Does Cellulite Always Get Worse After Liposuction?

my understanding is that a liposuction side effect is cellulite. how common is it? 100% of the time, 1%?

Doctor Answers 11

Cellulite should not be worse after liposuction

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Liposuction is a way to remove fat from problem areas. Until recently, we advised patients that whatever cellulite was present before liposuction would also be present after. Essentially, we would expect the cellulite to be no better and no worse after liposuction.

Our liposuction patients can now benefit from laser liposuction. We offer Smartlipo MPX, which tightens the skin at the same time as we remove the fat from problem areas.

There are alternative treatments geared specifically for cellulite. Over the years, Endermologie, VelaSmooth, VelaShape and other treatments have helped patients with cellulite.

Treatment of cellulite is an ongoing process as there is presently no one-time cure for cellulite.

Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Quality of Cellulite Sometimes Worse After Liposuction

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Preoperative obesity, cellulite, stretch marks, a history of constant weight change, or loose, sagging, inelastic skin, are problems which would tend toward poor results during a liposuction. In fact, these problems may be worsened by liposuction and may be best addressed by other procedures such as a leg or body lift (e.g. tummy tuck) for better results and outcomes. Basically, liposuction does not cause cellulite if performed correctly (in the right tissue plane and not removing excessive or uneven amounts), but the procedure may make existing cellulite more obvious or prominent.This is why the experience and talents of your plastic surgeon are so important.


Causes of Cellulite: Hormones, Genetics, and Caffeine

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Cellulite is a result of the fibrous septa in the subcutaneous layer of your skin. It is influenced by the percentage body fat, the resiliency of the skin, and the overall quality of the skin. It occurs most commonly in women as a result of several factors:

  • Genetics
  • Hormones
  • Caffeine

Generally, it cannot be eliminated with diet, exercise, or liposuction. Creams do not work on the condition. One of the treatments with clinical efficacy is from France and is known as Endermologie.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

The problem is not cellulite, it is contour irregularities

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By its very nature, liposuction almost always causes contour irregularities. The question is how noticeable these irregularities are to the eye. I describe it to patient as like trying to rake a sandbox smooth with a chopstick.

For example, it is a hard to suction a smooth surface smoother, but it is easy for a smooth surface to become less smooth with liposuction. For someone who already has irregularities from "cellulite", the risk of making things more irregular with liposuction alone is high. The chance of making it smoother, is small. Of course each patient and each area need to be assessed individually.

In rare circumstances where the irregularties pre-op are so great that the specific techniques of liposuction and lipoinjection are designed to correct the irregularities, then the irregularties may , and this is a guarded may, become less noticeable. This is mainly seen in secondary correction of post-liposuction contour irregularities.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

Hopefully you won't see it get any worse

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Although much effort has been spent on developing techniques to get rid of cellulite, none have been effective to any significant or consistent degree. What we generally try to do is to not create cellulite when it isn't already there and not make it worse when it is there. This is especially of concern when considering Smart liposuction. For years, plastic surgeons have known NOT to pass the liposuction cannula too close to the underside of the skin because it will cause rippling and contour deformities (cellulite). Now, Smart liposuction advocates that you can work right below the dermis layer of the skin and that this is actually a good thing because it will cause more skin shrinkage. Most Smart lipo is not done by plastic surgeons, and I have seen several very bad Smart lipo results in young people done by non-plastic surgeons who did the procedure too close to the skin not trained properly to stay away from this area.

Does Cellulite Always Get Worse After Liposuction

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  • Liposuction does not cause cellulite.

Cellulite is due to irregular and clumpy deposition of fat mostly in the thighs of females. The lumps are excess fat and the dents are tight bands extending from the skin down to deeper layers. The bands pull the skin down, similar to seams in the surface of mattresses.

Liposuction in cellulite has to be performer very conservatively, otherwise the dents may become deeper.

Ivan Thomas, MD (retired)
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon

Properly performed liposuction does not increase cellulite

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Liposuction performed by an experienced, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon does not increase cellulite.  Experience is extremely important.  Increased appearance of cellulite may result when a surgeon attempts to remove too much fat. 

Malcolm A. Lesavoy, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

Liposuction does not treat cellulite

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Liposuction is a safe, popular, and effective way to contour the body. Although liposuction is very effective in removing fat in the deep layers of the skin, it will not treat cellulite. Cellulite is caused in the superficial layer of the skin where liposuction does not reach.

Cellulite and liposuction

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It is difficult to predict what liposuction will do to cellulite. Sometimes the cellulite looks better, and sometimes it looks worse. I do not promise alot with cellulite for this reason.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Cellulite often gets better after liposuction.

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I know this not what you have heard, but it depends how one does the liposuction.  Superficial liposuction immediately followed by subdermal tunnelling often leads to improvement in cellulite.  If cellulite is worse afterwards, either you were not a good candidate, or it wasn't done right.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic 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.