Liposuction is designed for patients who desire to have small-to-moderate areas of fat reduced. The location of fat is one determining factor in whether a person is a good liposuction candidate. For example, many people tend to have excess fat around their abdomen. If the fat is intra-abdominal fat (fatty tissue around the internal organs), it is not treatable with lipoplasty. However, fat that is under the skin but on top of the abdominal muscles can be successfully removed with liposuction. In general, fat that is concentrated in a bulge is easier to suction out than fat that is spread over a large area of the body. Patients who have discrete areas of unwanted fat in the tummy, waist, back, thighs and buttocks are usually good candidates.

Does Weight Matter?

Being moderately overweight (if you are otherwise physically fit and in good health) does not preclude you from being a candidate for liposuction since the risk of significant complications only rises substantially if you are obese. However, your results will generally be less noticeable than in patients who are close to their ideal body weight. For example, if you are 20 pounds overweight, liposuction that removes a couple of pounds of fat probably won’t make you lose a dress size. It may simply smooth out a bulge or two and make your existing clothes fit better.

It’s important to have a stable body weight before pursuing lipoplasty. Patients of any body size who go on to gain a substantial amount of weight will not maintain the effects of their liposuction surgery. This includes weight gain and changes in body shape associated with pregnancy. Repeated cycles of weight gain and weight loss (such as from yo-yo dieting) can have an unwanted impact on the outcome of liposuction as well. If you plan to lose more weight, it’s a good idea to delay lipo surgery until you have reached your goal weight.

Realistic Expectations are Crucial

Only patients who have a realistic attitude regarding what lipoplasty can and can’t do are good liposuction candidates. Although this surgery is very popular, many patients end up disappointed with their outcome. This is usually because they do not fully understand the limitations of the procedure. The most common complaints are that the amount of fat removed was insufficient and that their skin does not look smooth enough after the procedure. Ironically, removing too much fat at a time (especially when using a large cannula) often contributes to skin irregularity. Taking out less fat with a smaller cannula may offer more even results — although there will be less reduction in inches. These are some trade-offs patients should be aware of when deciding what areas they want treated and how much fat to have removed with liposuction.

Age and Sex

Both men and women can be good liposuction candidates as long as they fit the other criteria for the procedure. There is no upper age limit on this procedure as long as a patient is in good health and not taking medications that might complicate surgery. However, since skin elasticity and tone tends to degrade with age, older patients often have less optimal results. This can include skin dimpling and other problems with uneven contours. Each patient is evaluated on a case-by-case basis to see if their skin is in good enough condition to respond well after liposuction.

Who Should Not Have Liposuction?

  • Individuals who want to use liposuction as a substitute for weight loss
  • Smokers
  • People with poor skin elasticity
  • Patients with medical conditions that could cause surgical
  • complications or poor wound healing

  • Those taking medications that could cause excessive bleeding or drugs that could interact with Lidocaine (the local anesthetic used in liposuction)
  • Anyone who has unrealistic expectations regarding the typical results of the procedure