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Liposuction for Losing Inches Safe Despite Being Overweight?

I am considering a form of liposuction to lose inches. I am overweight and have been working out, dieting and seeing a dietitian, but it seems most of my weight issues are in the trouble areas (Hips, Butt, and Tummy) and I can not for the life of me lose the weight/inches. I do not want lipo to lose weight. I know that is not the point of it, but I want to lose some inches in my abdominal area, butt area, and hips/thighs.

Is this possible and if so is it safe even if I am overweight (but healthy in every other aspect of my life)?

Doctor Answers 14

Liposuction to help lose inches

Liposuction as you stated is not a weigh loss procedure.  It is a contouring or shaping procedure.  Liposuction can be done on your problem areas to help you lose inches as long as you are healthy.  Liposuction will still help you improve your shape even if you are overweight.  Continuing to lose weight and doing plenty of exercise will only help to accent your results.  Good Luck!


Tampa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 73 reviews

Lipo vs Vanquish to lose a few inches

You are correct, #Liposuction is not a weight loss procedure (though you do lose weight). In your case you might want to consider a hybrid approach - lose weight by diet and exercise and when you get to a point where it doesn't seem to want to come off more then consider this procedure. Obesity carries added risk with surgery and this should be discussed with your plastic surgeon. In California a maximum of  5000 cc (about 11 pounds) can be removed as an outpatient. If you do not change your lifestyle it is likely to come back. Only see a board certified plastic surgeon for the best result and for safety.

If it is just a few inches you want to change consider non invasive methods with negligible risk such as #Vanquish

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Better to be normal and stable BMI

In general, it is best to achieve a normal and steady BMI before undergoing liposuction because it's safer for you and you'll achieve better results. However, if you are deemed a candidate because you are relatively healthy, then the procedure can help you lose inches, but it would be difficult to say how many and if it would be enough to achieve your expectations. 

Yes, liposuction can be used to reduce volume of fat and therefore "inches"

Hello Megs,

It sounds like you would like to pursue liposuction as a form of body contouring to reshape certain parts of your body as well as to decrease the size or circumference of areas of your body.  In this regard, liposuction can be used effectively.  The type of liposuction is not as important as the plastic surgeon performing it.  I would obtain a few consultations with board certified plastic surgeons and discuss your body contouring goals.

All the best,

Dr. Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 125 reviews

Lipo to remove inches

Lipo is not a weight loss procedure as you have mentioned.  However, lipo is for moderate sculpting which could help improve your shape. The answer to your question lies in if you want an improved shape or just loss of inches. After lipo you will gain inches and as the swelling subsides you will trim down. Further, there is an issue of skin quality. Removing fat without having good elastic skin will just leave sagging skin devoid of fat.See a BC plastic surgeon for a real evaluation.

Post liposuction

Possibly, but you also don’t want the fat to return quickly if your metabolism is such that you burn fewer calories than usual on a day to day basis. You should have a consultation with a nutritionist to carefully and honestly examine your caloric daily intake and manage this before surgery so that postoperatively you maintain the fat reduction. The volume removed needs to be of a safe amount and depending on how much is to be removed, the surgeon may recommend that it is done as more than one procedure.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Liposuction is safer if you don't do it under general anesthesia

Liposuction should be just fine for you to do and is a great motivator to continue to lose weight and exercise when you see the difference liposuction makes. Go ahead and get it done. You will be so happy you did.

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Liposuction for body contouring

It really depends on what you mean by overweight. It will help contour areas and allow a nicer shape to your overall body but it all depends on how much overweight you are. There is a limit to how much liposuction can be done as an outpatient and that needs to be kept in mind.

Hope that answers your questions.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Liposuction to contour

Yes, liposuction can contour problem areas, but you are probably better off losing the weight that you want first, and then treating the problem areas.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Liposuction for losing inches in overweight patient

Dear Meg,

As I understand your question - you are asking if it may be safe to have liposuction NOT as an obesity cure but rather to remove away a few inches.

Liposuction is generally a very safe procedure IF you have no underlying silent medical conditions AND if the amount of actual fat removed is under 5 liters (4.4 imperial Quarts). Once we suction more than this, further care needs to be instituted (IV, observation etc).

THE question therefore is HOW much will removal of 5 liters of fat from you translate into inches? Hard to guess. But - if you were willing to do it in stages - for example doing tummy one time. When you are recovered do the back / hips - there is no reason why you should not have it done this way.

You may wish to ask this directly of Dr. Rand who practices in the Seattle area, has a great reputation and is a frequent contributor to this website.

Good Luck.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.