How Does Liposuction Affect Weight Loss?

Let me preface this by stating that I know liposuction is not for weight loss. That being said, I am about 20 lbs away from my target weight, and I carry a disproportionate amount of weight in my midsetion. This causes difficulty in finding clothes that fit. My breast/hips are one size and my waist is 1-2 sizes higher. So I'd like to get lipo around my waist and abs now. As I continue to diet and exercise, how do treated versus non-treated areas behave? If I do Vaser or Smartlipo would those area behave differently?

Doctor Answers 12

Timiong and longevity of liposuction

Your question implies a two part concern. First is the question of timing of liposuction. Liposuction is merely a method of removing fat through a small incision and is used for body-contouring. The best time to perform body-contouring is when you are at your healthiest, most stable lifestyle Your weight is less important although it should be relatively stable. If you are continuing to lose weight, doing body-contouring may be like trying to hit a moving target although each person will lose weight and experience changes in contour differently in different areas of the bosy so some judgment is required regarding a specific area. Most of the time, problem areas will persist and become more well-defined as one loses weight from more metabolically normal fat. if you proceed with doing liposuction in areas that are still shrinking, your end result might not be as predictable and your surgeon may be more prone to under-suctioning (because he is expecting more weight loss) or over-suctioning ( because he may decide to suction areas that will eventually shrink further).

The second part is what happens to the areas suctioned and areas not suctioned. Assuming your weight and lifestyle is stable, the contour should remain relatively stable. However, there is still fat cells remaining in your body, some 'normal' amd some 'abnormal'. There are cases of redistribution of contour due to enlargement of remaining fat cells. In layman's terms, your body may be "used" to a certain fat level Having lost fat when you lose weight, yout fat cells might 'crave' fat and thus reianing fat cell increase in size (thus reports of patient's breasts enlarging after suctioning her abdomen). This is very unpredictable. If you gain weight and increase fat content, then your remaining fat cells will enlarge but the population of cells in the suctioned areas will be less.

Bottom line: Do surgery when yourhave achieved your most healthy and stable lifestyle and maintain that lifestyle and weight as much as possible.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Liposuction and weight loss

As the othe m.d.s have said , liposuction is not for weight  loss, but rather  a body sculpting  technique  to restore the feminine 'hourglass" . This can have a pronounced benificial effect on the areas you seem to have trouble  with.

Barry H. Dolich, MD (Retired)
Bronx Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

LIposuction and weight loss.

Thank you for your question. I generally view liposuction as a means to contour the body. If you are very stable in your weight and specific areas of concern, then liposuction can help you work towards your goal. A consultation/exam would be needed to provide more specifics. On the other hand, if you are looking for liposuction to provide you with weight loss, then this is the wrong reason. Although you may drop a few pounds with liposuction, you can do this much more effectively through a medically managed weight program. In our practice, we do offer pre-surgical weight management options to help our patients achieve a stable and goal weight before embarking on their surgical body contouring goals. It allow for a better and safer overall outcome.


Dear Goddesscomplex

Thank you for your question. You may have some weght change with liposuction depending on the volume removed. Also, the area that you desire for change is excellent as long as the skin quality is good. There is no device on the market that has demonstrated skin tightening through ultrasound, laser or RF that is combined with liposuction. With weight gain after surgery, you will generally gain the weight in the areas of the body that you normally gain fat.

In addition to the liposcution, you can add volume to the buttocks - Brazillian Butt Lift - you may use the fat that is removed - to inject into the buttocks to add shape.

Wtih Warmest Regards,

Trevor M Born MD

Trevor M. Born, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 107 reviews

Liposuction is not a weight loss procedure!!

Even when we do a maximum liposuction of 5,000 ml of fat, patients do not experience significant weight loss. The primary goal is body contouring and treatment of disproportionate fat distribution.

The waist and abdomen areas are very easy to reduce by liposuction. If you continue to diet, exercise and lose weight, the surgical result will be enhanced. If you gain weight, it will be more proportionately distributed around the body.

For most patients, good surgical technique and an experienced surgeon are more important than high tech gadgetry. Good surgeons in the 1980's produced fabulous results without the aide of Vaser and SmartLipo. The newest technology will not make an inexperinced doctor into a skillful surgeon.

I used multiple ultrasonic techniques in the 90's and found that they only added to the patient cost and did not improve results.

SmartLipo does have a role in improving skin laxity and treating patients who have loose skin.

Richard L. Dolsky, MD (retired)
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Weight loss and liposuction

Yes, liposuction is not the answer for weight loss. It is however good for contouring.   If you loose weight after liposuction, most likely it won't come off  in the same proportion as before. That is,the problem areas that were treated probably won't lose as much as some other areas.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Liposuction for Contouring

You are absolutely right, liposuction is not a method of weight loss. What it will do is to contour your body or your mid section. If you lose weight later, there is the possibility of having loose skin long term. Now it does depend on how much weight you will lose.

It does not matter if you use vaser or smart lipo. They are merely different methods of doing the same thing, which is removing fat.

Good luck.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Weight Loss and Liposuction

I'm glad you stated that liposuction is not for weight loss. However, that doesn't mean that you won't lose weight in addition to the weight lost in surgery. I have found that in motivated patients, those who already exercise and eat a healthy diet, the weight loss after surgery can be substantial. This is because patients see the initial results and want to maintain them or improve on them. I have had patients lose over 20lbs. after surgery. In addition I think the loss of the fatty tissue "jump starts" the body's metabolism making additional fat loss easier.

Amount of weight loss with liposuction and effect on

Generally many surgeons tend to limit the upper amounts of fat removal to 5 liters.That equates to roughly 10 pounds of fat. In reality, that would be alot to remove from one area and would likely result in skin laxity. On average, I would estimate that most surgeons remove an average of 2 liters from the abdominal area (approximately 4 pounds of fat).

If your weight remained stable subsequent to surgery, the treated versus untreated would remain unchanged. With small fluctuations in weight you would likely preferentially put on weight in untreated areas whereas with greater volumes of weight gain (10-15% or more) you would put fat on everywhere.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Liposuction has no bearing on body weight

Dear Godesscomplex

No one loses weight with liposuction. Liposuction is for sculpting the body to permanently reduced undesirable fullness due to how the body tends to store fat locally. Great examples of this are love handles on men or so called saddle bags on the outer thighs of women.

How the fat is removed by laser assisted liposuction, ultrasound assisted liposuction, or pure tumescent liposuction, the results are very much the same. The risk of having surgery is certainly increased by having too much surgery at one time and by having these procedures done under general anesthesia versus having work done using local anesthesia.

Regarding your concerns, it is certainly possible that liposuction might improve your midsection but ultimately it will have absolutely no effect on the extra 20 pounds you are looking to lose.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Los Angeles Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

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.