Does Liposuction Cause Cellulite?

I wont get lipo if it means cottage cheese thighs afterwards. Should i be concerned about cellulite will result from lipo surgery?

Doctor Answers 29

Cellulite and Liposuction

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Thanks for the question -

Liposuction typically will not cause or treat cellulite.  It is possible that after significant volume changes (especially on the thighs) cellulite can become more prominent.

Unfortunately there is not a great permanent treatment for cellulite.

I hope this helps.

May make it better or worse

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The first big question to answer is what is cellulite? Who know! Okay but here's what we do know and some hypotheses that explain what happens during lipo.

Cellulite occurs much more frequently in women than in men. And in males with disorders that result in lack of male hormones and thus a relative increase in female hormones (we all have both kinds) it is more common. So we assume it has some thing to due with female hormones. Next it is more common in the more obese. Thus it is a fat issue. Finally, it's not uniform and this is due to fibrous septa.

There are many fibrous septa or tissues that connect the skin with the deeper tissues such as muscle. Between these septa is fat. As the fat cells get larger they push on the skin but the septa don't allow the skin to move where they are attached. Thus the lumpy bumpy appearance.

Liposuction may make the cellulite better by removing the fat. But at the same time you're passing the cannulas through the septa and thus scarring them down which shortens them. Therefore fat is removed but the septa are shortened and therefore minimal change in the appearance of cellulite is typical.

Causes of Cellulite on the Legs: Effective Treatment with Endermologie

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Cellulite has several causes, including:

  • Hormones
  • Genetics
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Abnormal fat deposits within fibrous septa

There is no cure for cellulite and it is not caused by liposuction. In fact, laser or ultrasound assisted liposuction may help improve the appearance of cellulite.

Endermologie, which is a technology developed in France, is effective in improving the appearance of cellulite. It is also therapeutic for contour irregularities and fat transfer nodules.

No, liposuction doesn't cause cellulite

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Liposuction does not cause cellulite. You can, however, get some irregularity of the skin depending upon your skin tone. If you already have some cellulite, it will not neccesarily get better with liposuction. If the skin tone is very lax, you may need a skin tightening procedure along with the lipo.

Liposuction but could result in what appears to be cellulite

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No, Liposuction does not cause cellulite but could result in what appears to be cellulite.

Cellulite is the dimpled skin look that is seen in women and results from a specific structural design of the female skin not found in men. One of the challenges we surgeons face with liposuction is in determining how evenly the fat has been removed.

There are no devices to measure how uniformly distributed the remaining fat is. Basically, the surgeon relies on on pinching and feeling the skin to tell if the remaining fat will yield a smooth skin surface after everything heals. As you might recognize this maneuver is highly subjective and relies on the the experience of the surgeon.

The surgeon's task is made even more difficult by swelling that develops during the surgery that might mask irregularties in fat removal. Even in experienced hands it is possible to leave or remove unequal amounts of fat. This then leads to irregularities in the form of dimples after surgery that mimic cellulite. Fortunately, these surface irregularities are relatively minor and can be corrected by revisionary surgery.

David A. Ross, MD (retired)
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

No. Cellulite is not caused by liposuction

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Liposuction does not cause cellulite - it is due to fibrous septae connections from the deeper tissue to there dermis and can be seen in both overweight and thin patients.  Liposuction is also not a treatment for cellulite.

Cellulite may look worse after Liposuction

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Liposuction does not cause cellulite but at times the appearance of cellulite may be worse after lipo. We combine Endermologie, Therapeutic Massage, and surgical liposuction (mainly using Vaser technology) for most all of our lipo patients to improve results and shorten recovery. We also have a nurse practitioner who works one on one with patients to help with metabolic issues.

Edmond A. Zingaro, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

Cellulite generally not treated by liposuction

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In many ways, cellulite is more related to the way the skin is attached to the muscle and not necessarily the fat.

That is why you can have an anorexic individual who is underweight, yet has cellulite on their thighs.

Some people believe it is related to the fluid that spreads among the fat cell layer and some of the more successful treatment modalities will target reducing the water content (Endermologie).

To answer your question, liposuction does not generally treat cellulite. When performed well, it does not usually make it better or worse. Somne techniques have been described that are performed simultaneously with liposuction ot minimize the appearance of cellulite but they have met with mixed success. These include special knives which cut the attachments of the skin to the muscle/fascia.

It is a complex problem which is not completely understood. I hope this helps to simplify and explain the condition.

Liposuction does not cause cellulite, but could make it worse.

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Liposuction does not cause cellulite, nor does it treat it. In some instances, liposuction could make cellulite appear a bit worse as it may leave the skin looking a bit more 'loose' if there is poor elasticity. Newer technologies, such as VelaShape are FDA approved devices using radiofrequency, deep suction massage and infrared laser to help improve the appearance of cellulite.

Sanjay Grover, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 232 reviews

It doesn't cause cellulite but can create contour abnormalities

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Cellulite is the dimpling of the skin that eliminates the smooth youthful look that people desire. Many efforts have been directed at treating cellulite including external efforts such as Endermology and various internal efforts including tissue release and fat grafting. None have been particularly successful unfortunately. If a patient is considering liposuction and already has cellulite, our efforts are to not make it worse. We also don't want to create contour irregularities from passing the cannula too close to the skin.

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.