Weigh loss after lipo

Hello, I had lipo of my abdomen and thighs. The doctor said he took off approximately 5 liters of fat and that I should expect approximately a 10 lb weight loss. I am 3 weeks post op but only down 4 lbs. I have been eating well, started back at the gym, my swelling is down considerably. When should I see the scale move down? Have I already gained back this weight?

Doctor Answers 5

Which pounds you lose

Liposuction isn't so much about how many pounds you lose, it's about WHICH pounds you lose.  If you lost 10 lb through diet and exercise, it wouldn't have all come off your abdomen and thighs - a lot of it would have your breasts and other areas you weren't so interested in losing.  When all of the swelling is gone, you'll probably look like you lost a lot more than just 10lb, because it all came off your trouble areas.  After liposuction, it takes a long time (up to 6 months) for the swelling to fully resolve.  The improvement in your proportions (as seen in your pants size) is usually noticeable within a few weeks, but it takes much longer for it to show up on the scale.  You probably already know that water is heavier than fat.  During the first few weeks, it is not unusual to actually weigh more than you did before surgery due to the water weight from the swelling.  Continue eating well and exercising so you don't gain fat while recovering, but don't get too worried about the numbers on the scale this early after surgery.

Liposuction and Weight Loss

The amount of fat removed doesn't correlate with weight loss.  Many people do not lose any weight but have better contour and shape. I suggest continued effort in the gym and you will see an improved result as the time goes on.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 166 reviews

Liposuction and weight loss

Liposuction should never be seen as a weight-loss procedure. In fact I rarely ever discuss any even potential weight loss with high-volume liposuction. Even with aggressive liposuction such as when taking off 5 L of fat patients are often disappointed if they expect to see weight loss such as 10 pounds. Swelling persists for many months after the procedure so patients often don't appreciate any substantial weight loss. That is also an off time for someone's wait to slowly fluctuate one way or the other since many people try to change their behavior patterns after cosmetic surgery. Often the body is predetermined to be at a certain weight based on each individual's lifestyle and the wait will often and graduate back to the baseline regardless of having had liposuction. The goal of liposuction should always be shape and contour improvements and not weight loss. That said look in the mirror and not on the scale. Best, Mats Hagstrom M.D.

Mats Hagstrom, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

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Liposuction - where is the weight loss

Thank you for asking about your liposuction.
  • Your surgeon is correct - 5 L of liposuction will be 5 - 10 pounds of fat removed.
  • However swelling will replace the fat and the weight, so you will not see weight loss.
  • And unless you eat less and exercise more, you will eat back the removed fat by the time the swelling is gone.
  • Liposuction will change your contour - alone, it does not lead to weight loss for the reasons above.
Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Liposuction expectations

We generally shy away from promising a patient weight loss on the scale after liposuction. That is not the goal. The goal is improved shape and contour. You may indeed lose that much weight, but you should not judge the outcome for a minimum of three months. Oftentimes, I find that the improved shape generated with liposuction leads to improved fitness and diet, and that's when you may see greater weight changes as measured on the scale. Hang in there. Best wishes.

Paul J. Leahy, MD
Leawood Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 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.