Can You Get Rid of Fat Cells?

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A woman is running outside. (Image: wckiw/iStock/Getty Images)

Aside from liposuction, getting rid of fat cells is physically impossible. According to research conducted at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2008, the total number of fat cells in your body is determined in childhood and adolescence. When you reach adulthood, your fat cells can expand and contract based on a positive or negative calorie balance, but the actual number of fat cells doesn't change. Liposuction, on the other hand, physically removes fat cells from your body and can reduce your total number of fat cells.

Step 1

Sit down with a doctor to discuss whether or not you're a good candidate for liposuction. If you have a stable body weight and you're only hoping to tighten up some trouble spots, lipo might work for you. If you're looking for a way to lose weight or you've experienced recent weight gain or loss, liposuction probably isn't the way to go.

Step 2

Weigh the risks and benefits. Recognize that liposuction is selective cosmetic surgery that carries significant risks. There are possible risks like infections, temporary or permanent numbness, skin contour irregularities and even death as potential outcomes of lipo surgery.

Step 3

Look at your calendar. When undergoing liposuction you can expect to see full results within six months. While diet and exercise can't permanently remove fat cells the way that liposuction can, consider whether with proper diet and exercise you could whittle away the pounds in the same period of time without undergoing surgery.

Step 4

Save your money. Liposuction can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 depending on what you want done. Again, weigh the benefits and determine whether changes in diet and exercise could provide you with similar results that would cost you a fraction of the cost of surgery.

Step 5

Pick a qualified doctor to perform the surgery. Any licensed physician can perform liposuction, but you don't want just anyone performing your surgery. Make sure you choose a doctor who has had training in the procedure and has demonstrated success in this area.

Step 6

Schedule and undergo liposuction surgery.

Tip

If liposuction doesn't sound like the right choice for you, you can shrink fat cells by creating a calorie deficit: burning more calories than you take in. Make small changes to your diet and exercise habits and you could see results similar to those you would see from liposuction.

Educate yourself fully on liposuction before making the choice to undergo surgery.

Warning

Liposuction, as with all surgeries, carries risk. Make sure you understand the risks associated before going under the knife.

The results of liposuction are reversible. You may not gain the fat cells back, but you can create a caloric surplus that results in the expansion of your remaining fat cells. Continue to eat right and exercise following liposuction surgery.

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