Will there always be weight gain in new areas after smart lipo?

I had Smart Lipo done on my inner and outer thighs a year ago, and while they look great, a bunch of fat has accumulated at my abdomen, where I've never had fat before. I work out and eat healthy and the fat there won't budge. It's driving me crazy because I feel pregnant all of the time. I am considering getting smart lipo again to fix that area, but will fat start accumulating somewhere else? I'm worried that it's a never ending cycle of lipo and new problem areas. Any thoughts?

Doctor Answers 7

Fat gain in new areas after Smart Lipo?

This is a very common question I get asked all the time, and this is what I tell my patients.  Fat cells do not have the ability to migrate to other parts of your body.  Also fat cells in various parts of the body are different physiologically.  The fat cells of your outer thighs for instance is very different than the fat cells of your abdomen and even different from the fat cells of your inner thighs.  Abdominal fat is much more sensitive to hormonal changes, for instance, and have been shown to store estrogen.  When most patients notice "fat moving to other areas" after liposuction or Smart Lipo, I explain to them that most likely they may be gaining weight all over.  Because the treated areas having now fewer fat cells don't grow as much, there is a perception that the fat went to the untreated areas.  If you are gaining weight in your abdomen only, it could be due to hormonal changes, cortisol (stress hormone), or water retention.  Certainly you could undergo Smart Lipo to address that area, and as long as you maintain your healthy habits and your weight, you really shouldn't be concerned about fat accumulation in other areas as a result.  Hope this helps and best of luck!

Fat Doesn't Move Around

This is a very common concern among people who undergo liposuction, as there seems to be an enduring myth about fat "moving around" after liposuction. Once fat cells are removed via liposuction, they're gone, and the body doesn't compensate by adding weight to other areas. Localized weight gain can be caused by a number of things, including hormonal fluctuations and stress. I don't believe your abdominal weight gain has anything to do with your Smartlipo procedure, and you may be a candidate for additional liposuction if other weight loss techniques don't work for you.

Kevin M. Johnson, MD, FACS
Spokane General Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Liposuction and Weight Loss/Gain

Liposuction is for fine contouring and shaping, there should be no significant weight change or alteration in your long term weight from the procedure if you follow a diet and exercise.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

Will there always be weight gain in new areas after smart lipo?

If you have maintained the same weight since your surgery then you may want to check with your primary care physician to determine if you're having any metabolic changes. Other issues such as increased stress and cortisal production increases result in abdominal fat gains. Otherwise, simple weight gain results in accumulation of fat in areas where fat cells reside, which now that fat cells are reduced in the thigh areas, will find another place to store fat.

Lipo reduces fat deposits. Eating too much causes your remaining fat deposits to swell.

Eat less calories than you burn and your shape should eventually go back to what it looked like right after your lipo. No cosmetic procedure makes you immune to weight gain. Fat only accumulates when you eat too much.

Weight gain after Liposuction

Smartlipo and liposuction in general is a shape changing procedure.  This means you may gain weight but it will go to different areas since the fat cells have been permanently removed from the treated areas.  

Fat in new Areas.

I agree with Dr. Truong.  I just wanted to add, that unlike most cells of the body, fat cells do not regenerate or grow new cells.  They just get bigger as they store more fat or lipids.
So when you have liposuction, fat cells are removed from one area of the body, and that area now has less places to store fat.  
So if one gains weight after liposuction, or tummy tuck, etc., that weight or fat has to go somewhere.  This gives the appearance of new areas getting fatter.
After any procedure, it is important to maintain a healthy weight. 
Hope this helps, and good luck.

Scott Powell, MD
Denton General Surgeon

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.