Liposuction Might Not Be the Solution

By , SparkPeople Blogger
We all have parts of our bodies we wish we could change, especially woman, who seem to be particularly hard on themselves. I don't know anyone who thinks they look completely perfect. I'd love to have a flatter stomach and no cellulite on my thighs, but I've come to accept that those imperfections are part of who I am. As long as I'm living a healthy life, that's what matters most to me.

I know women who've hoped (through diet and exercise) to lose the fat from certain areas of their body, but it just doesn't seem to budge. Women often ask about their midsection, which is a common trouble spot. When the hard work doesn't seem to pay off and they still have a "pooch" that makes them unhappy, I know some who resort to plastic surgery- specifically, liposuction. But is that really going to give them the body they've always dreamed of? New research says it's not a permanent method of fat loss.

The study, published in the journal Obesity, assigned non-obese women into two groups: those who had liposuction on their thighs and lower abdomen, and those who had nothing. The control group who had no procedure was promised they could decide whether or not to have it later, after the results of the study were published. Interestingly, the study found that the fat all came back within about a year. It didn't come back to the areas where the liposuction was performed (likely because the procedure destroyed the structure under the skin where fat cells reside). But it did return to other areas of the body, like the upper abdomen and arms.

Researchers say the body regrows the fat cells that are lost. On average, a fat cell lives about seven years and when one dies, the body replaces it with a new one. Even though the liposuction is removing fat cells, the body is smart enough to know they are gone and will generate them again.

Study participants said that they were still happy with the results, because the fat was gone from their problem areas (even if it did come back in new places). What surprised me was that after learning these results, half of the control group still decided to go ahead with the procedure. Maybe they thought their outcome would be different? Or maybe they were willing to take the chance if it meant their current problem areas would no longer be an issue?

What do you think? Have you ever considered having liposuction? Why or why not?

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I had liposuction 3 months ago, only on my difficult zones (3 kg fat). Now I can wear trousers and be proud. Still need to control what I eat and do regular exercise but it is the first time in my life I have the desired shapes. I. had tried with diet and exercise but I looked bad (too skinny in some parts and still big in others). Thank you science! Report
My aunt and uncle went through liposuction together about 3 years ago. They looked great initially but neither one of them changed their eating habits / lifestyle.

Both have (since) gained all the fat back and more. It's really sad. Report
For me, I would get the lipo and body lift, if I could afford it. I have lost 150 lbs. and, it has been difficult to accept that my breast has literally no volume to it and I have hanging skin on my tummy and thighs. I don't know where I go from here but, I want to start feeling good about the body I worked so hard to achieve. I do see muscle definition on my entire body through the excess skin. But, I want to see it without it. Who knows? Report
i'd thought of it before when i was at my most hurt and disgusted, but the cost of them and the recovery time and all that didn't make me feel like it'd be worth it at all--and now i'm sure it wouldn't be. i can feel good about myself even without the perfect body now (though i'm working on cleaning it up so to speak), and a skinnier bod isn't gonna help if i have esteem issues--that's another bowl of wax. thankfully, i've been doing a lot and got over that, so i hadn't thought of lipo in years. glad i never tried. Report
I would not consider liposuction, but do plan on having a tummy tuck when I reach my goal weight - I have the baby pouch that just has to go. Report
This article has some very enlightening information, however I'd be apart of the group that went back to get the procedure, at the drop of a dime smh : / Report
The people who had liposuction in the study generally said that they were happy they did it and happy with the results (as you point out). Why does it follow, then, that it's surprising that the people in the control group mostly still wanted the procedure? Report
A friend of my mum's had liposuction last year, and then again this year because the fat came back. She is completely unwilling to change her lifestyle, and says she'll go under the knife again when she needs it. Apparently, she couldn't lift anything for months after surgery. Surely, a little exercise is less pain and effort, no? Report
i have had problems on the operation table before like my heart stopped and it took them 28 minutes with the doc hand pumping my heart to get me back. but i still would have the lipo,pocket on the belly removed i guess its a matter of how bad you want it and why you want it. Report
I would rather have a breast reduction and a tummy tuck. Of course the lipo wouldn't be so invasive. Report
I would worry that it would come back after I had the surgery and all that money spent would be wasted. Report
So, WHEN I get down to my target weight, does that mean that all I need to do is keep the weight off for 7 years to kill off the fat cells and discourage new ones beyond what's healthy to have? If so, I could see the rationale in NOT considering surgery (which could take 7 years to pay or save up for anyways). Report
dont have the funds but if I did would take the chance that the fat got to my bottom where I need it Report
I had liposuction on my thighs 19 months ago. I am very happy with my results. Report
About 10 years ago I had liposuction done to my belly. My belly below the waist stuck out more than my bust, and I hated the look. I still have some loose skin in the area, but I don't mind, because I'm not into scanty attire. I LOVE the way my figure is proportioned now. I have never seen any noticable new fat deposits anywhere on my body...such as my belly on my upper arms...maybe my body just added on a cell here and a cell there! LOL!! I definitely feel that it was a worthwhile expense, and will do it again if I feel the need! Report
I'd consider it. I've always wanted a little liposuction done around my chin. I wouldn't be bothered if that amount of fat showed up somewhere else. No matter how much weight I lose, I have this little packet of fat that hangs around my chin. It's genetic. I see the same chin on my dad. Report
It grosses me out. Too expensive and too risky. But even when I was heavy I was proportioned decent enough. I carry most fat in my hips/thighs, I'm still balanced-looking, so I can't say what my opinion would be if I was terribly disproportioned.

