Fact or Fiction: Does Liposuction Cause Cellulite?

WriterMama on 14 Sep 2012 at 9:00am


Women across the country are talking about it, does liposuction cause cellulite? One source of this assertion is tabloid favorite Heidi Montag, known for being an original cast member of The Hills…and for having 10 plastic surgery procedures done in a single day.

In an article appearing in The OC Register - we also covered her admission to InTouch - Heidi is quoted as blaming lipo for the cellulite that surfaced on her thighs a few months after her marathon surgery, saying “I'm so insecure about my legs... I rarely wear shorts.”

But is liposuction really the culprit here, or is Heidi just playing pass-the-buck? Plenty of doctors disagree with the idea that sucking out fat from your thighs creates that dreaded dimpled “cottage cheese” texture.

Why lipo can appear guilty as charged

It's true that liposuction may result in "contour irregularities and depressions." Some women report recovering from lipo procedures, only to find that their skinnier thighs are best showcased in a pair of jeans.

However, according to many doctors, lipo doesn't cause cellulite—it just makes the condition more noticeable.

RealSelf doctor Steven H. Williams, MD, a San Francisco plastic surgeon, explained, “It is possible that after significant volume changes (especially on the thighs) cellulite can become more prominent.”

So, women with existing cellulite and excess weight may not know they have the condition until the fat is removed with a lipo procedure. This is because, as Miami plastic surgeon B. Pat Pazmino, MD, reveals in a RealSelf answer, “Cellulite is caused in the superficial layer of the skin where liposuction does not reach.”

So what causes cellulite?

The actual causes of cellulite vary, from genetics to hormones to loss of skin elasticity, and possibly even diet and exercise habits. RealSelf doctor W. Tracy Hankins, MD, gives a more technical explanation: “[Cellulite] is due to fibrous septae connections from the deeper tissue to the dermis and can be seen in both overweight and thin patients.”

So, who's right: Doctors or Heidi Montag?

Unfortunately, nothing is that cut and dry - liposuction may cause irregularities, but it's unlikely to be traditional cellulite. The short version: cellulite happens, whether or not you get lipo.


What do you think—are thousands of women worrying needlessly about getting cellulite in exchange for thinner thighs? Share your thoughts in the comments!


photo credit: hollywood life