Liposuction is one of the most popular and frequently-performed cosmetic procedures available today. In fact, over 200,000 liposuction procedures were performed throughout the U.S. in just one year: 2015 (the most recent year for which we have data).
Really, it’s no surprise. Liposuction is highly-effective, offers immediate results, and works on even the most stubborn fat. Men and women turn to it even when they’re healthy and fit because sometimes, it’s the only solution to those last few “vanity” pounds.
Still, one question often lingers in the minds of soon-to-be liposuction patients and those considering the procedure: “What if the fat returns afterward?”
Is it possible?
Fat Loss Permanence After Liposuction
First, it’s important to establish that liposuction does permanently remove fat from the body. Fat cells are literally suctioned away from the target area and discarded. In this way, patients see immediate results after their surgery, which become increasingly apparent as procedure-related swelling decreases.
Can the fat return over time? That’s another question, and the answer is: Technically, yes. But the good news is that you can usually prevent it.
Why Might Fat Return After Liposuction?
Generally speaking, fat will not return after liposuction if you are able to maintain the same weight you were right after liposuction. Here’s an example:
Let’s say you weighed 150 pounds before liposuction and had 7 pounds of fat removed during your surgery. This would have resulted in a net weight of 143 lbs. after surgery. If you’re able to maintain this weight (143 lbs.), you shouldn’t have to worry about regaining fat.
On the other hand, fat cells will return the more weight you gain. Even gaining four or five pounds can make fat return overall to the body. Keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean fat will directly reappear in the concentrated areas where you had liposuction. Rather, you’ll experience a general weight gain throughout your whole body as fat cell sizes increase.
If your weight gain is more significant (say, 10-15 lbs. of regained fat), you may see fat come back to the areas where you had liposuction.
Basically, you want to remember that when fat gain happens, it’s usually even throughout the whole body. Therefore, to a certain extent, you can maintain the overall shape results that you achieved with your liposuction even if you gain a few pounds. But the more you gain, the more fat will return to those stubborn trouble areas.
Lifestyle Tips for Keeping the Weight Off
As you can see, it is critical to maintain your post-surgery weight if you want to enjoy the results of your liposuction procedure for a long time. Here are some tips for leading a healthy lifestyle that will facilitate good weight maintenance.
1. Eat a well-balanced diet.
A healthy, fit body starts in the kitchen. We are going to go over the importance of physical activity later on, but first and foremost, it’s important to know that what you eat most directly affects your body shape, size, and overall weight.
A healthy diet is one that is full of vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains. Try to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet. Get rid of as many processed foods as you can, including chips, donuts, frozen dinners, candies, etc.
When it comes to liquids, drink more water! Sometimes, when you think you’re hungry and craving a snack, you’re really just thirsty. Always have a water bottle with you, and follow this general rule for water intake: Drink half your weight in ounces of water every day.
2. Stay active.
While your weight is most directly related to the foods you eat and how much you eat, your body shape and overall tone are more related to your physical activity.
You should get at least 15 minutes of physical activity into your schedule every day. This might be walking, jogging, riding your bike, swimming, or playing a sport. You can join a gym or an exercise class or even do some calisthenics or weight training in your garage or basement. More or less, it doesn’t matter how you move; it just matters that you move!
3. Weigh yourself daily.
There’s really only one way to know if you’re gaining weight: you have to weigh yourself. Every day, make it a rule that you get up and weigh yourself first thing.
We recommend weighing yourself first thing in the morning before breakfast and even your first cup of coffee because it’s consistent. You’ll probably be wearing the same type of clothes (or you can weigh yourself nude), and you won’t have eaten anything yet. Therefore, you will get an accurate reading for your daily weight.
Keep track of your weight on a calendar or in a notebook. This way, you’ll be able to see if you’re slowly inching up and can take action sooner rather than later.
4. Have a plan if you begin to gain.
Lastly, keep in mind that a few pounds of weight gain may occur. It’s possible you’ll wake up one morning, weigh yourself, and see a higher digit than you’re used to. When this happens (and it probably will at one point or another), have a plan.
Your plan should simply be to get back on track. Renew your efforts and start leading the healthy lifestyle you know you want. Don’t go on a crash diet. Don’t start a vigorous exercise routine that you won’t be able to maintain. Don’t compromise your health with diet pills or other unproven methods of weight loss. Simply go back to the basics.
Book Your Liposuction Consultation Appointment
When San Francisco residents consider liposuction, they turn to Dr. David Sieber for first-class attention and care. Dr. Sieber is one of the only double board-certified plastic surgeons in the San Francisco area and comes highly recommended by numerous satisfied patients.
If you have been thinking about liposuction, book your first consultation appointment with Dr. Sieber today to discuss your candidacy and options for treatment.