Nothing but the fats, er facts, about Liposuction

Maryland Plastic Surgeon serving Washington DC, & Virginia including Alexandria and Fairfax.

liposuction marylandA quick Internet search on weight gain after liposuction results in numerous questions revolving around what happens to the fat cells weeks to months after the procedure. Do the fat cells come back, redeposit themselves in other areas or remain gone forever after liposuction? Maryland men and women visiting our office have asked this question many times. In order to answer it properly, one must first understand how fat cells work.
Fat, or adipose tissue, is commonly found just under the surface of the skin in the subcutaneous layer. Fat tissue is also found in other parts of the body, but for purposes of explaining fat cells and liposuction, we’ll stick with the fat found in the subcutaneous layer. Fat cells are produced before birth and later during adolescence. The fat cells produced during adolescence are generally distributed according to sex, with women carrying more in the hips, waist and breast areas and men more in the abdominal area.  At that point, the number of fat cells a person has is generally complete. However, fat cell turnover continues throughout a person’s lifetime. In a recent study on Fat Cell Turnover in Humans, it was established that fat cells do die and get replaced by new fat cells, but the number of cells remains constant.
So, your next question might be, if the number of fat cells remains constant after adolescence, why did I gain weight later in life? Weight gain has nothing to do with the number of fat cells, but everything to do with the volume of the fat cells (though this can get tricky with obesity and severe obesity). Fat cells store triglycerides and when more calories are consumed than used in a day, over time, excess triglycerides will increase the diameter of the cell, or cause the fat cells to appear puffy.
Now that you have a good understanding of how fat cells work, let’s talk liposuction. Maryland  residents may already know that it’s a surgical procedure that removes subcutaneous fat cells using a suction method. It’s the most common cosmetic surgery procedure done in the United States. It essentially reduces the number of fat cells in a person’s body. However, because the body has a set number of fat cells, once the surgery is complete, the body will work on fat cell homeostasis. In other words, the body will regain its balance by generating the number of fat cells lost during the procedure. After surgery, the treated area usually doesn’t acquire the new fat cells because the procedure destroys the matrix in which the cells live. Therefore, the fat cells tend to be distributed throughout other parts of the body in order to maintain its set level.
Remember that quick Internet search on weight gain after liposuction? Here’s how it all makes sense. Some people have complained that they’ve gained weight after having fat suctioned out. Could this be true? Indeed, it can be. However, it’s not from surgery, fat cell redistribution or anything similar. What causes the weight gain, you might ask? It’s from an increase in fat cell volume. When too many calories are consumed, the fat cells become puffy. The treated area doesn’t tend to look puffy because of the diminished number of fat cells in the area.
What can you do to avoid gaining weight after liposuction? Remember, the fullness of a fat cell is directly related to the amount of calories consumed. If too many calories are consumed, fat storage takes place and the cells become puffy. To avoid excess fat storage, be sure to incorporate a healthy diet and exercise into your daily routine.
This procedure is a great way to boost self-confidence, reduce areas of cellulite and eliminate areas of unwanted fat. As long as you maintain your post-operative weight, your new, slimmer contour will be permanent. If they are considering liposuction, Maryland residents shouldn’t let concerns of weight gain stop them.