FAQ: Realistic Liposuction Expectations
1. Does liposuction produce permanent results?
After liposuction, the new body’s shape is more or less permanent. If a patient does gain a moderate amount of weight after liposuction, then the figure will simply be a larger version of the new body shape. Fat cells that are removed by liposuction do not grow back. If the patient does not gain excessive amounts of weight, then the new more pleasing silhouette is permanent. Of course after liposuction, the clock keeps ticking, and advancing age will produce the usual changes in the shape of the body associated with the aging process. Nevertheless, the benefits of liposuction will always be apparent.
2. How much weight can I lose by liposuction?
Patients should not expect to lose a dramatic amount of weight with liposuction. However, because fat is removed from cosmetically important areas, liposuction should produce significant improvements in aesthetic appearance. Although liposuction should not be regarded as a method for weight loss, in appropriate patients it can produce significant cosmetic improvements.
3. Will the fat cells grow back after liposuction?
Liposuction removes fat cells permanently. The fat cells that are removed by liposuction can never come back, however, if the patient gains a significant amount of weight, then new fat cell can develop. With a small weight gain, existing fat cells simply get bigger by accumulating more fat within the existing cell. However, with an increase of more than 10% of body weight, one can expect new fat cell development in all areas of the body, including areas previously treated by liposuction. As an adult gains larger amounts of weight, increasing numbers of fat cells (lipocytes) are formed from existing pleuripotential connective tissue cells by a process of differentiation. Existing connective tissue cells first change into immature fat cells
(lipoblasts), and then develop into mature fat cells with progressive obesity.
4. What happens if I gain weight after liposuction?
The more weight a patient gains after liposuction, the less dramatic the results of liposuction will be. Ideally a patient should weigh less after liposuction by an amount equal to the weight of the removed fat. Thus, after 150 pound woman has two liposuction surgeries, where each surgery removes 4 pounds of fat (total of 8 pounds, equal one gallon), she should ideally keep her weight at or below 142 pounds. However, if she gains 8 pounds and thus weighs 150 pounds six months after liposuction, then the cosmetic results will still be pleasing but not optimal. And if she were to weigh 160 pounds after liposuction, then she would still look better than if she had not had liposuction, and her clothes might fit better, but her results would be less than ideal.
5. If I gain weight, does fat come back in the treated areas?
Fat usually does not come back in treated areas provided the patient does not gain a significant amount of weight after the surgery. If the patient gains a significant amount of weight, then fat can return to an area previously treated by liposuction. With increasing weight the degree of fat accumulation in a previously treated area is proportionately less than in untreated areas. After liposuction, relatively less fat accumulates in treated areas compared to untreated areas.
6. Where does the fat go when a person gains weight after liposuction?
If a patient gains a significant amount of weight, say more than 10 pounds (5 kg), after liposuction, then the fat must go somewhere on the body. In fact, the fat accumulates in all areas of the body in proportion to the amount of fat cells in each area. Areas where fat cells have been removed by liposuction will accumulate relatively little fat, while in areas not treated by liposuction relatively more fat will be deposited. For example, if a woman gains weight after liposuction of her hips, outer thighs, and abdomen, then proportionally more of the fat will be deposited elsewhere such as the woman’s breasts, face, back and legs.
7. If I do not gain weight, does fat come back in the treated areas?
If a patient does not gain weight after liposuction, then fat does not come back in the treated areas. However liposuction does not stop the aging process. It is natural for the size and location of the body’s fat deposits to change gradually with increasing age. Despite expected changes with aging, the results of a successful liposuction should always be apparent.
8. What can I expect if I get pregnant after liposuction?
Pregnancy does not permanently alter the results of liposuction. If a woman has liposuction and subsequently becomes pregnant, gains weight, gives birth and finally loses the excess weight of pregnancy, then her original liposuction improvements will return, just as if she had never been pregnant.
9. How much fat can be removed? How many pounds?
The maximum amount of fat that can be removed safely is probably about 6 to 8 pounds (3 to 4 liters). The greater the volume of fat removed on a single day the greater the risk of serious complications. If a patient requires removal of more than 6 to 8 pounds of fat, it is safest to divide the liposuction into separate surgical procedures each separated by 3 to 4 weeks.
10.How long will it be until I see results?
Most patients will see 90% of their ultimate liposuction results with in one to three months after surgery. For the first few weeks after surgery there is postoperative swelling. The rate at which this swelling subsides depends on the surgeon’s surgical technique and method for postoperative care. Ultrasonic assisted liposuction (UAL) is associated with prolonged postoperative swelling. When the surgeon’s operative technique uses adits (round holes) that are left open, instead of linear incisions closed with stitches, patients can expect to see 90 % of the ultimate results within four weeks. When the surgeon closes the incisions with stitches, swelling usually resolves within 8 to 12 weeks.
11. Will liposuction help cellulite (cottage-cheese like dimpling) or sagging skin?
No. Cellulite or sagging skin usually does not improve to a significant degree after liposuction. Liposuction improves the shape of the body, but does not significantly improve the quality of skin texture
12. Will liposuction improve the fat stomach I acquired after my last baby?
Yes. Liposuction typically provides excellent improvement of the abdomen after pregnancy. In fact, for the vast majority of patients, liposuction provides a better and more natural appearance than a tummy tuck.