Everything you Need to Know about Liposuction vs Bariatric Surgery

Reviewed by: | Author: Manoja Kalakanti

When it comes to weight loss, we are often bothered by the question, “Will I ever be able to lose weight?” and then we wonder, how can we lose it and lose it for good? Diet and exercise works, but only to a certain limit. What if you want to lose a great amount of weight and nothing seems to be working?


The answer to that question is weight loss surgery. Namely, Liposuction and/or bariatric surgery. Let us delve deep and find out more about these two surgeries.

What is Liposuction and What is Bariatric Surgery?

Liposuction is an instant gratification cosmetic procedure which is targeted to remove the existing fat, but does not address the causes leading to the patient’s weight gain.

You do lose weight and inches with liposuction, but it is not a permanent solution. It is a kind of surgery more suited to individuals struggling with stubborn fat that refuses to respond to the combination of diet and exercise.

So basically, it does not provide a permanent solution to obesity.


Bariatric surgeries such as the Gastric Sleeve and Lap-Band Gastric Bypass not only address the cause of the excess fat, but also remove fat permanently. This kind of surgery is especially recommended for people who have a BMI over 30 and are severely obese.

They also suffer from various chronic diseases like type 2, diseases and bariatric surgery can help individuals put such diseases in remission. So with this surgery, you manage to lose weight and also keep it off.

Liposuction is a cosmetic surgery through which fat is removed from different parts of the body. It makes use of a suction device inserted through small incisions made on the desired part of the body. On the other hand, bariatric surgery is a surgery performed on the stomach or the intestine. It is meant for obese people and mainly works by reducing the appetite.

The Differences between Liposuction and Bariatric Surgery

Liposuction is a cosmetic surgery great for removing the excessive fatty tissue just under the skin by a suction procedure.

1. The chief aim of the surgery is to target the fat protruding from local areas, so it can hardly control your weight. In other words, it is not a treatment of obesity.


On the other hand, bariatric surgery is a surgery which is primarily used as a weight loss tool. It is done by limiting the food intake and reducing the absorption of food in the intestines and stomach.

2. The surgery is performed by making small incisions. A thin hollow tube, known as the cannula, is inserted to remove the excess fat. The cannula is then used, with the help of a back and forth motion, to loosen the fat lying under your skin.

Later, the fat dislodged by the tube, is then suctioned out with the help of surgical syringe or vacuum. This surgery is usually performed to remove fat from body parts like abdomen, back, upper arms, knees, thighs, chin, and hips. The different types of liposuction are tumescent, ultrasound, laser assisted and power assisted.

On the other hand, bariatric surgery is a surgery primarily used as a weight loss tool. It is done by limiting the food intake and reducing the absorption of food in the intestines and stomach.

It also makes drastic changes in the digestion process, and therefore the body absorbs lesser number of calories and nutrients.


There are various types of bariatric surgery techniques to choose from, like sleeve gastrostomy, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, and adjustable gastric band.

The methods are each different from the other. In the adjustable gastric band, a band is put around the top portion of the stomach. This way, the stomach is incapable of retaining large quantities of food.

In a Roux-en-Y bypass, a small pouch is made on the top part of the stomach by stapling it. The route to the digestive track and the link from the small pouch is changed, as the new stomach is connected to the mid-portion of the small intestine.


In sleeve gastrostomy, the stomach is reshaped and resized into a long tube, which constricts the size and therefore decreases the food holding capacity.

So instead of taking the liposuction vs. bariatric surgery battle further, let’s find out what are the actual differences between the two.

3. The chief difference between bariatric surgery and liposuction surgery, is that liposuction is primarily defined as a cosmetic surgery, which is perfect to remove far from certain localized areas.

On the other hand, bariatric surgery is primarily a weight loss operation, which is done by operating on the stomach. Bariatric surgery is perfect for obese people.

4. Liposuction is performed only on a few areas of the body particularly ridden by fat, whereas bariatric surgery is performed on the stomach and the intestine.


Expenses wise, bariatric surgery is more expensive than liposuction. However, the cost of these procedures differs from one another in many ways. It also depends on the kind of techniques used, and particularly, in the case of liposuction, the cost varies according to the number of areas covered.

5. People who have undergone liposuction can gain back all the fat they have lost if they are not careful about their lifestyle.

Bariatric surgery, on the other hand, is considered a permanent weight loss tool, although certain restrictions have to be followed and maintained by the patients for the rest of their lives.

Some After Care Tips Post Liposuction

So, should you go for liposuction or Bariatric Surgery? If you are plagued by conflicting thoughts, then this detailed list of do’s and don’ts can help you decide.



  • Find about more about the operation- Going for a major surgery needs certain planning and especially a major surgery like liposuction. Choose the right dermatologist at a reputable clinic, this is half the job done. To have complication-free experience, you need to pay more attention to this nitty-gritty.
  • Try to maintain a healthy weight before the surgery- Liposuction is a surgery for contouring the body and draining out the stubborn fat from the areas such as the abdomen, thighs, arms or neck. To get the best result, the patient must be as close to their normal-weight as possible and must possess firm, elastic skin. This procedure shouldn’t be compared to a weight loss surgery because it is certainly not a weight loss procedure.


