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

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

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
4.7 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

You need stability for Liposuction

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

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.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Liposuction and Weight Loss

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.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

Love handles better after liposuction independent of weight.


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
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Weight gain or loss before or after liposuction

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.

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

Yoyo weight and liposuction

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.

John P. Stratis, MD
Harrisburg Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 31 reviews


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 37 reviews

Timing of body contouring

The ideal time is when you have achieved a healthy, stable lifestyle. It sounds as if this does not apply to you since you are neither healthy, from your own assessment, nor stable, from your history of wide fluctuations in your weight. I usually recommend that patient focus on the lifestyle and not the weight since people can be at widely different weights depending on their body type and genetics.

Perhaps you need to forget about a target weight and find out why your lifestyle (diet, activity level, exercise routine, habits, etc.) are so inconsistent.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 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.