Liposuction has become a popular procedure among men and women worldwide.
In 2016, there was a 3% growth in the total number of cosmetic procedures in the US alone which brings that number to a massive 17.1 million cosmetic procedures performed in that year.
The research that was done by the ASPS (American Society of Plastic Surgeons) also indicated an increase in minimally-invasive procedures such as VASER liposuction – a surgical procedure that utilises small incisions and cannula to remove fat from the body.
With the increase in demand for liposuction, it is important for individuals to understand how liposuction works and the fundamental basics of the procedure.
Today’s post will cover a question that is often asked by many prospective patients:
How much weight can I lose with liposuction?
Understanding the purpose of liposuction
It is very important for patients to realise that although a certain amount of fat will be removed during liposuction surgery, it is not a weight loss procedure.
Instead, liposuction is a body contouring procedure that is designed to improve the appearance of your body by removing fat cells from specific areas of your body. Think of liposuction as a cosmetic procedure that aims to sculpt and improve your body shape based on your aesthetic goals.
Getting liposuction with the sole purpose of losing weight is not recommended. The ideal liposuction patient is someone who leads a healthy lifestyle and is close to their ideal body weight. Therefore if you are carrying excess weight in addition to stubborn fat deposits, you may not be a good candidate for the procedure and your surgeon may decline your request.
Usually, the amount of fat removed during each procedure is rarely more than 4-5 pounds. The total weight in excess fat cells that are suctioned from your body is not significant enough to cause a drastic change in your total body weight.
In some cases, the amount of body fat removed from your body can reach up to eight pounds but it is important to know that the risks of the surgery increases as more pounds of fat are removed from the body.
If a patient needs to remove more body fat than 4-5 pounds from multiple areas of the body, the surgery can be broken up into several sessions, each one scheduled at least one month apart.
The best way to determine if liposuction can help you achieve your goals is to have a consultation with your surgeon.
To reiterate, patients should not expect to lose a significant amount of weight from the procedure. Furthermore, skin conditions such as cellulite and poor elasticity may not be improved following liposuction treatment. Patients will be able to achieve a noticeable improvement in the shape and sculpting of their body. Liposuction can address problem areas such as love handles, abdomen, inner thighs, arms and other areas of the body to achieve cosmetic goals such as a flatter tummy or a slimmer waistline.
Can I gain weight after liposuction?
Liposuction permanently removes fat cells from the treatment area. Although the fat cells that are suctioned away during lipo will not regenerate, patients who gain a significant amount of weight after the procedure may see an increase in other parts of the body.
If a patient stays at his or her bodyweight after the procedure, the fat should not return. For example, if a patient’s body weight is 70kg after the liposuction procedure, it’s best for patients to maintains their body weight at 70kg.
If the change in body weight after the procedure is not significant (2-3kg), new fat cells in other parts of the body will not occur. If there is considerable change in body weight (>10kg), new fat cells can return to other parts of the body which can affect your liposcution results.
Keep in mind that fat cells are less likely to accumulate at the treated areas. So, if you were to gain weight after the procedure, the results of your liposuction surgery will still be visible.
The reasons for this is because the treatment areas where fat cells have been removed by liposuction will accumulate or store much less little fat, while areas not treated by liposuction can experience more fat deposits.
Minimising weight gain after liposuction and maintaining your results
Taking care of your body after the surgery is an important aspect of the liposuction procedure.
Weight gain immediately after the procedure is expected due to swelling and excess fluids, but your body weight (and results) should return to normal within 4-6 weeks.
The most important thing to do after your surgery is to ALWAYS wear your compression garments. These garments will be given to your by your surgeon to provide firm compression as well as draining fluids and the anesthetic solution from your body.
Failing to use the compression garments regularly or discontinuing their use too early can result in a longer recovery times as well as increase the risk of infection. You will need to wear your compression garments for at least a week to ensure maximum drainage.
You are also advised to do some light exercises after the operation. Casual jogs and strolls are sufficient enough; do not perform any heavy and intense exercises (heavy weights) for at least six weeks after the surgery.
You should also take care of your post-operative diet. In order to have the best results, it is essential to have a healthy diet which includes a good balance of carbohydrates, fruits, proteins and vegetables.
Overeating or yo-yo dieting can cause weight gain even after the liposuction surgery, so always make sure that your calorie intake is consistent and optimal. You should also avoid foods that are high in sodium content.
It is important to understand that while liposuction can help you to get rid of stubborn body fat, maintaining a healthy weight after your surgery is just as important as the procedure itself.