Liposuction, Tummy tuck and weight gain

Every once in a while I get a patient that tells me that after Liposuction, they weigh the same, or may have even gained weight but their clothes fit better. So even though they are proud of their new figure, they are unhappy about the weight issue.

Your body weight is the product of how many calories you eat versus how many calories it takes to “run your body”. If you take some fat off, but do not change your intake of calories, you will slowly drift back to your preoperative weight. The only difference is that the new fat you create will not go to the same old place, because the fat storage cells have been taken off at that site. In fact, a lot of time the new fat goes to a different area. A typical example is when I have done Liposuction in the inner and outer thighs, abdomen and lower waist (flank) areas and the patient comes back a year later complaining that either the upper waist or butt is larger. I saw a patient once that had had Liposuction of all these areas, plus a breast augmentation, then came back because the breasts were now too large!

So let’s repeat what you have heard in magazines and your plastic surgeons office: Liposuction and Tummy tuck are not weight loss techniques, they are body contouring techniques. Your body shape changes as a result of surgery. Whether your weight changes or not is a function of your diet.

People in general look their best 1 month after Liposuction because swelling has come down so you see the full effect of the Liposuction, but you do not yet see the redistribution of fat that occurs as they drift back to their preoperative weight. This is why I take my pictures at four months after surgery. By this time the body has compensated and the patient looks more like what she will look like long term. If patients start an exercise program or modify their diet the payoff is that their long term result is even better because the starting point is their new improved figure, and it just gets better.

By Dr. Ricardo L. Rodriguez MD Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Cosmeticsurg Baltimore, Maryland Ricardo L. Rodriguez on American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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