Relation Between Liposuction and Loose Skin?

My research on this site tells me that aggressive lipo or removing too much fat can cause irregularities and loose skin and in order to prevent that some fat has to be left behind the skin.My question is why do bodybuilders not end up with loose skin when they go to super low fat levels and their muscle fibers get visible but still have nice and tight skin? How the natural fat cell depletion different from liposuction in terms of skin tightning?

Doctor Answers 7

Liposuction and loose skin

Thank you for your liposuction question. 

  • Liposuction removes fat. Nothing replace the fat so the skin is loose.
  • Skin gets loose after weight loss too. 
  • Skin elasticity varies. Some people's skin loosen worse than others' do. 
  • Body building replaces fat with muscle. Fat goes down, muscle goes up.
  • When  body builders stop building muscle, the muscle mass shrinks and their skin gets loose - or they replace muscle with fat - so skin is filled out. 
  • Hope this answers your question. Best wishes.

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Liposuction and loose skin - how to avoid

Liposuction will not tighten skin when it is significantly loose.  It won't, whether you lose a laser, a Vaser or a magic wand.  Rather, the balance between the skin and the contents of the skin must be balanced.

Large volume removal in patients with tight skin may work well, and if artistically done, results can be amazing.  But in exactly the same size patient who has had tissue looseness as a result of pregnancy, or from massive weight loss, the result can be... more loose skin.  In those cases, large amounts of hanging skin are best removed and, combined with liposuction, the results can be excellent and predictable result.

Some of the worst problems we see are from aggressive laser liposuction: large burns on the skin, a 'woody' appearance of the skin and multiple surface irregularities.  Where are the doctors now who caused such problems in their patients, promising them that their skin would be smooth and tight after the procedure?

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 178 reviews

Relation Between Liposuction and Loose Skin?

Comparing liposuction with losing fat through body building is illogical.  It is true that body builders lose so much fat, probably more than what can be removed with liposuction, but don't forget that they are replacing that fat with muscle, meaning that the skin not only does not lose the underlying support but it actually is provided with a more powerful support which is the strong muscles that are developed.

Ruben B. Abrams, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

The Effects of Liposuction On Skin

Liposuction removes fat in a traumatic and often irregular manner while natural weight loss does it evenly and over time. The skin has a much harder time shrinking back down when asked to do it very quickly and being injured at the same time. In addition most bodybuilders are young and never had much fat to start with which is quite different than almost all liposuction patients.

Barry L. Eppley, MD, DMD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Liposuction and loose skin

Yes, bodybuilders do not have loose skin most of the time but they do not start off with much body fat as well.  Skin laxity is multifactorial  depending upon genetics, weight changes, etc..

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Loose Skin

Loose Skin can occur after large volume liposuction but is rare with average 2 to 4 liter removal.   If you have excessive weight and have a large volume liposuction you risk some lose skin.  It is important to take the correct amount of fat and leave a layer on the skin to enhance smoothness.   This requires artistic thinking in depth on the part of the surgeon.  It is not the technology that counts,  it is surgeon excellence and artistry  .  Artistic experienced surgeons get great results with or without fancy technology.  Remember seek and find the artistic FACS-ABPS surgeon and forget the technology.   All that is needed are tiny cannulas and artistry.   Body builders can have loose skin problems but usually have very low fat %s of 7% to 11%.  If these people have a weight swing history they too will have loose skin.  Low body fat helps but no guarantee.  Of course, youth helps.  The external machines to tighten your skin do not work,  so do not waste you valuable money please.   It is a pity these machines have been turned loose by the FDA in my opinion.  So that is the story.  My Best,  Dr C

George Commons, MD
Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Relation Between Liposuction and Loose Skin?

      As a bodybuilder and a plastic surgeon who liposuctions 5 liters from each patient every day of the week, I can tell you that you can reduce the fatty layer to very thin layer without irregularity.  However, the postoperative care must be good and the patient needs to be attentive. Find a plastic surgeon with ELITE credentials who performs hundreds of liposuction procedures each year.  Then look at the plastic surgeon's website before and after photo galleries to get a sense of who can deliver the results.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 496 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.