Weight Loss and Liposuction: What to Expect
With any surgical procedure, it’s natural for patients to have questions and concerns. When it comes to elective cosmetic procedures for the body, those concerns usually revolve around results. One of the most common questions people considering liposuction ask Dr. Franckle: How much weight will I lose from this procedure? Both women and men are curious about weight loss from liposuction as well as how long the results will last.
Results to Expect From Liposuction
It has been clinically researched and confirmed that fat cells removed during a liposuction cannot return, since the entire cell is extracted from the body. As long as the patient maintains a healthy diet and lifestyle following the surgery, the weight loss directly related to the amount of fat extracted during liposuction will remain steady.
Should a patient experience slight to modest weight gain post-surgery (i.e., less than 10 lbs.), the aesthetic improvements to his or her shape from the liposuction will remain apparent. Any new fat cells the body generates, due to weight gain, will proportionally accumulate, mainly in those areas of the body that were not treated with liposuction. If post-surgery weight gain is significant and sustained, the body will produce and distribute more new fat cells—thus, more change will be apparent overall. The cosmetic improvements from liposuction will still be there, but they will be less noticeable.
Also, because liposuction cannot stop time, it is important to anticipate the ‘effects of gravity’ on the body due to aging. The location and distribution of fat deposits on the body may change naturally with age. Nevertheless, the results of liposuction post-procedure will last on patients who care well for their bodies and themselves.
Weight Loss Is a Secondary Benefit
As for just how much weight one can expect to lose—liposuction is in fact not intended as a weight-loss procedure, unlike gastric bypass and stomach stapling procedures. The objectives of liposuction are cosmetic. While a midsection liposuction can reduce waist measurement, removing fat from target areas is done to enhance appearance, and not to reduce size. Nevertheless, a secondary benefit of liposuction is weight loss equivalent to the amount of fat permanently extracted from the body.
For medical safety and optimal results, it is suggested that only up to about 8 pounds of fat per session should be extracted. Larger-volume liposuctions should be spaced out over multiple sessions with three to four weeks of healing time in between procedures.
For case-specific answers about liposuction and weight loss, contact board-certified plastic surgeon William Franckle, MD, FACS at Premier Plastic Surgery Arts. Dr. Frackle offers consultations using 3D imaging that takes actual patient photos and alters them to visually demonstrate potential results.