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If I gain weight after liposuction, does fat come back in the treated areas?

If I gain weight after liposuction, does fat come back in the treated areas?A majority of patients will not experience a return in fat cells in areas treated with liposuction plastic surgery. The body will not generate new fat cells until the patient maintains a stable body weight following the surgery, or even gains a moderate amount of weight over the years.

The adult human body usually cannot produce new fat cells. Therefore, the fat loss in the areas treated with liposuction is permanent, and the fat cells eliminated from the treated site will not re-grow.

The Virginia Institute of Plastic Surgery (VIPS), led by board certified plastic surgeons Dr. Burton M. Sundin and Dr. Reps B. Sundin, provides liposuction to patients in Richmond, Fredericksburg, Tysons Corner, Northern Virginia, Washington DC, and surrounding locations.


Fat Cell Growth with Substantial Weight Gain

If the patient gains a moderate amount of weight over the years after their liposuction surgery, the fat cells that remain in the treated areas will simply grow larger by collecting more fat within the existing cell membranes.

However, if the patient gains a significant amount of weight (ten percent of their body weight or more), there may be a development of new fat cells in different areas of the body. This may also include the areas previously treated with liposuction.

The adult body produces more fat cells (lipocytes) from the existing pleuripotential connective tissue cells if a person gains a substantial amount of weight. A process known as differentiation is behind the creation of these new cells. In this process, the existing connective tissue cells convert into immature fat cells (lipoblasts).

The lipoblasts gradually develop into mature fat cells as the patient gains weight progressively. But even in this case, relatively lesser fat will accumulate in the liposuction treated areas.

The patient will still continue to enjoy the body sculpting benefits of liposuction plastic surgery to a certain degree despite putting on a large amount of weight.


Safe Amount of Fat Cell Reduction with Liposuction

An experienced cosmetic surgeon will remove fat via liposuction in a conservative manner. The safe limit for fat elimination in a single liposuction session is nearly six to eight pounds (three to four liters). This may vary slightly based on body weight, medical condition, fatty pockets, and other aspects specific to the patient.

The removal of more fat in a single session may cause an increase in the risks for the patient. However, some patient may require fat removal beyond six to eight pounds. The plastic surgeon may recommend phasing out the surgery into two or three stages for such patients.

Each stage will be spaced a minimum of one month apart and will be undertaken as a separate liposuction procedure.


Cosmetic Concerns with Excessive Fat Removal

Excessive fat removal does increase medical risks. However, it may also be cosmetically detrimental to the patient as it heightens the risk of developing loose or saggy skin, folds in the treated sites, and dimpling. If the patient has fat deposits in a certain area for a long time, it may cause a permanent stretching of skin in the area as well as elasticity loss.

Removing a significant amount of fat from such sites may cause the area to deflate and the skin to sag. Such patients may benefit from undergoing liposuction combined with a lower body lift, breast lift, or tummy tuck, depending on the treated area.

Plastic surgeons at the Virginia Institute of Plastic Surgery receive patients from Richmond, Fredericksburg, Tysons Corner, Northern Virginia, Washington DC, and nearby areas for liposuction.
For more information on the surgical and non-surgical procedures and treatments by Board Certified Cosmetic Plastic Surgeons Dr. Reps Sundin and Dr. Burton Sundin please visit

Serving Richmond, VA, Fredricksburg, Williamsburg, Northern Virginia, Washington DC, Vienna, McLean, Fairfax, Loudoun County, Ashburn, Tysons Corner, Reston, Arlington and surrounding communities.

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