Liposuction and Unstable Weight

Hi, I'm 26 years old, with a BMI of 26. Weight often flucuates 50 pounds. I'm unhealthy and I'm trying to get back to 116 but still would have lovehandles. Given the instability, is liposuction right? And because of the likelihood that I'll lose a lot after surgery but gain it back, should I have surgery after weightloss or before? I've read if you gain much after lipo, fat appears in new places.

What happens if you drop alot after surgery? Do you lose the sculpting the doctor created? If not, isn't it sensible to get the lipo while you're still overweight as an insurance policy against future weight gain? Then would it come back funny or simply return to the form doctor created?


Doctor Answers 12

Liposuction and weight issues

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The answer to your complex question is simple. Only do the liposuction after you have lost the weight and kept it down for many months.

Liposuction is surgery and has risks and should only be done when it will be of significant benefit to you. If your weight fluctuates widely, liposuction has no value. The most unhappy liposuction patients are the ones who come in after surgery having gained weight wondering why their result isn't great. This is very frustrating for the patient and the surgeon. Don't be that person. If you know your lifestyle and eating habits are "unhealthy" then dedicate yourself to making them healthier!!

Weight loss and Liposuction

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You have asked an excellent question!

The final answer depends on your skin tone. If you have normal skin tone and elasticity, and the weight loss or gain is gradual, your skin will retract and expand with the weight change.

However, if you are going to spend several thousand dollars, why take any chances? My recommendation is to lose the weight you want first and then try to find a game plan to keep your weight stable. Once you have proven to yourself you can keep your weight relatively stable, have the procedure done.

Good Luck.

Michael A. Jazayeri, MD
Santa Ana Plastic Surgeon

You need stability for Liposuction

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Dear KWilliamson,

First and foremost you need to develop a plan achieve a healthy lifestyle and stable weight. Find a primary care physician to help you if necessary. Liposuction is not a weight loss solution! Liposuction is the last thing you should worry about at this time. GET HEALTHY!

Dr. ES

Liposuction and weight loss

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It is always better to have liposuction when your weight is stable. Yes, if you gain weight after liposuction it may appear in other areas. I would say have it when your weight is close to your goal weight.

Liposuction and Weight Loss

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The best thing to do is to make sure you are stable at your weight. What you dont want is to have the liposuction and then you gain weight and most likely the nice results that you have would have been jeopardized.

Good luck.

Love handles better after liposuction independent of weight.

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1)  As you can see, there is a lot of confusion on this topic.  Telling you that you need to have long term ideal weight before liposuction is just saying that you will not be helped by liposuction.  I don't agree.

2)  Here are a few facts.  After adolescence, the NUMBER of fat cells in the body is stable.  When you gain weight, the same number of fat cells get bigger.  And vice versa. 

3)   When a few million fat cells are removed with liposuction (in your love handles, for example), these fat cells do not grow back.  That's why the elimination of bulges and the improvement in shape are permanent regardless of weight.

4)  The most dramatic example I have seen is a young woman who has liposuction of the thighs to correct  "riding britches".  Then she gets pregnant and puts on 60 pounds.  Now she is really overweight, but the sides of her thighs remain flat.  No riding britches!

5)  Fat does not go elsewhere after liposuction.  This is a myth.  It's just that if you gain weight, it will be evenly distributed throughout your body and not go directly into your love handles.

6)  I agree absolutely that your long term situation is not healthy.  But liposuction should correct your love handles.  And I don't think it matters when in the cycle you do it, because about the same number of fat cells are removed (they  are just smaller if you are thinner).

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

Weight gain or loss before or after liposuction

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Achieve a stable and realistically maintainable weight and only then proceed with liposuciton to treat the problem or diet resistant areas. IF you undergo liposuction and gain the weight back you may be terribly disappointed, experience disproportionate fullness in certain areas, not to mention the expense.

Liposuction with fluctuating weight: advantages & limitations

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Liposuction should be considered as a contouring procedure, for example if your thighs bulge to the side at the top of the leg and we suction this area, the contour of the thigh will become straight instead of like an S. This allows for ongoing weight loss or gain with the new shape. In other words, your thigh circumference will increase or decrease with weight fluctuations but you will not regain the bulge.

One thing to think about is that the liposuction is a closed procedure and therefore the uniformity of the procedure is not as controlled as one would see from a procedure such as an abdominoplasty (all the skin and fat from below the belly button is removed and the remaining skin is draped downward so this flap is uniform in thickness), so with weight changes may make irregularities more obvious. Typically, this is not the case, but it is a risk since liposuction is done by palpation rather than visualization.

Most people find that any procedure that is done to help control areas of excess are very helpful in allowing them to continue to lose weight and control their weight. If you are a candidate for abdominoplasty, there is a much more impressive and visible improvement than you will see with liposuction.

The best thing would be for you to go for some consults and get some opinions by Board Certified Plastic Surgeons who can see what the quality and quantity of tissue and fat on your body. Once a doctor can see what your body is like, it will be possible for that doctor to explain their ideas on how to treat you to achieve your goals.

Remember, there are many ways to skin a cat, so several opinions are good and photos of the results of each procedure will be helpful to you in deciding which way to go. It really does not matter if you do the procedure before or after weight loss, although some doctors feel that the risks can be lessened when the weight is less. Best Wishes!

Kimberley Lloyd O'Sullivan, MD
Providence Plastic Surgeon

Yoyo weight and liposuction

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Your best bet is to get to the weight you want to be and stay there for one year. Once you have convinced yourself that you can stay at that weight consult a plastic surgeon about body contouring. All the concerns and questions you have are compounded by the lack of weight stability. It is much wiser for you to deal with the weight than to attempt any type of liposuctioning.


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You are honest to mention the swings in your weight, a rather substantial up and down of 50 pounds. Liposuction, as all surgical procedures, has some risks. Don't subject yourself to an elective cosmetic procedure if you can't protect your investment. Commit yourself to becoming healthier by watching your calories, eating the right food and exercising. You may wish to see a nutritionist, they can help set goals for you and make it easier to eat right. Then you'll be healthier and heal better after your liposuction and be more happy with the long lasting result.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 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.