle mass through diligent exercise training. In this case your clothes should fit you well, despite the weight gain. The differences in your body shape as a result of these two causes of weight gain is obvious. 

Many patients want to blame liposuction for their weight gain. I don't hear that in your question but it is a common misconception. They often think that there is some "factor" that makes it easier to gain weight after liposuction fat removal. This is simply not true. If you are gaining fat in other areas not suctioned after liposuction it simply has to be because you are taking in more calories than you are utilizing despite your perception of eating habits. 

Jay Burns, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Liposuction is unrelated to weight gain

+1
While liposuction might result in an immediate loss of a few pounds, most patients gain back any weight lost during liposuction almost immediately. Aside from that immediate loss, your liposuction is unrelated to your current weight gain. I would analyze your eating and exercise habits to figure out why you are putting on weight. Weight gain is also related to the slowing of the metabolism that occurs with age. I would see a doctor that specializes in this area to discuss why this may be happening. Best of luck. 

David Rapaport, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Weight Gain After Liposuction

+1
Liposuction re-contours the body by reducing the number of fat cells. This is permanent and your body will not compensate by creating more fat cells if you maintain your weight. If one does gain a significant amount of weight, however, the fat cells that do remain can enlarge and diminish the benefits. Overall contour, however, remains improved.
There is no evidence suggesting that liposuction causes weight gain. However, as we get older it does become more difficult to maintain lean muscle mass and keep the fat off.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 74 reviews

Weight Gain After Liposuction

+1
In the early postoperative period, weight gain is due to swelling, which will resolve.  The best way to judge the outcome after liposuction is by the contours and your clothing size, not by measuring your weight.  Weight is dependent on water weight, and muscle weight as well as fat.  If you are working out and adding muscle you may be adding weight, but still having a good outcome from the liposuction.

Gary Lawton, MD, FACS
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Weight Gain Can Adversely Affect Previous Liposuction

+1

The vast majority of patients who undergo liposuction are extremely happy with the results of their procedure. In many cases, the procedure results in lifestyle changes that ultimately result in further weight loss and improved quality of life. Patients tend to adopt healthy diets and exercise more frequently following liposuction. They realize that their liposuction procedure has been a significant investment not only from an economic standpoint, but a personal standpoint as well. For this reason, they tend to watch their diet and exercise more frequently.

In the immediate post-operative period, weight gain following liposuction may be related to fluid retention. When this situation arises, the patient’s weight tends to decrease as swelling resolves with the passage of time.

Unfortunately, we occasionally see patients whose liposuction isn’t accompanied by lifestyle changes. Under these circumstances, lack of exercise and over eating can cause weight gain. Patients in this category usually have a discrepancy between caloric intakes and caloric expenditures.

If you’ve gained weight following liposuction, consultation with your plastic surgeon might be appropriate. Your surgeon should be able to advise you on the appropriate course of action.  

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 89 reviews

Weight gain after liposuction

+1
Liposuction may remove a large amount of fat, but it does not prevent subsequent weight gain.  Fat occupies a large volume but it actually doesn't weight as much as you would think.  Removing a large volume through liposuction may make an area of your body look great, but the weight of the fat removed (minus the fluid used in liposuction) is actually not very much.  Therefore, despite the great contouring from liposuction, the amount of weight removed is low. By looking better, some patients feel less weight restricted and unintentional gain weight after liposuction, resulting in weight gain.

John Zavell, MD, FACS
Toledo Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 13 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.