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Dr. Mark X. Lowney fields a variety of questions from his New England liposuction patients. One of the questions frequently asked is how body fat behaves after liposuction — namely, does it redistribute to other areas of the body? In this blog post, Dr. Lowney clarifies how the body stores fat after liposuction. Then, our cosmetic surgeon explains how patients can maximize their liposuction results.
HOW FAT BEHAVES
First, understand that after adolescence, the number of fat cells in the body does not change. The fat cells increase and decrease in size based on changes in body weight.
Now, remember that liposuction involves removing some or all of the fat cells from a localized area of the body to permanently produce a slimmer and flatter contour. Once these fat cells have been removed from the problematic area(s), they do not grow back. They are gone forever. The body does not have the ability to regenerate fat cells.
What can happen is that after liposuction, the patient gains weight and any remaining fat cells in the treated area can fill up and become larger. Or, if there are no remaining fat cells in the treated area, the fat cells in other areas of the patient’s body enlarge.
This may give the impression that the fat has “shifted” to other areas of the body. However, the fat cells do not become bigger unless there is a fluctuation in body weight. If the body weight remains stable, the fat cells do not change in the treated area or otherwise.
MAINTAIN LIPOSUCTION RESULTS LONG-TERM
If you recently had liposuction or are considering it in the future, it is a good idea to understand how to maintain the results. You are making a big investment in your body’s appearance, and you want to protect and preserve the outcomes as long as possible.
The best thing you can do is to maintain a healthy body weight and avoid gaining weight. Eat nutritiously, practice portion control, exercise regularly, and stay active. Many patients find that their newly contoured physique is a motivation to exercise and eat healthfully. For some, removing large pockets of fat can make exercise more comfortable, too.