Removing fat from the body sounds like a great way to lose weight, right? Liposuction treatments, in essence, can physically remove fat cells from the body permanently. Diet and exercise, on the other hand, will only shrink those same fat cells, leaving them there for future weight gain.
At least, that’s what many people believe.
The truth is liposuction is not the weight loss miracle that you might think it is.
What Is Liposuction?
Liposuction is typically performed on adult men and women who are near or at their ideal weight. Most often, it is used to eliminate unwanted pockets of fat that are resistant to healthy weight-loss techniques such as a healthy diet and regular exercise. Liposuction can help smooth out trouble spots and create a toned, well-contoured physique for each patient.
The liposuction procedure starts with the injection of a saline-based solution mixed with lidocaine and a small amount of adrenaline. This solution works at the treatment area to decrease the potential bruising and bleeding that may result from the procedure. Next, the plastic surgeon will perform the liposuction using one of two methods: suction-assisted lipectomy (SAL) or ultrasonic-assisted lipectomy (UAL). Either way, a tiny incision is made at the treatment area to allow the surgeon access to the unwanted fat cells.
In the SAL approach, a cannula or small tube is then inserted through the incision and manipulated back and forth to break apart the layer of fat. For UAL procedures, ultrasonic energy is used to liquefy these fat cells. In both cases, the fat is suctioned out through the cannula, never to return. The entire procedure lasts anywhere from one to five hours and can be performed under local or general anesthesia, depending on the extent of work that needs to be done.
Can Liposuction Boost Weight Loss?
It’s tempting to walk into a plastic surgery clinic and ask for all of your extra fat to be suctioned away, isn’t it? Yet, liposuction must be performed in a controlled manner, removing only small amounts of fat at a time to avoid complications. The body might not react well to losing so much fat at once, possibly going into shock after your treatment.
When you have liposuction performed, however, you may notice a slight dip in the numbers on your scale. It is normal to lose a few pounds initially following your surgery, but don’t get used to it. Many patients will experience a shift toward the weight where their bodies are the most comfortable. Typically, plastic surgeons will remove only about 6 to 8 pounds during the procedure. For patients requiring more than 6 to 8 pounds of fat to be removed, multiple procedures will be performed at carefully spaced intervals, usually within 3 to 4 weeks.
Are Results Permanent After Liposuction?
Just as that small amount of weight loss after liposuction isn’t permanent, your results won’t be permanent unless you take care of yourself. Many patients make the mistake of assuming that you cannot gain weight back—let alone get any bigger—once those fat cells are removed from the body. On the contrary, diet and exercise are as important as ever if you want to maintain your sleek new physique and avoid trying to lose weight all over again.
How Can You Gain Weight After Liposuction?
If your fat cells are removed during liposuction, then how is it possible to gain any weight after the procedure? While your missing fat cells are going to stay missing forever, the other cells in the area can swell to compensate for their loss. Overeating and inactivity will lead to the collection of fat in these other cells, which will stretch and grow to accommodate your lifestyle changes. After liposuction, you might be tempted to let your surgical work speak for itself. Maintaining the healthy habits that got you to your ideal weight is essential, now more than ever. After all, you don’t want to reverse all that work you paid for, do you?