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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 (34)

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 91 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 18 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 31 reviews

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 26 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 7 reviews

Weightgain After Liposuction

+1
Thank you for your question about gaining weight after liposuction. I am concerned that you are noticing a steady increase in your weight after having liposuction. The most likely answer is that you are eating more calories than you are aware. We all do this. It's easy to underestimate the number of calories we take in. Another possible, but less likely cause, is that you have something going on with your metabolism. Thyroid is a gland is the body that regulates metabolism. If you are feeling more tired than usual or noticing other changes in your body, I would recommend you see your regular doctor and get their opinion. Try being more active and replacing carbs with fruits and veggies and see if that changes what you're noticing in the mirror. Best Wishes!

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Weight gain after liposuction

+1
Unfortunately weight gain after liposuction works exactly as it does before liposuction.  Fat cells removed from the body during liposuction are gone forever.  However, liposuction is not a weight loss procedure, and it cannot magically prevent weight gain.

John K. Wakelin III, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Weight Gain After Liposuction

+1
Liposuction is best done as a body contouring procedure.  Weight gain is calories in versus calories out but the contour should be balanced after the liposuction of trouble spots. 

Susan D. Vasko, MD, FACS
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Weight gain after liposuction

+1

Post liposuction procedure I like to recommend our patients to perform lymphatic massages to help with the swelling and the liquid accumulation in the surrounding tissues. Also I recommend to gradually reduce the size of the post surgical girdle and to have it on for an entire year to see optimums results.

Mel T. Ortega, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 141 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.