How Long Does Liposuction Last?

How Long Does Liposuction Last? Myths Debunked

If you've had liposuction, you may wonder how long the results will last. You are born with a certain number of fat cells. The fat cells that get taken out during liposuction are permanently gone.

However, that does not mean that you can't gain weight after having liposuction. Body fat can also redistribute after liposuction, especially if you don't take steps to prevent it with your diet and exercise habits.

This article will cover what you should know about how long liposuction results last. You'll also learn about how to make your liposuction results last longer.

Liposuction procedure being done on a woman's side
Juanmonino / E+ / Getty Images

What Liposuction Does to Fat

The human body has only a certain amount of fat cells. The fat cells grow larger or smaller as we gain or lose weight, respectively. The number and distribution of our fat cells are set before we even reach adulthood. This is why we may have some stubborn areas where fat won't seem to budge, even though we are losing weight in other areas.

When fat deposits are removed through liposuction, those fat cells are gone forever. After liposuction, the body's contour is improved, and ideally, the areas in question are now more in proportion to the rest of the body.

That said, there will always be some fat cells left in the areas where liposuction was done. If there is subsequent weight gain, the remaining fat cells will grow larger. However, since there will be fewer fat cells left, they will tend to stay in better proportion to the rest of the body even if a few pounds are gained after liposuction.

If there is excessive weight gain after liposuction, parts of the body that were not liposuctioned may suddenly appear disproportionately bigger than the rest because there are more fat cells there.

In short, while it can improve your body proportions, liposuction is not an effective method of weight loss and certainly does not grant an all-you-can-eat lifestyle. If anything, gaining weight may be more problematic given that it makes certain body parts look larger than ever.

How to Make Liposuction Results Last

Many people wonder what they can do to keep their new proportions after liposuction in shape for longer. The answer is simple: exercise.

According to a 2012 study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, normal-weight women who had 2.5 to 3 pounds of abdominal fat removed by liposuction and who exercised after surgery enjoyed their new shape six months afterward.

Of the 36 healthy but inactive women aged 20 to 35 that had liposuction, half had regained fat six months after the procedure. Most of the weight gain was not associated with subcutaneous fat, the fat situated beneath the surface of the skin, but visceral fat, the type that settles around the organs and increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

All told, the women with weight gain added 10% more visceral fat than they had prior to liposuction.

The other women didn't gain back the subcutaneous or visceral fat due to a structured, four-month training program consisting of aerobic and strength-training exercises delivered thrice weekly. Not surprisingly, the women ended up losing visceral fat compared to their values before they had liposuction.

Understanding Your Weight Set-Point After Liposuction

Scientists don't know why liposuction fat comes back as visceral fat. It could be because people tend to be sedentary after liposuction surgery rather than embarking on a progressive exercise plan.

At the same time, our bodies are finely tuned to defend their fat stores and may try to compensate when we lose fat quickly. Exercise appears to mitigate those efforts and recalibrate the body's weight set-point.

The weight set-point theory suggests that the body likes to remain in a state of homeostasis (equilibrium) even if it is unhealthy. Rapid changes, such as liposuction, may cause the body to overcompensate to return to its recent state.

The set point theory might explain why the women who exercised after liposuction avoided visceral weight gain by persistently pressing the body with exercise to reset itself.

That said, exercise is not always enough to prevent fat redistribution or gains.

A 2015 review of studies in Obesity Surgery found that for abdominal liposuction, changes in body fat and weight were usually transient. The reasons for this are unclear. Some theorize it is the result of metabolic overcompensation where the body redistributes fat that it believes is "supposed" to be there. Why this doesn't happen in other parts of the body remains a mystery.


It's clear that there is much we need to learn about liposuction and the management of body proportions we wish to change in the first place. It's important to understand that while there are several different types of liposuction procedures—suction-assisted, ultrasound-assisted, or air compression—the success of any liposuction procedure is not about which one is used, but about the skill and experience of the surgeon performing it.

It's important to talk with your surgeon about what you can honestly expect—and what you shouldn't expect—from a liposuction procedure.

While you may enjoy the results of your liposuction procedure, it would be a mistake to consider it a substitute for exercise. By taking care of your health, you can better ensure that your liposuction results last a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are liposuction results permanent?

    The fat cells that are taken out during liposuction are gone and will not come back. However, you can still gain weight after you have liposuction.

  • How long does stomach liposuction last?

    The fat removed during liposuction is permanently gone. That said, maintaining the results of liposuction depends on whether you make lifestyle changes that support these changes in your body. Having liposuction will not necessarily prevent you from gaining weight—particularly if you are sedentary and eating more calories than your body needs.

  • Why is my stomach still fat after liposuction?

    Right after you have liposuction, swelling and fluid retention from the surgery can make it look like there is still fat in the part of your body where fat cells were removed. Some people also have areas of loose skin where the fat was removed. Both of these post-liposuction problems usually get better with time.

    Additionally, if there were any fat cells left in the area that was liposuctioned and you gain weight, those cells will get bigger.

  • Does liposuction have long term effects?

    Any surgery has side effects and risks. When cuts are made to your skin, it's possible that you will have scars. You may also notice extra "flabby" skin in the places where fat was removed during liposuction.

    Sometimes, skin or nerve damage from liposuction surgery can change how the skin looks or feels, and those changes might not go away.

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. Müller M, Bosy-Westphal A, Heymsfield SB. Is there evidence for a set point that regulates human body weight? F1000 Med Rep. 2010;2:59. doi:10.3410/M2-59

  2. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Can fat return after liposuction?.

  3. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. What results should I expect after liposuction?.

  4. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. What are the risks of liposuction?.

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