Why not use Liposuction for fat loss?

If liposuction permanently reduces the number of fat cells you have, why can't it be used as a means to lose weight? I imagine I would expect to at least lose a few pounds after having it done? Thank you!

Doctor Answers 6

Why doesn't liposuction work for weight loss

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Thank you for asking about your tummy tuck.

Liposuction permanently removes fat cells from specific areas of the body.
The body can store fat anywhere - so if you don't lose weight, fat cells in other areas store more fat than before.

Remember - liposuction changes contour.
It does not change the ability of the body to store fat except in the treated areas.

Always consult a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Hope you find this information helpful. Best wishes.


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Liposuction is a great option for body contouring, and our practice uses gold standard of liposuction, tumescent liposuction. Tumescent liposuction is scientifically proven to remove fat deposits from targeted areas of the body. It is important to discuss with your board-certified plastic surgeon what result you're looking for and how they will be able to achieve that through liposuction. Please keep in mind, we do not recommend liposuction to our patients as a weight loss tool, but rather a procedure to contour and sculpt targeted areas.

Brian Coan, MD, FACS
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Liposuction—Think of it as a tool

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Although many people think of liposuction as a fat removal procedure, it’s actually more accurately described as a body-shaping technique.  Candidates for liposuction are ideally within about 30% of their recommended body weight, since the procedure is not primarily used as a weight loss measure.  Instead, think of it as a tool. People who are already taking steps to ensure good health can use liposuction to further sculpt targeted areas of the body by removing disproportionate pockets of fullness. The best candidates for the procedure should have at least fairly good skin tone.  This ensures the skin will bounce back without excess sagging afterward.During your consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon, your doctor will show you how much fat you can have removed during liposuction.  A skilled and experienced surgeon will have your safety foremost in mind while creating natural looking contours to your body as the ultimate goal.

Camille Cash, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

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Contouring, not weight loss is what liposuction is for.

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Most people may lose 5-7 pounds with liposuction if not less.  Think of the expense, risk and time off from work to lose 5 pounds by surgery.  That is why it is not recommended as a weight loss treatment.

Below is a patient who had significant contour improvements with minimal change to her overall weight. 

Francisco Canales, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Weight loss and liposuction

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Liposuction is not used as a weight loss process even though in the long run you will likely lose a few pounds.  In general let's say you remove 3-4 liters of fat, that will only be 6.5-9 lbs at most.

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

Why not use lipo suction for weight loss?

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Liposuction is not designed as a weight loss tool . the purpose is to remove bulges of fat accumulation that are genetically and hormonally pre determined for each individual. the fat removed is "sculpted"to give the best shape not to remove bulk fat. yes, there is some weight reduction with liposuction but rarely over 6-8 pounds. most patients actually weigh more just after surgery because of fluid retention.

William Lambeth, MD (retired)
Raleigh-Durham 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.