How Long Do Liposuction Results Last?

Medically Reviewed on 12/22/2022
Most people who undergo liposuction surgery are happy with the results.

A liposuction surgery provides permanent benefits and the fat removed after the treatment will not return. However, it is crucial that you do not gain more than 10 to 15 pounds after your liposuction treatment because any significant weight gain will reduce the body-sculpting advantages of liposuction.

If you gain substantial weight after a liposuction operation, you will most likely see fat deposition on untreated areas rather than treated parts.

  • Liposuction surgery is a proven way to get rid of extra fatty deposits in various body parts, including the arms, thighs, buttocks, abdomen, and hips.
  • Although the fat cells removed during liposuction do not regenerate, the leftover fat cells might get enlarged if a balanced diet and lifestyle are not followed after your liposuction treatment.
  • In other words, it is possible to gain weight following liposuction surgery.

What are the preferred areas of liposuction?

Liposuction is a body-reshaping surgery that involves suctioning away localized fat accumulation. Modern liposuction procedures now include the liquefaction (melting) of fatty tissue, resulting in a gentler removal of fat and the constriction of underlying soft tissue.

The most common areas where liposuction is performed include:

  • Outer thighs
  • Inner thighs
  • Anterior thighs
  • Waist/flanks
  • Hips
  • Abdomen
  • Back
  • Upper arms
  • Calves/ankles
  • Buttocks
  • Neck
  • Chest

What are the different types of liposuction?

There are various types of liposuction. All of the newer treatments are variants of the original standard approach, which uses the infiltration of tumescent fluid before surgery to reduce the risks of bleeding while also numbing the target regions both before and after the operation.

After the fluid has been injected, the fat may be treated with modern technology such as ultrasound or laser to "melt" the fat before it is removed. Traditional liposuction is always conducted after treating/melting the fat to remove the fatty tissue from the body physically.

Three common types of liposuction

  1. Standard tumescent liposuction (SAL)
    • The tumescent approach involves infiltrating large volumes of fluid containing diluted levels of drugs (lidocaine and epinephrine) into the fatty tissues before executing the liposuction process.
    • The objective of this fluid is to numb the region set to undergo liposuction while also reducing the possibility of bleeding and bruising during and after the treatment.
  2. Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL)
    • It employs ultrasonic energy to liquefy extra fat before surgical suctioning. Following the infiltration of tumescent fluid, as described above, the customized ultrasonography cannula is introduced. 
    • Following the fluid placement, a specific ultrasonic emitting cannula is placed, which sends vibrations to break down fat cell membranes, allowing for easier removal of fat molecules from the body via regular SAL procedures.
  3. Laser-assisted liposuction (LAL)
    • A procedure that uses heat energy to emulsify and remove extra fat from specific regions.
    • Similar to UAL, a specific laser-emitting cannula is inserted, which melts the fat from the target locations before removal using regular liposuction procedures.

Significantly, a successful liposuction result depends more on the surgeon's integrity, good judgment, and skills than on any technology that promises perfection. 

Individuals who do not smoke and are within 30 percent of their ideal weight with firm, elastic skin can be considered for surgery. Usually, doctors don't recommend the procedure if an individual has a problem with blood flow, heart disease, diabetes, or a weak immune system.


What is weight loss surgery? See Answer

What are the benefits of liposuction procedures?

When deciding on a liposuction procedure, there are several benefits to consider. The most common advantages may include:

  • Enhances the contour and shape of your body
  • Gives long-lasting results
  • Prevents lipodystrophy syndrome, a condition where there is a disturbance in fat metabolism, resulting in excessive fat in some parts of your body but not in others.
  • May altogether remove or at least help people with lipomas (fatty tumors in some parts of the body)
  • Can influence good dieting and better exercise habits
  • Proven to help with excessive sweating in the armpits
  • Can prevent chronic diseases in the long run

Liposuction is the removal of fat from the body using plastic surgical procedures. Although it is a popular choice for cosmetic surgery, liposuction is not typically regarded as a weight loss strategy or any alternative. If you have excess fat in particular regions but generally maintain a constant weight, liposuction may be a viable option for you.

Are you a good candidate for liposuction procedures?

Good candidates for liposuction often include individuals who:

  • Have stubborn fat deposits that won't respond to diet or exercise
  • Don't have a lot of extra skin
  • Have good skin elasticity
  • Have excellent muscle tone
  • Are in good physical shape
  • Have robust overall health
  • Are within 30 percent of their ideal weight
  • Are nonsmokers

Doctors usually do not advocate the surgery if the person has problems with blood flow, heart disease, diabetes, or a weakened immune system.

