Will fat return after liposuction?

Amaris B.

Updated on

November 17, 2021

Fat cells will not regenerate in areas where liposuction was done. However, there is a limit to the number of fat cells a body can store new fat, so with weight gain, some other areas may seem more significant than a previous weight gain. This, in turn, may give the appearance of the fat moving from one location to another.

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When something is bad, we all want to get rid of it immediately and, more importantly, permanently. This applies to almost everything in our lives, including our appearance. Hence it is not hard to understand why liposuction, with its near-immediate results and its ability to rid fat permanently, is the most commonly performed fat loss and body contouring procedure globally.

Still, there are concerns among many on the longevity of its results.

Liposuction permanently removes fat

There are several liposuction techniques, but they all focus on the same goal - eliminating fat. They also use the combination of a cannula and an aspirator (suctioning device) to suction out the fat.

In medical terms, liposuction is known as suction-assisted lipectomy. Liposuction can remove fat tissues on specific areas, including the hips, abdomen, armpits and thighs, among others. However, although it is an effective permanent fat removal procedure, it is not a weight loss tool.

Weight gained after liposuction may affect other areas of the body. These areas may amass fat gained. 

Can fat return?

Fat removed via liposuction will not return. However, the patient must do their part to maintain the post-lipo results by adopting an active and healthy lifestyle. Look at it as maintenance work to upkeep, in this case, that gorgeous physique to continue looking good and a motivation to start a healthier lifestyle.

A small weight gain of, for example, 5kg, may result in the expansion of fat cells. While this may defeat the effort, the effects of liposuction will still be visible in terms of overall appearance. This is because the treated areas have lesser fat cells and therefore experience a lower enlargement rate.

In individuals who experience considerable weight gain, for example, amounting to more than 10 percent of their body weight, new fat cells can actually develop even in the treated areas. The good news is since new fat cells are created evenly throughout the body, they accumulate less in the treated areas. The even better news is that many patients who gained considerable weight still look better than before undergoing liposuction.

Dr Ivan Puah, during a liposuction surgery in Singapore, seen here in an operating theatre, circa 2020.

Liposuction cost in Singapore

Liposuction cost varies among the different practices. Cost is an important consideration factor for any makeover treatments, but when it comes to liposuction, a patient's safety, well being, and quality of result are more important. 

Of course, there are other factors to consider before booking for a liposuction consultation appointment, such as:

Word of mouth

Word of mouth recommendations from either family or friends, particularly those who have undergone liposuction, is the ideal first step. Nonetheless, a search on the Internet will reveal a list of liposuction doctors. 

Liposuction is strictly regulated in Singapore by the Ministry of Health, so ensure that the doctors you have shortlisted are approved and accredited by the MOH to perform liposuction. Read the reviews and take note of patients' experience on other factors such as bedside manners and professionalism.

Experience of the doctor

An experienced doctor with numerous liposuction procedures to his name can address a patient's needs and anticipate potential issues that may arise. Steady hands, equally composed mind and nerves are assets, and these come with experience.

Consistent results are also good indicators, so find out more about the doctors that you have listed. Ask for before and after photos, and find out the average number of liposuction procedures that they do in a month.  

Complexity of surgery

A doctor should preferably have a good eye for aesthetics to visualise the desired-looking results and, with his know-how, materialise them. Each body part is unique and requires a different approach. A truly experienced doctor can undertake this challenge with confidence and relative ease.

Patient Care

Attention to patient care is an essential prerequisite for every doctor. After all, a patient's safety, comfort and well being is of utmost importance. This requirement extends beyond the doctor to include the medical team and facility. Post-operative care and how they handle emergencies are factors that should also be taken note of.

Compliance level

A doctor who is a trustworthy, competent, and honest leader will always have respect from and for his peers, his team, and patients. Doctors should also respect and adhere to MOH rules and regulations in Singapore. A doctor's ethics is just as important as his credentials.

Transparent Communication

Open and honest communication is key throughout a patient's journey. A doctor should be a good listener and communicator. They should understand patients' needs, alleviate worries and concerns, and confidently address any patient's queries. Trust is important and must be gained.

Maintenance tips: How to keep your liposuction results

Maintaining results is about self-discipline. Adjustments for the better should be made to one's lifestyle as this prolongs the results and will improve an individual's well-being. Some healthy lifestyle changes that can be made post-liposuction and to maintain results include:

• Adhere to all post-procedure instructions provided by the doctor

• Reduce caloric intake and focus on consuming a healthy diet made up of protein and healthy carbohydrates.

• Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.

• Eat several smaller meals throughout the day.

• Do not skip meals.

• Exercise regularly.

What if I gain weight after liposuction? Can your body create new fat cells after liposuction?

Fat cells will not regenerate in areas where liposuction was done. However, there is a limit to the number of fat cells a body can store new fat, so with weight gain, some other areas may seem more significant than a previous weight gain. This, in turn, may give the appearance of the fat moving from one location to another.