It's certainly a personal decision. Report
I have thought about it before because I am apple-shaped and so my stomach has a ton of excess weight. As I've lost weight, it is getting smaller at a much lower rate than everything else. I can no longer do some of my favorite Pilates and yoga moves because of the pain I get from my tailbone poking out, and yet I'm still a size 10/12 because of my stomach! And of course, it's in the unhealthiest place to have the extra weight. Ugh.

I could never afford it, so it's not like I'm seriously thinking about it. But I do sometimes wish on bad days that my stomach would go away! Report
I used to weigh over 400 pounds. After gastric bypass surgery in 2007, I lost over 240 pounds, and had a LOT of excess skin, especially on my belly and thighs. I took out a personal loan and got a circumfrential abdominoplasty (tummy tuck with a body lift) and a thigh lift. During the two surgeries, I had to have liposuction so that my body would not look strange, just having the extra skin removed. I still have lots of cellulite, and I have no plans to go back and have more liposuction. I am just relieved of 10 extra pounds of skin that now allows me to fit better in my clothes and exercise without hindrance. Report
It is something I've considered off and on, but I doubt I ever will. Besides the risks of surgery and the expense, it would be just my luck that the fat would come back someplace worse. I have heard, however, that with some lipo patients the replacement fat deposits in their breasts, so it's like getting a bonus breast enlargement! Report
no i do not think that i would do this . to many risks Report
I have considered liposuction or mini - tummy tuck. I have lost over 50 pounds and can see the definition in my upper abs - but still have a roll or "pouch" in my lower belly and I'm concerned that it will never go away. Report
Considered it, but even Jilliam Michaels has cellulite ! Not worth the cost or the risks. Report
I have to admit that I have thought about lipo from time to time to help me get rid of the fat under my rear end and my arms. After weighing the costs and risks involved there is no way I will ever get this procedure. Too scary and obviously not a cure for fat. Report
Forget it then. If the fat will just come back somewhere else, there's no point. My body is nicely proportioned as is. I could not imagine my thighs on my stomach! Report
If I had the money, I would do it. I often feel like I am just spinning my wheels with trying to eat well and exercise. My thyroid makes it a struggle to not gain weight, let alone lose it. I can see where it would be pointless for someone who planned on just sitting on the couch eating bon bons, but if someone has changed their lifestyle, then it could be very encouraging to change their shape. Just because the cells are replenished through normal body cycles, they would not be the same as before, they would be back to their original baseline (I assume). Report
I was born with disproportionally large hips, butt and thighs. As a teen, I wore size small tops, and size 16-18pants. The waists gapped, even if they were elastic. As an adult who hated her body, eventually I grew to tops that were size 10-12, but needed pants to be size 26, and the extra material at the waist needed safety pins and belts. I had always felt like a cartoon. So I got lipo, and it was life changing. I can fit into the same size top and bottom now-around a 16-18. The down side is that there is much more cellulite, fat came into my arms and abs, and the front and back of my thighs. But I don't get selected to be searched every time I go to the airport anymore! I can get out of a chair with arms without the chair getting stuck on my hips and legs.I now look like a normal overweight person. I wouldn't have lipo a second time, because now what is needed is all over weight reduction. But even with the down side, I'll never regret having it to even myself out and feel normal. Report
No way would I ever consider this option. Report
I've never really seriously considered lipo. If I had a real problem area, and could afford it, I would probably have it done. Yes, even knowing that it's not permanent. You have to exercise and eat well. If lipo gives someone the boost they need to feel better, get past a plateau, who cares? Really, we need to stop worrying about what everyone else is doing. If someone wants lipo, let them pay for it and maybe they will alter their habits that accumulated the fat in the first place. If not, they enjoyed short term satisfaction. Report
Honestly I don't see lipo as cheating as I saw someone stated below. Yes there are ways to lose the weight faster - lipo is one of them but I'll still have to work to keep the weight off. And for people who've being overweight for most of their lives its a dream come true, I don't think its right to judge others for the path they have chosen. Report
i think i would be more interested in a tummy tuck and having my boobs fixed. Report
I can't imagine doing lipo--but I don't blame any one who does. Report
If an individual works hard to eat right and work out consistently, yet is still unhappy with the way they look? I think they've earned the right to take the next step. I've personally never had any surgery before but have worked for a plastic surgeon and seen the happiness and excitement people enjoy over finally acquiring the body they wanted. I'm not saying its right or wrong, but that each person should decide for themselves. It was a well written article but I felt it failed to address what kind of lifestyle the groups maintained following liposuction. Seeing the results in patients I must agree with Halogen. There's no guarantee an individual will regain any fat, especially if they continue to work hard and eat right. Report
I'd ask another question: Have you ever considered having liposuction if it were for free? Why or why not? ;)

