When liposuction is NOT a solution

When liposuction is NOT a solution

01st Feb 2018

Any respectable and responsible plastic surgeon will tell you that liposuction is not for everyone, despite what the vast majority of people tend to think. A good plastic surgeon who cares about your wellbeing will also tell you that liposuction is not a solution for overweight or obese people to help them get rid of the excess weight.

If you are interested in undergoing liposuction, you should know that you might be the perfect candidate if you are in good health, in a stable emotional condition, and with good skin quality that will be able to retract to the new contours after the procedure (cellulite and stretch marks are usually signs of poor quality skin). Of course, there are also patients who don’t perfectly fit into these criteria and are still able to undergo liposuction. This only means that the ideal candidates are more likely to get impressive results after the procedure and avoid major complications compared to patients that are not perfect for the intervention.

During the consultation with your plastic surgeon, he will give you all the details about the procedure and also assess if you have the requirements that make you eligible for liposuction. After the evaluation is completed, the plastic surgeon will tell you if liposuction is the right solution for you or not. Here are a few cases when liposuction is NOT a solution:

1. The patient has sagging skin on the areas to be treated

The presence of sagging skin is not a contraindication to liposuction, generally speaking. The patient can still undergo the procedure and even enjoy the results. However, the sagging skin will be accentuated after liposuction, so the aesthetic results won’t be impressive. Some patients choose to do this because they are not interested in undergoing a more complex plastic surgery that will remove the excess skin and fat tissue at the same time, but they still want to get rid of localized fat deposits that can be annoying when wearing certain clothes. For example, a patient can have sagging skin on the thighs so the recommended procedure would be a thigh lift. However, the patient only wants to undergo a liposuction procedure to remove some of the fat pockets on the thighs so she can look better when dressed in jeans. These patient requirements are quite specific, and it is obvious that she knows exactly what she wants and has strong reasons behind it. Unfortunately, this is not the case with many other patients. Most people think that liposuction will automatically correct the sagging skin and this is false. Liposuction is not a solution that will provide improved aesthetic results if the skin in the area is already sagging.

2. The patient is obese

There are obese patients that avoid undergoing bariatric surgery because of the multitude of complications. They believe that liposuction is a good alternative that will provide them with the same results as bariatric surgery but with fewer risks and complications. Liposuction is NOT a solution for weight loss. It is not a substitute for bariatric surgery, a healthy diet or a physical exercise routine. Liposuction is the ideal treatment to complement the effects of the weight loss program because it will definitely reshape your body.

If the patient is obese, undergoing liposuction will only get rid of a small percentage of the amount of fat that he needs to lose. No more than 5-6 liters of fat can be removed during a liposuction session because life-threatening complications can occur. For someone who is 30-40 kg over the normal weight, 5 liters of fat won’t be visible. Moreover, the weight loss is not even noticeable after the liposuction procedure when the areas treated are swollen and bruised. The change is in centimeters and not on the scale after a liposuction. This is why liposuction is NOT a good solution for obese people. To be good candidates for liposuction, they would need to follow a weight loss program or undergo bariatric surgery before resorting to plastic surgery. And even in this case, the recommended treatment plan might be a body lift or a tummy tuck and not liposuction. The reason behind this is that after weight loss, patients tend to be confronted with a lot of sagginess and this can only be eliminated during a tummy tuck or body lift procedure.

3. The patient is not in a stable emotional condition

There are patients who desire to undergo a liposuction procedure because they want to adjust their body after a breakup or to prevent a break up. Undergoing plastic surgery is a very personal decision, and it should only be made to improve yourself and not to change how someone else thinks of you or sees you. There are patients, usually young women who have undergone multiple interventions, all with the purpose of making their partners happy. This is a wrong reason to undergo plastic surgery, whatever your desired procedure might be.

At the same time, there are patients that have an unrealistic self-image. They can see fat deposits and imperfections where there are none. They can be unhappy with the way they look due to an unstable mental condition and not real body imperfections. For these patients, we recommend specialized consultations before scheduling a plastic surgery procedure. The reality is that liposuction is NOT a good solution for people with emotional issues because it won’t make the issues disappear. Yes, the body’s contour will be improved, but the emotional state of the patient can stay the same or even get worse.

4. The patient wants to have a very small waist

In many cases, women want liposuction to be performed on the tummy because their dream is to achieve the perfect abdomen and a very small waist. However, liposuction can only do so much when it comes to narrowing your waist. First of all, the size of your waist is determined by the abdominal wall, the muscles, and the fat tissue. Even if we eliminate a considerable portion of the fat tissue on the tummy, the size of the abdominal wall will be the same. This means that with the help of liposuction you can get rid of most of the fat pockets on your tummy, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that your waist will get smaller. A tummy tuck is probably a better procedure when it comes to getting a small waist, and it provides better results when combined with liposuction on the flanks and fat transfer to the hips.

5. The patient is not in good health

Plastic surgery is usually performed on patients in very good health. However, it is traumatic for the body to undergo any type of surgical procedure, even something as minimally invasive as liposuction. When the patient is confronted with cardiovascular conditions or blood coagulation issues, liposuction might not be a good option for them. Discussing your medical history and health condition with your plastic surgeon is an essential step for the success of the intervention. Only after properly assessing your health condition can the plastic surgeon recommend liposuction or advise you to take a different path to achieving the results you desire.


Liposuction is not a “one size fits all” solution that anybody can resort to. While it is indeed a minimally invasive surgery with few contraindications, there are still plenty of cases when liposuction is not a solution (or the best solution) for the patient.

If you are considering liposuction because you want to lose weight, you should rethink your strategy. Liposuction only eliminates a part of the fat deposits localized in certain areas of the body at the subcutaneous level. This means that liposuction can’t help you get rid of the fat that is around your internal organs or inside the abdominal cavity. Moreover, there is a capping of 5-6 liters of fat that can be safely removed during one session of liposuction. For an obese patient, this doesn’t mean much.

For patients thinking that liposuction will help them achieve a small waist, they might be wrong too. The recommendation for patients who are looking to get the most wanted hourglass figure. This comprises of a tummy tuck which will tighten their stomach muscles while also eliminating excess skin and fat. Combined with liposuction on the flanks and upper abdomen, the fat will then be transferred to the hips. This will give the impression of a smaller waist.

Liposuction can be performed on people of all ages. However, the younger the patient, the more the skin is able to retract to the new contours.

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