A recent study published in Obesity by Hernandez et al suggests that fat returns after liposuction. The subjects were instructed to not change their lifestyle in the year following liposuction. It was found that their body fat percentage returned to baseline after a year.
The biggest flaw with the study is that patients who were seeking liposuction for body contouring were instructed to maintain their lifestyle. If they collected undesirable fat before the procedure, they are likely adding fat gradually at their baseline. If they do nothing to change this via exercise or diet after the surgery, then yes, they will gain fat in other areas, but to a lesser degree in the treated area as those fat cells were removed. Liposuction is not a lifestyle cure and it is not designed to reduce weight, and liposuction patients should be counseled on this.
So if you gained fat around your waist over a period of 5 years and you have liposuction and change nothing else in your life will you regain some fat? Yes. If you adopt a more healthy diet and partake in moderate exercise 5 days per week will you regain some fat? It’s less likely.