  • Consider your options- There are several kinds of liposuction surgery. Tumescent liposuction, is one of the safest procedures. The surgery uses local anesthesia, and the fat is injected with a large amount of anesthetic liquid, to make it firm. This makes the removal of fat fairly easy and painless; and the patients are less bruised.

Ultrasonic and the laser-assisted liposuction techniques liquefy the fat upon removal, thus making recovery time much quicker. So, before you think of considering undergoing liposuction surgery, you must consult your doctor and come to a decision.


  • Don’t ignore your post-operative care- After every surgery, you will be handed out a list of do’s and don’ts, so that your path to recovery is smooth, and you don’t face any complications.

Light to moderate physical activity, such as gentle walking the following day, right after the surgery may reduce the risk of blood-clotting. Also, you may be given a compression garment to be worn around the area treated, to bring down the swelling.


  • Do not expect a miracle recovery- You might look visibly better immediately after a procedure, but the final result will take time to show. So you need to be patient and wait for the results to show.
  • Don’t stop yourself from asking pertinent questions- If you have a list of questions, you should feel free to ask them. The questions will help you understand the process better. Just don’t be scared to ask questions, as the more you know, the better it is!

Also, if you are on a particular supplement or medication, you need to reveal the same to your doctor, as he/she will list out which ones to continue and which ones to stop.

A Few Post Care Tips to Follow after a Bariatric Surgery

A bariatric surgery is a major procedure, and you should take steps to ease your way into recovery and recuperation. Since lifestyle post the surgery completely changes, it will be difficult to keep up with it. But with time, things fall into place with ease.


  • Chew slowly, eat mindfully- Enjoy each morsel of your food and eat mindfully. The meal times can get stretched, but you will understand better when you are full and when you should put your fork down.
  • Make sure you take your supplements and vitamins- Your stomach will be considerably sized down and will have difficulty in absorbing the nutrients required after the surgery. So, do ensure you take multivitamin tablets and supplements to fulfill your requirement for vitamins and minerals.


  • Skip alcohol- After the surgery, you need to eat foods which are nutrient dense and stay away from alcohol, which is high in calories and low in nutrients.
  • Eat foods with high protein content- Proteins are known as the building blocks of your body and are needed more after a major operation like bariatric surgery. This is something which your doctor and nutritionist will advise you to do. Protein will certainly help you to recover better.


  • Don’t push yourself to eat too much- If you eat too much, it can cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, so you need to listen to what your body has to say, and stop when you are too full.
  • Don’t drink between meals, and if you do happen to drink, don’t gulp it down.
  • Don’t drink anything while eating- Drinking helps the food travel to your intestine from your stomach pouch. Since your stomach is really small, liquids will kill your hunger pangs and you won’t be able to fulfill your nutritional needs.
  • Stay away from aerated drinks- Carbonated beverages causes an upset stomach, and you feel way too full for your own comfort. So steer clear of them, as your post-surgery diet must be as nutrient dense as possible.
  • Avoid fats, carbohydrates, and sugars- Foods like carbohydrates and sugars fill your stomach quickly; yet after some time you may still feel hungry, and you might end up eating again. This causes diarrhea or vomiting.

Avoid eating packaged and processed food

  • Take time in introducing new foods- Since your diet is drastically reduced, you need to take care that you don’t overload on new foods all at once. Since you are mostly on a liquid diet after a bariatric surgery, it will take time for your stomach to get used to all the normal foods, once introduced back to your diet.
  • Do not skip meals- Don’t harbor any thought of skipping meals. You need to keep fueling your body and increase the metabolism. It will deprive your body of the requisite nutrients.
  • Don’t eat foods that cause discomfort- Some foods can cause discomfort, so avoid eating them. Try and pay heed to what message your body is conveying to you. If your body feels even the slightest discomfort, stop having those kinds of foods right away.

Eating right is very necessary after a bariatric surgery. Consult your doctor and nutritionist to chalk out a balanced eating plan right after a gastric sleeve surgery. Take baby steps towards health and fitness. You might experience some side-effects after a surgery like this, but with time and patience the symptoms will gradually ebb away, and you will be able to embrace a completely new and healthy lifestyle.


Both the surgeries fulfill different requirements, so you need to be clear as to exactly why you need the particular surgery and discuss the same with your doctor.

Once you take the plunge, you need to ensure that you need to eat right and exercise and stay on the healthy path, to avoid any side-effects. Monitor your diet and stay true to it as much as possible. Only then, you will be able to stave off weight gain and reap the actual benefits of a weight loss surgery.

Liposuction Vs Bariatric Surgery – Which to Choose and Why? – PDF

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