Is Liposuction Permanent?

Perhaps you’ve been thinking about it for a long time, or maybe you just decided you want to do it. Maybe your dedication to a healthy lifestyle with frequent trips to the gym and a balanced diet aren’t translating into the changes in your appearance that you’d like to see. Or maybe you’re looking for a jumpstart for a special event. Regardless of how you’ve arrived at the decision, you’re here. You want liposuction. But before you move forward, you would like to know if the change you are about to make is permanent.

This is a question I’m asked during nearly every liposuction consultation, and for good reason. With so many “quick fixes” available, and with the results of liposuction being as stunning as they are, it is appropriate to question the longevity of the changes that are achieved. The short answer is that yes, the results of liposuction are, indeed, permanent. The long answer is a little bit more complicated, but still the news is good news. I’ll explain below.

Your body needs fat cells. Fat is an essential form of energy storage for your body, and fat cells, or adipocytes, are where your body keeps fat. Fat cells are capable of shrinking and expanding. In fact, for the most part, your body does not make or lose fat cells when you gain and lose weight; your fat cells get bigger and smaller. With liposuction, a portion of the fat cells in the treatment area is permanently removed. So, if you maintain approximately the same ratio of exercise and calorie intake after your liposuction procedure as before your liposuction procedure, the treated area will maintain its new, improved contour.

Since your body will still have to store fat somewhere, it will store the fat in areas that were not treated with liposuction to compensate for the fat cells that were lost with liposuction. This leads to the common concern that if someone has liposuction of his or her abdomen, he or she may notice dramatic fat redistribution to other body areas. This is very rarely a cause for concern, as the body has a tremendous number of potential fat cells in which to store fat, and it is very unlikely that it will do so in a concentrated, unflattering way. I have actually never had a patient mention this as a problem after liposuction.

The long answer, then, is that liposuction is permanent as long as you maintain a relatively consistent regimen of diet and exercise from the preoperative to the postoperative period. If you do gain significant weight after having liposuction, you will notice less fat accumulation in areas that have been treated with liposuction since there are fewer fat cells remaining in these areas to store fat.

I hope this answers the question at hand. To ask other questions, and to participate in a larger conversation about all topics plastic surgery, please join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/askaps.

Author
Office of Darren M. Smith, MD

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