Weight Loss Through Liposuction Better Than Dieting?

I have always gone to a gym religiously and always see many people fighting the fat battle. Are there any studies that show weight loss results are better when fat is simply removed (liposuction) vs. dieting? It's been my result and my observation of people with a weight problem almost always gain all and sometimes more weight back after dieting.

On the other hand, I keep hearing that people who have had liposuction will gain the fat back in different areas. Is this correct? I have not seen this from the people I know that had liposuction and am leaning towards it. Also, do blood values get better in some cases, just wondering?

Doctor Answers 12

Weight loss after Liposuction

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Liposuction is a contouring procedure not a means of losing weight. It is really designed to improve those difficult areas you can not improve with diet and exercise.  Generally with liposuction you will lose 2-5 lbs. The results in these areas will not change unless you gain 10 to 20 pounds. 

Buffalo Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Liposuction is a great motivator for patients to lose weight and increase exercise

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Your observations are true. People who have had liposuction tend to be more motivated to continue dieting and exercising to keep their great shape rather than the patients who give up on the dieting and exercising because they don't see significant change. Everyone needs motivation somewhere along the line in their trek to look and feel better. Liposuction is perfect for that. You won't lose much weight at all with lipo but you will in the long term since you will be motivated to continue the dieting and exercising and more apt to keep it up. The $5000 you spend for a typical lipo is so worth it.

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Sorry, liposuction is NOT for weight loss

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Liposuction is a real surgical operation, not just a procedure. It can have rare but life threatening complications that should never be overlooked. It is not appropriate to expose an overweight person to these risks trying to lose weight this way. Liposuction should be better used for contouring after weight loss has occurred.

If you can't lose weight otherwise, have a consultation for a lap band or a gastric bypass.

Liposuction is NOT a weight loss procedure

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

In most states, the maximum amount a surgeon can remove with liposuction is ONLY 11 pounds. Therefore, liposuction is NOT a weight reduction procedure.

Are there any studies that show weight loss results are better when fat is simply removed (liposuction) vs. dieting? - NO

I keep hearing that people who have had liposuction will gain the fat back in different areas. Is this correct? - Liposuction is NOT a GET OUT OF JAIL CARD or ALL YOU CAN EAT GO AND PIG OUT CARD. By definition, the plastic surgeon SCULPTS the patient (taking some fat out but leaving other). If you decide, as many people do, that having had liposuction gave you implicit permission to over-eat, the remaining fat in the body will definitely show you how well it can fill up and swell. THAT is the picture you described.

Liposuction should be done to remove localized fat deposits. If diet does not help you lose weight, you may benefit from weight loss surgery.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Liposuction and weight loss.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Thank you for your question. I generally view liposuction as a means to contour the body. If you are very stable in your weight and specific areas of concern, then liposuction can help you work towards your goal. A consultation/exam would be needed to provide more specifics. On the other hand, if you are looking for liposuction to provide you with weight loss, then this is the wrong reason. Although you may drop a few pounds with liposuction, you can do this much more effectively through a medically managed weight program. In our practice, we do offer pre-surgical weight management options to help our patients achieve a stable and goal weight before embarking on their surgical body contouring goals. It allow for a better and safer overall outcome.

Liposuction is not a replacement for dieting

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Although liposuction provides immediate improvement in volume reduction, and this may give you the motivation to continue to lose weight with exercise and diet, it is a bad idea to do liposuction if you are not already watching your caloric intake and the food groups you consume as well as being involved in an exercise regimen. If you only have liposuction, you are destined to put the weight right back on.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Weight loss through liposuction? Not a great idea.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Liposuction should be considered a way to sculpt the body and smooth out problem areas that have always been heavy even when you are at good weight for your health and body. In general, if you eat more calories than you burn up you will build your fat stores and this will continue to be the case after liposuction too. You are correct also that you will start to store fat in areas other than the spots where you have had liposuction, and this can often be in bad places like inside the abdomen.

It is best not to consider liposuction a weight loss procedure.

Elizabeth Slass Lee, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Liposuction vs Dieting

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Absolutely not. Liposuction is not weight reduction and those whose choose this route will be disappointed. It is not too uncommon for me to turn patients away for liposuction because their intentions and expectations will not be met because there are looking for a weight loss program.

Areas that are liposuctioned can still and will gain weight and fat if weight gain occurs after the surgery. It is a lifestyle change that is needed not liposuction. Most patients that are happy after liposuction are those that are at their or close to their ideal body weight who undergo the procedure.

Good luck.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

Liposuction and Weight Loss

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Liposuction is NOT a method of weight loss. There is only one method of losing weight, and that is changing the quantity and quality of what you eat. Even with “stomach stapling” operations, you have to change your eating habits. Some clinics are using liposuction as a part of an overall weight loss program experimentally, but, even in these, changing dietary habits is the key. The main reason you need something other than liposuction is that the most dangerous fat is that around your gut. This is below the abdominal muscles and where we cannot suction it. The reason that diets do not work is that you try to go from one habit to a markedly different one. After a while, you simply revert to your previously eating habits. We have found that the best way to change your habits is to do so gradually. This means changing only one or two things a little each shopping trip and each meal. By doing this, you gradually change your habits. Once your habit is to eat less and better quality, you do not revert. I am a southerner, and getting sugar out of my tea took 2 months. I simply took a little out every day or so. That way I did not miss it. Once I got used to non-sweet tea, I could not go back to sugar in it. (By the way, you do not want to use sugar substitutes, as they maintain your taste for sweet things. What you want to do is take the sugar out of everything you eat. That way, if you are away from home and get something sweet, you will only eat a small bit of it, instead of the whole thing.) The books I suggest to my patients are The Zone, A Dietary Road Map, Barry Sears, Ph.D., Regan Books, 1995 and You on a Diet, Michael F. Roizen, MD & Mehmet C. Oz MD.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon

Liposuctioning for weight loss

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Liposuctioning has traditionally not been used for "weight loss" per say. You can and do lose some weight but it is primarily for removing fat to improve the shape. I am not aware of studies done to show whether liposuctioning fat loss is longer lasting than diet and exercise weight loss but it certainly would be interesting to examine that concept.

John P. Stratis, MD
Harrisburg Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 37 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.