Good liposuction candidates have undesired, persistent pockets of fat but are realistic about their liposuction outcomes because the primary objective of liposuction is body reshaping rather than significant weight loss. Although a liposuction treatment results in some weight reduction, the operation is usually only performed on those who are already within 10 to 15 percent of their ideal body weight and in otherwise good physical health.

The maximum amount of fat that can be safely extracted is six to eight pounds (three to four liters). The higher the volume of fat removed in a single day, the greater the risk of serious complications. It is indicated that if a person requires the removal of more than six to eight pounds of fat, it is advisable to divide the liposuction into two surgical procedures, each separated by three to four weeks.

What are the side effects of liposuction procedure?

It’s important for people undergoing liposuction to receive information about their surgical procedure to have realistic expectations. There are some common side effects after liposuction that every person should understand before deciding about the procedure.

  • Pain and discomfort
    • These are two of the most common side effects of any type of surgery. To manage these post-liposuction side effects, individuals should take plenty of rest, avoid excessive physical activity, stay hydrated, and use painkillers as recommended by the doctor.
  • Swelling and bruising
    • These are obvious side effects of any type of operation and are your body's natural response to various types of stress
    • The bruising is most visible in the first or second week although it disappears if patients follow their post-op recommendations.
    • Swelling is usually minimal and tolerable following liposuction. Again, rest and fluids are essential for dealing with these adverse effects.
  • Tingling and numbness
    • Many people who have liposuction experience some numbness and tingling in the treatment areas although this is usually minimal and goes away with good rehabilitation.
  • Rippling of the skin
    • When fat is removed from the treatment area, the skin often becomes a little loose in that area. There may be some bagginess or minor blemishes, but the skin will soon shrink to a slimmer body shape.

There may be other side effects such as excessive bleeding and anesthesia complications after the procedure; however, most of them are rare. But it is always best to discuss side effects.

How can you maintain your liposuction results?

There are several things that a person may do to improve the outcome of their liposuction cosmetic surgery, such as:

  • Maintain a healthy diet
    • Your dietary choices have a significant influence on your ability to maintain your form following surgery. 
    • Limit your diet of sweets, carbs, and saturated fats while increasing your intake of beans, legumes, and other high-protein meals. 
    • Keep track of your daily calorie intake.
  • Prefer smaller meals
    • Eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day would help you avoid munching on junk food whenever you become hungry. 
    • These small meals can help you maintain consistent energy levels, which is especially important if your job requires you to be constantly on the move.
  • Exercise regularly
    • A gradual return to regular exercise throughout your recovery from liposuction can help you create a habit. Begin by exercising for at least 30 minutes every day. You can train for one hour every day once you've been cleared for additional physical activities. 
    • Exercise is essential for remaining in shape, and it benefits your body in ways more than merely sustaining your liposuction results.
  • Adequate hydration
    • More fluids are required following liposuction due to wound drainage. A higher intake of fluids will hasten your recovery. 
    • Drinking water also helps prevent hunger, which leads to snacking. The benefits of drinking water extend to every part of your body, including your skin.
  • Deal with your stressors
    • Stress can prevent some people from losing weight. Others, however, blame it for their unexpected weight gain. 
    • You can control your stress by staying on top of your day-to-day activities. It will also help you sleep better at night because a tired body will gain weight faster.
    • Meditation, yoga, walking, and spending time with loved ones are the best ways to deal with your stress.

Maintaining a healthy and consistent weight can be challenging and time-consuming. After you've invested your time and money in liposuction, you must commit to certain lifestyle changes to ensure long-term results.

What is the outcome of liposuction procedure?

The majority of people who undergo liposuction are happy with the results. The final results are usually established one year after the procedure. While some people see dramatic improvements in their outcomes within three to six months of surgery, others may see continuous improvements in their outcomes for up to a year.

If the results of their primary liposuction are not satisfactory, some will require additional surgery to remove their excess fat. It is also important to remember that the effectiveness and longevity of liposuction solely depend on how well you maintain your body after the procedure.

In general, people who have undergone liposuction should wait at least one year before deciding to undergo revision surgery. The combination of procedures used and the amount of fat removed with liposuction can also affect the outcome.

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Medically Reviewed on 12/22/2022
Image Source: iStock image

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