Money is the only thing that stops me from any cosmetic surgery. It is expensive. And any surgery is not forever, sooner or later you'll have to get back and repeat it. Report
I don't think it's worth it at all!
It probably proves the old saying that you always want what you don't have... once the person had thinner thighs, they'd want toner arms, a flatter stomach, then a firmer butt.

We will always find imperfections within ourselves that we would like to change - that doesn't mean we should continously try to change them -- especially if it means that others are likely to appear.

Definitely not worth it, in my opinion. Report
hello. not all that was said is true. i had lipo remove my "saddle bags" over 15 yrs ago, and they never came back - and i also had the hips done. no problem either. but i have gained weight -so now my stomach seems to be where the fat cells are hanging out (ha) so that will be my next target place..will i look like Angelia Jolie ? but i can be a better looking bonnie. Report
I think it'd be fascinating for someone to do a similar study but with men and see what results show up. Personally, I'm uncomfortable with any form of "cheating" and no offense to those who have undergone it, but liposuction or laser-lipo or any of those treatments feel like cheating. If I have to work long and hard to get my body, I'm going to appreciate it that much more, and I'm going to treat it right to keep it that way. Yeah, it sucks sometimes, but in the end I'm going to be okay with having done all the extra work. Report
No, I wouldn't. I would love to get rid of my troublesome belly fat--I've been on sparks for 3 years now and work out regularly and watch what I eat, but I haven't had an inch budge at the waist (I've lost inches elsewhere, but not the waist). But I am really uncomfortable with any kind of surgery, especially an elective, cosmetic surgery. If I were to opt for an elective surgery, lasik would come first. Report
Sounds bad, but I'd still have it done if i could afford it. Report
I've often thought that it would be nice to be able to just suck away the fat from my body but I have never really thought seriously about having liposuction and since they have made this discovery...I haven't entertained the idea at all any more. For those that have already had it, I hope you have had better results...for those considering it...I think that it sounds might want to think again! Report
Our bodies are old. It's hard to outsmart them! Report
I have thought about lipo for my stubborn tummy area. Report
Sorry. double post Report
I never considered having liposuction, but I'm glad to know the results of this study. I thought liposuction results were permanent. Report
I had lipo when I was in my early 20's and just as the study found, the fat came back only in a different area. I probably would not opt for lipo if I had known it would come back. My fat is now in an area that is even harder to tighten and tone. But the good news is that it is easier to suck in now.;) Report
The article seems to neglect telling us whether the plastic surgery test group had changed their eating habits as well. If they are eating enough to maintain 60 lbs of fat, have 10lbs removed, then of course the body will stick the fat somewhere. I've lost 100lbs through diet and exercise and then had liposuction on the problem areas. I haven't noticed any fat returning and it's been 3 years. I highly doubt that the problem is with the body "remembering" how much fat was removed. I think it comes down to the diet and exercise choices of the individual. Report
Sadly I probably would still have been one of the test group who went back and got the procedure even after the results. Report
This is disheartening news, but I'd still get it if I had the funds. Report
This is very enlightening. I would never consider liposuction but that would be disheartening news for those who have had it done. Report
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