Gastric Bypass versus Liposuction - Which one is better?

Over the last year I've gained 35 pounds due to unhealthy eating and lack of exercise, and I've started feeling embarrassed whenever I try on my old clothes and realize how much my body has changed. I know Gastric Bypass is a long term solution, but it’s scary to think that your stomach will be made smaller and you’ll have to live with it for the rest of your life. Liposuction has immediate results, which is comforting. 


F, 36, Delaware

Dear Suzanne, 

Asking whether a gastric bypass or liposuction is better is akin to asking whether it is better to fill a cavity or yank out the tooth. The two procedures are only distantly related and they are done for entirely different reasons. It would be, pardon my bluntness, insane to undergo a gastric bypass for a 35 pound weight gain and I would seriously question the judgement of any health care provider who would even suggest this. Except under rare and extreme conditions, liposuction which, as the name implies, is a procedure to suck out fat, is not a weight loss procedure. It is done to contour the body and remove unsightly bulges that cannot be eliminated by exercise and diet alone. Gastric bypass is a radical procedure that permanently alters your body's gastrointestinal tract and how it processes food you eat. As you said, you will live with the consequences forever. Better to recognize that you have put on weight due to unhealthy habits and change those. You will reap the rewards of restoring discipline to your diet and lifestyle without the expense and risk of any surgery and will be way better off. If you get to the place where your weight is again healthy and you feel fit, and still have a contour bulge (hip, tummy, thigh, etc.) that simply will not go away, then liposuction would be something to consider.

Good luck with many these changes. Many have done this. Seek out your primary care physician for help, enlist a friend to join you on your journey, find a gym and get a personal trained to devise an exercise program that you can do and will enjoy. Start paying attention to what goes in your mouth. 


Richard T. Bosshardt, MD, FACS 


Liposuction is not designed for weight loss.  Liposuction is a tool designed to reduce fat deposits that do NOT respond to diet and exercise. Gastric bypass is designed for patients who have an excess of 100 lbs over their ideal body weight; excess weight that will not respond to diet and exercise. The key is first try to loose the weight.  

Just with any journey; take it one step at a time.  Seek wise council.  Take friends along with you on the journey.  You gained 35 lbs over a year period of time.  It will take at least a year to loose the same amount of weight.  Gastric bypass is not the first step.  Weight watchers is a great starting place for your journey.  Find cheer leaders and accountability partners.  Once you loose the excess weight, use liposuction to buff and contour the areas of fat that will not respond to weight loss.  Wishing you much success. 

Remember liposuction is not a weight loss procedure, it will reduce fat in target areas. It is still best to be as close to your ideal body weight when having a liposuction procdure.


Gastric bypass and massive weight loss surgery is an option for morbidly obese patients that have significant health risk on account of their weight. Liposuction is a cosmetic procedure to improve your body shape and contour and not a weight loss operation. Happy Holidays!