A ^Retired Plastic Surgeon's Notebook

The mathmatics (arthmetic really) of body contouring surgery.

Seattle plastic surgeon blogs about the arithmetic of body contouring surgery.

Okay, here’s a question I get all the time from my body contouring patients:  “Will the fat come back?”  And my answer is always:  “New fat will accumulate if you gain weight after surgery and I cannot predict where the new fat will go but I can almost guarantee it won’t go where you want it to go!”. 

And then I review a little simple arithmetic with them.  For example:

  • Their preoperative weight is 146 pounds.
  • I removed a total of 7 pounds of fat with liposuction and a tummy tuck.
  • Their new preoperative weight is 139 because I removed 7 pounds of fat with surgery.
  • If they come back three months later at 146, unless they have been weight training like a fiend, they have gained 7 pounds of fat.
  • 146 – 7 + 139 and 139 + 7 = 146.

And then I tell them my story of a patient I did liposuction on over 15 years ago.  She was a very fit and lean distance runner who had some stubborn fat on her lateral thighs (so-called saddle bags).  I did liposuction on her and she had a great result.  She can back a couple of years later having gained about 30 pounds after some personal issues including a knee injury that precluded her running.  She had the weirdest shaped thighs.  She had caved-in  lateral thighs where the fatty layer remained thin when the surrounding area’s fat pad had increased in thickness.  Yikes!   All I could tell her was that is she got back down to her healthy weight it would get better and in fact she did and it did. 

So this is why liposuction is about shape and spot reduction.  It is not about weight loss!


Category: Body Contouring, Liposuction, Obesity, Tummy Tuck

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