Many people who have liposuction for body-contouring wonder how long the results will last. Can they expect to enjoy their new bodies for years? Or is this a “quick fix” that will soon be gone?
To understand the answer, it’s important to know a bit about fat. People are born with all of the fat cells that they’ll ever have. These cells don’t divide to make new fat cells, like most cells in the body do. That means that when fat cells are removed, they’re gone for good. No new fat cells will be formed in the area where liposuction was done.
However, that’s not the whole story. Each fat cell contains a certain amount of fat, but that amount can change, meaning that the fat cells can change in size. When you gain weight, your fat cells get larger, and when you lose weight, they get smaller. Although the number of fat cells in the area that had liposuction will be reduced, there will still be some fat cells there. If you gain weight after having the procedure, those fat cells can get larger just like those in other areas.
If you do gain weight after liposuction, you’ll likely notice that the distribution of fat will be different than it was before you had the procedure. People generally notice that there’s proportionally less weight gain in the area where they had the procedure. This means that there will be proportionally a bit more in other areas. The shape of the body will remain changed, even if you lose or gain weight.
According to Dr. A.M. Yenikomshian, a board-certified plastic surgeon with over thirty years of experience who practices at The Center for Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery in San Jose, “liposuction is not a weight loss surgery.” Only a few pounds of fat will be removed during the procedure. Instead, he says, liposuction “is a body contouring procedure, meaning that the goal of liposuction is to sculpt the body in order to create a more pleasing shape.” Dr. Yenikomshian states that, in order to be a good candidate for liposuction, a person should be within 25 pounds of their ideal body weight.
Liposuction doesn’t provide a permanent guarantee that there will never again be fat in the treated area. It does change your body contours, so you can have a more pleasing shape even if you do gain weight. The best way to maintain the results of your liposuction is to exercise and eat a healthy diet. This will help to control your weight, so that you can keep your new shape for years to come.