Despite the health warnings, Americans just can’t seem to put down the bag of chips and the Big Gulp. As a result, we are getting heavier and heavier. That explains the popularity of liposuction, even though the procedure is not meant for weight loss. Even people at their ideal weight still have pockets of fat that have accumulated in hard-to-target areas such as the lower abdomen, outer thighs, or the flanks. That’s where liposuction comes in — it removes those pockets of fat.
Liposuction is popular with our San Diego patients. If you’re considering the procedure you probably have a host of questions. The best way to address them is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kearney. Short of that, however, here are some answers to some typical questions that we hear from our patients.
Will the fat cells grow back after liposuction?
During the procedure, the fat cells that are suctioned out are gone permanently, but you can develop new fat cells. If you gain a significant amount of weight, say 10% of your body weight, then new fat cells can develop. This can include areas previously treated with liposuction. But if you don’t gain a bunch of weight the new contour is permanent.
If I gain weight does the fat come back to the treated areas?
After liposuction, smaller amounts of fat gain usually do not occur in the treatment areas. Those lesser weight gains usually accumulate in untreated areas, where they could be the target of future liposuction.
What if I get pregnant after liposuction?
Weight gain in pregnancy should be temporary. Because of this, pregnancy shouldn’t affect your liposuction results. If a patient has liposuction and subsequently becomes pregnant, gains weight, gives birth and loses the excess weight from pregnancy, then her original liposuction improvements will return, as if she had never been pregnant.
How many pounds of fat can be removed?
There is a limit to the amount of fat that can be safely removed in a single liposuction procedure. The maximum amount of fat that can be removed safely is about 6 to 8 pounds. If more than 6 to 8 pounds of fat needs to be removed, it is safest to divide the liposuction into separate surgical procedures each separated by 3 to 4 weeks. But remember, liposuction is not meant to be a weight-loss panacea. Dr. Kearney wants his liposuction patients to usually be within about 10 percent of their ideal weight.
How long will it take to see results?
Most patients will see 90 percent of their ultimate liposuction results within one to three months after surgery. For the first few weeks after surgery there will be postoperative swelling. The technique used dictates the duration of the swelling.
Will liposuction help my cellulite?
Cellulite does not improve after liposuction. Cellulite is a result of the structural support under the skin; it is not due to fat accumulation. Liposuction deals only with the removal of fat cells.