Can Fat Return after Liposuction?

Anyone that invests time or money into liposuction is wise to consider how long the results last. Reputable plastic surgeons appreciate when patients ask questions about the longevity of liposuction, because it shows they are being realistic about the treatment outcomes. Dr. Joshua Greenwald, who performs liposuction in New York City, has been asked many times whether fat can return after liposuction. Read on as he addresses the answer to this query.

Fat Cannot “Grow Back”

After reaching adulthood, your body does not create more fat cells. Gaining or losing weight simply changes the size of the existing fat cells. If you gain weight, your fat cells enlarge. If you lose weight, the fat cells shrink.

During liposuction, Dr. Greenwald breaks up unwanted fat in an isolated area of the body (e.g., the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, hips, back, arms). He uses a special instrument called a cannula to gently suction the fat cells from the body. Although Dr. Greenwald reduces the amount of fat cells in the treated area— enough to create noticeable results — he does not remove every single fat cell. In order to maintain a smooth body contour in the treated area, he must leave a thin layer of fat cells.

Once fat cells have been removed from the body, they cannot grow back and new fat cells cannot develop. But what can happen by gaining weight after liposuction is that the remaining fat cells get bigger. This is why it is so crucial to be vigilant about maintaining a stable weight after liposuction. Having liposuction does not prevent you from gaining weight, in turn diminishing or reversing some of your results.

The Key to Maintaining Liposuction Results Long-Term

Maintaining your liposuction results hinges on practicing healthy habits. Take in fewer calories than you burn by eating a balanced, healthy diet, practicing portion control and exercising regularly. Do not smoke, and drink only in moderation. It’s also helpful to get plenty of sleep and minimize sources of stress to maximize your chances of maintaining your weight.

The happiest liposuction patients are those that stay within 5 to 10 pounds of their weight at the time of their liposuction surgery.

Contact Dr. Greenwald

If you have additional questions on how to maintain liposuction results, Dr. Greenwald invites you to contact our practice. Please call or email us today.


Dr. Joshua Greenwald is a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City who studied and trained at prestigious educational institutions including Columbia University, Emory University, and New York University School of Medicine. His keen aesthetic eye and refined surgical techniques have led him to be a top choice for cosmetic face, breast, and body procedures in NYC. His exceptional patient care has earned him the distinction of “Top Doc” by both Westchester Magazine and Castle & Connolly for over 10 years running. Dr. Greenwald is an active member of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the American Medical Association, and the Westchester County Medical Society.