Can Liposuction Cause Weight Gain?

Why Liposuction Is Not a Substitute for Weight Loss or Exercise

Liposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic surgical procedures and the vast majority of liposuction patients say they would do it again. However, the surgery is not without its risks and problems. If you or someone you love is considering liposuction, you may have a few questions. For example: Does liposuction have an effect on your metabolism? Does it increase the risk of gaining weight after the procedure? Where do you gain fat if you put weight back on after liposuction?

Plastic surgery doctor draw lines with marker on patient belly
andriano_cz / Getty Images

What is Liposuction?

Liposuction is a minimally invasive cosmetic surgical procedure that removes fat from body areas. The procedure uses a thin, hollow tube, known as a cannula, inserted into the body through incisions to loosen and suction excess fat using a vacuum or a syringe.

Purpose of Liposuction

Simply put, liposuction is not a substitute for weight loss or exercise. It is not considered an obesity treatment and doesn't promise lasting weight loss. It does not remove cellulite or tighten loose or sagging skin. The procedure is intended to remove areas of fat that don’t respond to exercise or diet.

Liposuction can target the following areas:

  • Thighs
  • Abdomen
  • Arms
  • Back
  • Hips
  • Buttock
  • Flanks
  • Chest
  • Face
  • Calves
  • Ankles

Liposuction and Weight Gain

Fat cells are permanently removed during liposuction. Therefore, they do not come back unless you gain a significant amount of weight. If you gain weight, it usually does not return to the areas treated with liposuction. However, fat will accumulate in both treated and untreated areas if you gain a considerable amount of weight.

Because the fat cells in the treated area of the body are removed permanently, there are little to no fat cells in the treated area to absorb the newly formed fat. Fat is deposited into cells in untreated areas of the body. This new weight gain will cause the remaining fat cells to grow wherever they may be in your body. As you gain more weight after liposuction, the procedure results will be less than ideal.

Weight gain is even more of a risk if you are inactive. The fat may return as visceral fat, which settles around the organs and increases your risk of diabetes and heart disease. You may have less fat around the treated areas, but you must stay physically fit and active to reduce health risks.

How to Avoid Weight Gain After Liposuction

If you are considering liposuction, but are concerned about weight gain after liposuction, the best approach is to lose as much of your excess weight as possible with a sensible diet and exercise regimen before undergoing the procedure.

After the procedure, and with your healthcare provider’s approval, maintain the results of your liposuction by continuing your healthy lifestyle of diet and physical activity.


Liposuction is the removal of fat cells from areas in the body that do not respond to weight loss from diet and exercise. However, weight gain is still possible after liposuction because fat is deposited into fat cells that were not treated by liposuction. Fat can also be deposited viscerally around organs in the abdomen.

A Word From Verywell

Liposuction can change the amount of fat in areas of the body that are resistant to change with diet and exercise. While liposuction can remove fat, it can still be distributed throughout the body into other fat cells if extra weight is gained. Therefore, it's essential to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle after liposuction to maintain the results.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it harder to lose weight after liposuction?

    It is not harder or easier to lose weight after liposuction because it is not a weight loss procedure. Liposuction only removes fat cells that are already in the body. Fat can still accumulate in the body in other fat cells or around the organs.

  • How long does liposuction last?

    Liposuction is the permanent removal of fat cells from the body. If a healthy lifestyle and weight are not maintained, fat can be added to other cells or distributed elsewhere in the body.

  • Can you have liposuction more than once?

    The short answer is yes, you can have liposuction more than once. Many surgeons will limit the amount of fat removed from an area at one time for patient safety. There should be at least several weeks between liposuction treatments because it takes time for the body to reduce swelling from the procedure.

    You can also have different areas treated with liposuction. Maybe the first treatment is for the belly and the next time it's the arms. This can vary from person to person, depending on the amount of areas treated and the amount of fat to be removed.

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. 2020 plastic surgery statistics report.   

  2. American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. Liposuction.

  3. Rinomhota AS, Bulugahapitiya DU, French SJ, Caddy CM, Griffiths RW, Ross RJ. Women gain weight and fat mass despite lipectomy at abdominoplasty and breast reduction. Eur J Endocrinol. 2008;158(3):349-52. doi:10.1530/EJE-07-0852

  4. Benatti F, Solis M, Artioli G, et al. Liposuction induces a compensatory increase of visceral fat which is effectively counteracted by physical activity: a randomized trial. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012;97(7):2388-2395. doi:10.1210/jc.2012-1012

Additional Reading
  • Liposuction. MedlinePlus U.S. National Library of Medicine.

By Blyss Splane
Blyss Splane is a certified operating room nurse working as a freelance content writer and former travel nurse. She works as a freelance content writer for healthcare blogs when she's not spending time with her husband and dog.

Originally written by Natalie Kita