Is Liposuction Right for You? Determining Ideal Candidates

Is Liposuction Right for You? Determining Ideal Candidates

What is Liposuction?

Liposuction is a popular and common procedure where a plastic surgeon removes localized fat areas that are resistant to diet and exercise, giving the patient a toned, smooth, and aesthetically pleasing appearance. Though liposuction is a simple procedure, it requires the skills and experience of a board-certified plastic surgeon to do it safely and effectively, and to avoid future complications.

Who is Not a Good Candidate for Liposuction?

While liposuction is a common procedure, not everyone is an ideal candidate. You may not be an ideal candidate if:

High BMI

Body Mass Index (BMI) calculation is derived from height and weight and contributes to the decision-making process for those considering liposuction. Elevated BMIs correlate with heightened surgical complications. Research indicates that individuals with a BMI exceeding 40 are more susceptibile to complications compared to those with normal BMI levels. Here is a rough guide to determine if your BMI is too high for successful liposuction:

  • BMI < 30 – This is the ideal BMI for a candidate for liposuction.
  • BMI 30-40 – This candidate may qualify, but may see better results by first achieving target weight.       
  • BMI > 40 – This is not an ideal candidate. Those who fall in this level are advised to reduce BMI by enrolling in a weight loss program or medically-supervised semaglutide injections.

Please remember that BMI doesn’t take account of genetics, lifestyle choices, fat and muscle distribution. Therefore, the thresholds and considerations above do not apply to everyone. It’s always recommended for you to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon before making an informed decision.

You’re Desires Exceed the Recommended Amount of Fat to Be Removed

The experts at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons recommend that no more than 5,000 cc (5 liters) of fat and fluid are removed in a liposuction procedure. This is referred to as large volume liposuction. This recommendation is based on in-depth studies of post-operative liposuction patients and show that the risks are too great when more than 5 liters is liposuctioned from a patient at a single setting. Most plastic surgeons will adhere to the guidelines set by the ASPS, and some states have enacted laws supporting this.

You Have Skin Elasticity Problems 

While liposuction removes excess fat, this is only one part of creating an aesthetically pleasing contour. Your skin must shrink back to the newly reduced surface area, or it will not be a pleasing result and will look like a deflated balloon.

Women who are young and have not experienced pregnancy have a higher chance of having elastic skin that springs back after liposuction. However, women who have given birth or are older may not have the best skin elasticity. Additionally, liposuction alone will not remove the bumpy appearance of cellulite. Those with a history of keloid scarring are also at higher-than-average risk of developing more scars after liposuction.

While liposuction cannot fix sagging skin or cellulite, these issues can be addressed by combining liposuction with non-surgical or surgical skin tightening procedures.

Health Issues

As with any surgery, it is necessary to have good health to have the best chance at success. Patients who have serious medical problems, like lung disease, heart disease, or other serious medical issues, may not be good candidates. Smokers or those who vape are also more likely to have complications with liposuction.

What Happens if Someone Who Isn’t a Good Liposuction Candidate Undergoes the Procedure Anyway?

It is important to know that liposuction is not a short cut to weight loss. If you are not a good candidate and undergo the procedure anyway, you can experience:

  • Contour irregularities, including bumpy, wavy or withered skin due to uneven fat removal
  • Poor skin elasticity
  • Scarring
  • Crepey or saggy skin

Unfortunately, these unwanted results could be permanent.

Are There Other Options?

While liposuction can remove unwanted fat and provide your body with aesthetically pleasing contours, other procedures can deliver these results, too. Patients who have undergone pregnancy and/or have lost a lot of weight might benefit from a tummy tuck in addition to liposuction. This is sometimes referred to as a “lipoabdominoplasty”.

If you want to enjoy the effects of liposuction without surgery, there are options like CoolSculpting. This procedure uses cooling paddles over the treatment area to freeze the fat cells. These are eliminated through metabolic processes over the next several months.

Or if you would like to reduce fat while increasing your muscle mass by up to 25% (in treated areas), Emsculpt NEO is a great option. Lastly, if your area of concern is the submental area, also known as “double-chin”, you may wish to consider Kybella injections, a highly effective non-invasive treatment that is FDA-cleared for chin fat reduction.

There are a number of options, depending on your needs. Because each patient is unique, it’s important to speak with a knowledgeable and skilled surgeon like those at The Aesthetic Centers. Call today to schedule your personalized consultation.

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