Understanding Liposuction and Its Effects on Weight Loss

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Liposuction is a popular cosmetic surgery procedure that involves the removal of excess fat from specific areas of the body. This procedure can help people achieve a slimmer and more proportional body shape. However, many people wonder if liposuction can actually help them lose weight. In this article, we will explore the benefits and limitations of liposuction with respect to weight loss.

What is Liposuction?

Liposuction, also known as lipoplasty or suction assisted lipectomy, is a minimally invasive procedure that removes excess fat from specific areas of the body. It is used to contour the abdomen, hips, thighs, chest, chin and other areas where diet and exercise alone have not been successful. Liposuction is not a treatment for obesity or a substitute for proper diet and exercise. It works best for people close to their goal weight who have stubborn excess fat deposits.Those with firm, elastic skin will achieve the best results. Skin that is soft or “stretchy” from weight loss, pregnancy, or aging may not reshape as well. Those with mild skin laxity may benefit from VASER or BodyTite in addition to liposuction, and those with more significant skin laxity might be best treated with a skin removal procedure like an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck).

How Does Liposuction Work?

There are just two steps in a basic liposuction procedure: instillation of a numbing fluid into the treatment area, and removal of the fat cells in the treatment area with a long, thin instrument called a cannula. Smaller liposuction procedures can be performed awake, under local anesthesia, while more extensive procedures are performed under “twilight” (conscious sedation) or full general anesthesia. Advanced technologies like VASER ultrasound or BodyTite radiofrequency skin tightening can be added as needed.

Can Liposuction Help You Lose Weight?

While liposuction can help remove stubborn fat deposits from specific areas of the body, it is not designed as a weight loss tool. Liposuction can help contour the body and improve its overall shape, but it does not have a significant impact on the total body weight. Liposuction itself will not directly lead to weight loss. This is because your body does not make and destroy fat cells in response to weight gain and weight loss (respectively). Instead, fat cells grow and shrink as necessary to accommodate more or less lipids. So, liposuction permanently removes fat cells from the treatment area. Your body’s remaining fat cells will slightly increase in size to accommodate necessary fat storage. This tends to not be noticeable, as liposuction removes fat from focussed areas and your body has vast reservoirs of fat cells available to account for excess lipid storage needs.

What Happens if You Gain Weight After Liposuction?

If you gain weight after liposuction, you will store fat in your body’s previous fat distribution pattern, but less so to the treatment area. For example, if you usually gain weight in your breasts or buttocks, and had liposuction of your abdomen, you will gain weight in your breasts or buttocks and less than you previously would have in your abdomen since there will be fewer fat cells available to store excess lipids. If, on the other hand, you usually gain weight in your abdomen, and you had liposuction of your abdomen, you will most likely evenly distribute excess fat throughout your body. Dr. Smith performs a great deal of liposuction procedures and has not seen uneven fat distribution be a problem for his patients.

What Happens if You Lose Weight After Liposuction?

If you lose weight after liposuction, similar to the situation with weight gain, you will lose weight as you normally would, except there would be a less dramatic change in the treatment area. This is because liposuction will have permanently removed the fat cells in the treatment area, so there is simply less fat there to lose with a decrease in weight. If liposuction has removed 75% of the fat in your abdominal region, for example, only 25% of the fat cells will remain here to be affected by weight loss.


While liposuction can help remove stubborn fat deposits and contour the body, it is not a weight loss solution. To achieve long-lasting results, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and make necessary adjustments to your diet and exercise habits. If you are considering liposuction, consult a skilled plastic surgeon like Darren Smith in New York City to discuss your goals and ensure you achieve the best possible results.