Seattle Plastic Surgeon answers common Liposuction FAQ: Where will the fat go if I gain weight?
This is one of the great plastic surgery mysteries because in any given patient, I cannot really predict where the fat will go if a patient gains weight after liposuction. I can say with confidence that it won’t likely go to the area(s) liposuctioned and it will likely go somewhere the patient does not want it.
So here’s the deal. Liposuction removes unwanted fat cells. Weight gain, at least short term weight gain, makes existing fat cells fatter. Soooo, if I remove, say, one half of the thickness of the fat pad of your lateral thighs and you gain weight, there are only half the previous fat cells in that area to get larger. So the area may get a little thicker but not as much as the surrounding areas where fat cells were not removed.
And the same goes for other types of body contouring like tummy tucks (a.k.a. abdominoplasty), body lifts and breast reduction. And this is why I am so adamant about patients having body or breast contouring when they are at a healthy and reasonable weight (did you notice I did not say ideal weight). And then after surgery, their healthy and reasonable weight is their pre-op weight minus the weight removed surgically. So if I removed 5 pounds doing a tummy tuck, my 145 pound patient should end up weighing (after recovery of course), 140 pounds. See this blog on the Arithmetic of Body Contouring. And see this blog on Predicting Patient Satisfaction after Body Contouring.
Thanks for reading! Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder