Redistribution of Fat After Liposuction?

If you store fat predominately in your abdomen, butt, and thighs and you get your entire abdomen and back liposuctioned, does that mean that if you gain weight again most of the new weight gain will go to your thighs and butt since new fat cells don't develop in the abdomen?

Doctor Answers 3

Do you bulge somewhere else after liposuction?

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Fat cells are fixed in number. If you gain weight they get larger. If you lose weight they get smaller. If you get liposuction then some of your fat cells are actually removed - permanently. Now if you gain weight there are fewer fat cells in that area to respond to the weight gain, but there are some fat cells there. Remaining fat cells there and in other parts of the body will get larger in the normal way. It is best to not gain weight.

Stockton Plastic Surgeon

Redistribution of fat after liposuction

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You've got it in a nutshell. Basically, we are born with all the fat cells we will ever have. As we gain weight, our fat cells each get larger, and as we lose weight, they get smaller. If you hold weight in your abdomen and have liposuction there, you will reduce the number of cells in that area that can grow larger with weight gain. You will instead put on weight elsewhere if you are taking in more calories than you burn. This is one of the reasons that it is my opinion that liposuction should not be viewed as a weight loss procedure, but rather as a sculpting procedure. If you have always had a fat tummy even when your weight has been appropriate, liposuction can help you reshape that problem area. If you are too round all around, treating one area will tend to make the other, non treated areas larger as you continue to gain weight. Be healthy, control your weight before having liposuction and then use the procedure to sculpt those areas that still bother you.

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

Weight gain following liposuction can lead to some recurrence of fat

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Hi “Beauty in Ca”

Dr Lee has provided an excellent response to your question. One comment that I would add is that since not all of the fat cells are removed from the areas treated, this does not mean that you will not have any increase in these areas if you were to gain weight. I have had patients return years after liposuction who have gradually become substantially heavier. The treated areas do have some increase in fat but generally not the disproportionate fullness that was present prior to the procedure.

If you don’t mind, I’ll add one final concept. Our goal in liposuction is to remove disproportionate deposits of fat from the body to achieve a balanced attractive contour. Under ideal conditions, if one were to gain weight, the fat would be added proportionately throughout the body and the contours are maintained. Unfortunately this is not always the case and occasionally patients will develop areas of fullness they dislike and return for additional treatment. Naturally the best course of action in this situation is simply to lose the newly added weight or to not gain weight post surgery.

I hope this of some help to your understanding of liposuction. Good luck and best wishes to you.

Wayne I. Yamahata, MD
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 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.