April 10, 2013
Pat McGuire, MD
St. Louis, MO
Dr. Pat McGuire, a board certified plastic surgeon from St. Louis, Missouri explains how women can maximize their results after liposuction or a tummy tuck procedure, and she answers the popular question— “What happens if I gain weight after liposuction?”
Patients should start to maximize his/her results BEFORE their cosmetic body contouring procedures. They should get as close as they can to their ideal body weight, eat a healthy diet, quit smoking, and exercise regularly.
After body contouring, patients should be up walking to get their blood circulating and lower the risk of blood clots. All surgeons have different recommendations for activity and exercise after liposuction and abdominoplasty. I believe in an active recovery and, especially after liposuction, an early return to exercise. How quickly you can return will depend on your pre-operative fitness and the extent of your procedure.
What about diet?
Everyone has different dietary requirements and this obviously would be different with food allergies and sensitivities. I recommend a high protein, good carbohydrate diet.
- Lean protein, such as turkey, pork and chicken
- Fresh vegetables
- Fresh fruits
You won’t be as active early after surgery, so be careful about the number of calories you take in. It’s easy to sit on the couch and eat junk while you are recovering from surgery. Take a different approach and think about every thing you eat before you put it in your mouth. Use a food diary, I use one that is one my iPhone and track my calories every day. I pack all of my food in an insulated lunch box and bring it with me every day, that takes away my choices, which aren’t always good. You need to eat breakfast every morning and bring a healthy lunch with good snacks. It takes a little extra time and planning, but is well worth it.
What else can you do?
Many studies show that people who lose weight and keep it off have 2 things in common:
- Keep a food diary of what you’ve had and what you’ll eat. Make a schedule for both when and how much you eat, and what you’re going to have. Plan accordingly for the week at the grocery store.
- Weigh yourself regularly. See what changes in your food diary have had on your weight. By doing this, you can realize what kept the weight off and what put it on. This will help you to find good, tasty food that will also hold off the weight!
You won’t lose a significant amount of weight from your surgery. Liposuction and abdominoplasty do not change your weight, they change your shape. You can enhance your results by getting to a healthy weight and maintaining it!
What happens if I gain weight after liposuction?
The fat cells removed from liposuction are gone. We suck them out and throw them in the trashcan, but the fat cells left behind can get bigger. The most likely outcome of significant weight gain after body contouring is weight gain in other parts of the body. We have removed fat cells from the area where you had the highest concentration before surgery. After surgery, that may no longer be the location where you will gain fat first, it may go to a new area. The key is don’t gain weight!
THE BOTTOM LINE
With a reasonable diet exercise program, body contouring will give you a permanent change. The most important factor is your diet. You are ultimately responsible for the result of your surgery. Work together with your doctor and take responsibility for what you eat and you will get great results from your surgery!