If you have had liposuction, you may be wondering how long the results will remain. You are born with a specific number of fat cells. The fat cells removed after liposuction are permanently gone.

However, this does not imply that you cannot acquire weight after liposuction. Body fat can also move after liposuction, especially if you do not take precautions to prevent it through your diet and exercise routine.

What Liposuction Does to Fat

The human body only has a specific number of fat cells. When we gain or lose weight, our fat cells expand or contract. The quantity and placement of our fat cells are determined before we reach maturity. This is why we may have some stubborn spots where fat refuses to budge, despite losing weight in other locations.

Liposuction removes fat deposits permanently. After liposuction, the body's contour improves, and the areas of concern should now be more proportionate to the rest of the body.

However, some fat cells will always remain in locations where liposuction was performed. If you gain weight, the remaining fat cells will get larger. However, because there will be fewer fat cells left, they will tend to remain in better proportion to the rest of the body, even if a few pounds are acquired following liposuction.

If there is considerable weight gain following liposuction, areas of the body that were not liposuctioned may seem disproportionately larger than the rest due to the presence of more fat cells.

In short, while liposuction can improve your body proportions, it is not a successful weight loss procedure and does not guarantee an all-you-can-eat lifestyle. If anything, gaining weight may be more difficult because it makes certain body parts appear larger than before.

How to Make Liposuction Results Last

Many people question how they can maintain their new liposuction proportions for an extended period. The answer is straightforward: exercise.

A 2012 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that normal-weight women who had 2.5 to 3 pounds of abdomen fat removed by liposuction and exercised after surgery were satisfied with their new form six months later.

Half of the 36 healthy but sedentary women aged 20 to 35 who underwent liposuction regained fat six months later. The majority of the weight gain was due to visceral fat, which settles around the organs and raises the risk of diabetes and heart disease, rather than subcutaneous fat, which is found beneath the skin's surface.

Overall, women who gained weight accumulated 10% more visceral fat than they did before liposuction.

The other women did not regain subcutaneous or visceral fat despite a planned four-month training program that included aerobic and strength-training activities offered three times per week. Unsurprisingly, the women lost visceral fat relative to their pre-liposuction measurements.

Understanding Your Weight Set-Point After Liposuction

Scientists don't know why liposuction fat resurfaces as visceral fat. It could be because patients tend to stay sedentary following liposuction surgery rather than starting a progressive workout program.

At the same time, our bodies are perfectly adapted to protect their fat stores and may attempt to adjust when we lose weight quickly. Exercise appears to reduce these attempts and reset the body's weight set point.

The weight set-point theory proposes that the body prefers to maintain homeostasis (equilibrium), even if it is unhealthy. Sudden changes, like liposuction, may lead the body to overcompensate and go back to its recent form.

The set point theory could explain why women who exercised after liposuction prevented visceral weight gain by repeatedly pressuring the body to reset itself.

However, exercise alone may not always prevent fat redistribution or growth.

According to a 2015 review of data published in Obesity Surgery, changes in body fat and weight following abdominal liposuction are often transitory. The causes behind this remain unclear. Some argue that it is the result of metabolic overcompensation, in which the body redistributes fat that it believes is "supposed" to be present. It's unclear why this does not occur in other sections of the body.