The Skinny on Weight Regain After Liposuction continued...
"The findings highlight the importance of exercise and a healthy diet even after liposuction to prevent a compensatory weight gain and maintain the results of the procedure," agrees Pankaj Tiwari, MD. He is an assistant professor of plastic surgery at the Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus.
"If you take fat from one area, your body compensates in other areas," Tiwari says. "We gain weight for metabolic reasons and those hormonal drivers are not changed by liposuction."
Exactly, says Lisa M. Donofrio, MD. She is an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn. Various studies have documented weight regain in various body parts following liposuction. "This is the first one that talks about regain of intra-abdominal fat," she says.
"Nobody really knows why this occurs, but the theory is that the body tries to maintain fat homeostasis," Donofrio says. This refers to the amount of fat needed to provide our bodies with energy.
Both Donofrio and Aston agree that the new study may have been too short to really get a handle on weight regain and distribution after liposuction.
Still, "we don't see many patients coming back with globs of fat in other areas of their body," says American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery President-elect Leo McCafferty, MD. "Most are in good shape and have spot areas that don't respond to diet and exercise."
He recommends that his patients start or restart an exercise regimen about six weeks after liposuction. "This really can enhance the results," he says.