What is Lipolysis

Dr. Atul Kesarwani is the medical director of the Cosmedical Rejuvenation Clinic. As a board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Kesarwani has 30+ years of experience in the field. Read more about Dr. Kesarwani >


What is Lipolysis

LIPO (fat) + LYSIS (decomposition or breakdown)

Lipolysis is a technical term that refers to when a fat cell reduces the amount of fat that it stores. This stored fat is actually made up of droplets of triacylglycerols (also known as triglycerides). When fat triacylglycerols are broken down, they end up as glycerol and free fatty acids (FFAs) which are both processed by the body as energy.

When more triacylglycerols are formed, the membrane of a fat cell can expand to accommodate it. Conversely, when fewer triacylglycerols exist, the membrane shrinks. Therefore, when you lose weight, the fat cells are actually shrinking rather than getting destroyed or reducing in number. The same goes for when you gain weight. The fat cells don't increase in number. Rather, they only increase in size. The only exception to this rule is when you gain weight during childhood or gain a massive amount of weight in adulthood.

That means you’ll always have roughly the same number of fat cells in adulthood — unless, of course, you remove them with a surgical technique such as liposuction or a tummy tuck, or melt them away with a nonsurgical technology like SculpSure. These techniques are really the only way to reduce the actual number of fat cells in your body.

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If you have any questions or concerns, or would like to book an appointment with our head plastic surgeon, Dr. Atul Kesarwani, or facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Priya Kesarwani, please fill out this form and we will respond shortly.