Losing Weight Before or After Liposuction?

I had Liposuction of my arms, flanks, and abdomen two years ago. Loved the results except for slight ripples in my lower stomach. Fast forward to now. My eating and exercising habits have not changed that much and yet all the fat is back in the same places it was removed.

The new plastic surgeon says the first doctor didn't take enough fat out. He also advises me not to try to lose weight before I have the lipo this time. In contrast, my first doc says to lose the weight before the procedure. Your advice/thoughts?

Doctor Answers 6

Liposuction and Weight Issues

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Thank you for the question.

I recommend that patients be at their long-term “stable"  weight before and after liposuction surgery. This will allow the surgeon to treat the truly diet and exercise resistant areas and will prevent postoperative changes at that detract  from the results or require further surgery.

I hope this helps.

Achieve a weight you're comfortable maintaining before Lipo

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There is no correct answer to this. Liposuction is ideal for the patient who has achieved a stable weight with a balanced level of diet and exercise. Liposuction is ideal to contour certain areas of excess fatty deposits. It is not appropriate to try to remove every single fat cell with Liposuction as this will give an undesireable result.

Sanjay Grover, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 239 reviews

Lose only the weight you can keep off first

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Liposuction removes fat but not the ability to enlarge the fatty cells that are left. You shouldn't seek to have all fat cells removed as the appearance is not attractive. So as you see, this is a balancing act.

I advise my patients to get to a weight that they feel they can maintain before liposuction. People have a "resting" weight that their bodies tend to maintain given a stable diet and exercise program. Losing weight below this before surgery means you will likely gain weight afterward and change the result of your liposuction.

Liposuction is a contouring procedure and done in the right circumstances it tends to work. The doctor that says the first didn't remove enough is speaking out of ignorance unless he examined you before the first doctor operated. I don't know if I would trust him if I were you.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon

Don't lose weight.

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You don't sound like you have a weight problem. Most of our liposuction patients in New York City are near their normal or ideal weight.

It sounds like you have localized fat deposits which should respond nicely to well performed liposuction. The goal is for the amount of fat in your problem areas to be the same as in the rest of your body.

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

Lose the weight first

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This is a very common question. If you are planning to lose weight you should always do that prior to liposuction. But you need to be realistic. Will you kep that weight off? If not then it is better not to lose it before liposuctioning.

The bottom line is that the patient should be in a stable state. If you liposuction someone and they are on the way down with weight, you may have done some areas that would have lost fat on their own. If they wre on their way up you may end up not removing enough fat.

John P. Stratis, MD
Harrisburg Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Healthy stable lifestyle

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The most important thing is to be at your optimal healthy and stable lifestyle as far as your diet, exercise routine and activity level. Be as fit as you can possibly be. Everyone will have a different body appearance and metabolism. Weight is less of an issue. You shouldn't loss weight just to loss weight before your surgery, only to return to old habits that make your weight go up after. Likewise, you shouldn't neglect your lifestyle and habits if you are really not at your optimal lifestyle because you think liposuction is going to cure you. It won't. Look critically and honestly at your lifestyle. Also, remember that nothing, including surgical results, lasts forever.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills 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.