Lipo in thin/fit patient vs fat/obese patient? (photo)

I am 32/f, very fit and healthy. I train 5x/week and have a very clean diet - no junk what-so-ever. Yet, I have this small "belly".. My Dr. said I would need to lose "an undesirable amount of weight" to lose the belly.. I have heard that liposuction on fit women require more liposculpting need to go to a surgeon with more experience than your average run of the mill lipo on an obese patient.. So does it require more experience for a thin fit patient requiring lipo vs a fat obese patient?

Doctor Answers 9

Liposuction in a Thin, Fit Female

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I have seen a number of physically fit women and men who have a small area of fat that just won't go away, despite regular exercise and a healthy diet.  As long as the overlying skin is firm, which it certainly seems to be in your photos, then a careful liposuction can reduce this bulge nicely and create a smoother abdomen.  The surgeon must remove the fat conservatively in order to avoid a depression.  An area of this size could be done using local anesthesia (numbing medicine) with or without sedation.  Whether the patient is thin or heavier, liposuction always requires great care to avoid problems and to achieve the best result for the patient.  Seek out a board certified plastic surgeon who has experience with liposuction.

West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Liposuction in a thin and fit patient requires an expert plastic surgeon

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Thank you for your question and photograph.  Your absolutely right attempting to do liposuction in a thin fit person like you  requires great care, grade experience, an excellent technique.  The concern is that you have very little fat to be removed and if the surgeon removed fat to close to the skin you will have depressions, wavy lines or contour deformities which will rule in the appearance of your abdomen.

I suggest you consult a plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, experienced in liposuction surgery, and who has an excellent reputation in the community.

In cyst on seeing before and after photographs of patients that the surgeon has perform liposuction on and who are thin and fit like you.  You should evaluate the photographs carefully looking for any skin irregularities.

Liposuction in a thin patient

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Liposuction is difficult in all patients, probably more difficult in heavy patients. When people talk about liposculpture what they really mean is superficial liposuction. If you're doing deep liposuction any irregularities in the liposuction will not show through the skin because a layer of fat hiding those irregularities. When you liposuction very close to the skin any irregularity will show.

Superficial liposuction is the only way to get skin contraction. If you're doing only deep liposuction the skin will never contract. So in order to get skin contraction you must do superficial liposuction correctly. In heavy patients skin contraction is a requirement so in order to make a remarkable change you must do superficial liposuction correctly. In a thin patient you're always doing superficial liposuction so again you are obligated to do it correctly. In a thin patient with good skin tone the skin will contract better than a heavy person with poor skin tone. So in thin patients enhancing the six-pack look gives a much better result than a heavy patient.

I've done liposuction and fat transfers in thin patients under 110 pounds made a change in their shape and had good results. Liposuction is not limited to heavy patients.

Wendell Perry, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 234 reviews

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Liposuction is an art form

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In a case like yours the surgeon should posses the mind and skill of an artist. They are going to take a very nice looking body and try to make it better! When performing liposuction on someone who is heavy many surgeons feel that "anything is an improvement". I believe that it is not what you remove but what you "leave behind" that is what matters. Trying to get an improvement on your abdomen will require careful and detailed discussions between you and your surgeons to go over options and possible complications. These discussions will help you decide on the plan AND the surgeon you choose.  Good luck!

Manuel M. Pena, MD
Naples Plastic Surgeon

Lipo in thin people

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This is true.There is NO substitute for experince.It is something you can't read about.The less fatty tissue there is the smaller the cannulas should be to lipo to minimize the risks of grooves and uneveness.

Robert Brueck, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Lipo in thin/fit patient vs fat/obese patient?

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This is an easy question to answer.  A thinner patient is much more difficult to liposuction.  The surgeon must liposuction to produce a noticeable difference without creating contour irregularities. 

Liposuction results are highly surgeon dependent. Find a board certified plastic surgeon who performs hundreds of liposuction and liposuction revision procedures each year. Then look at the plastic surgeon's website before and after photo galleries to get a sense of who can deliver the results.

Kenneth Hughes, MD

Los Angeles, CA

Lipo on a fit person

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Thank you for your question and congrats on all your hard work, its paying off.  Often there are certain 'problem areas', even in a very fit person such as yourself that cannot be eliminated with exercise.  As you know, when you exercise certain areas of your body, you are targeting muscles and muscle groups, you cannot specifically target an area of fat.  However, with liposculpture this is exactly what is done.  Certain areas are targeted, and patients that are generally fit are usually better candidates for liposculpture, especially with good skin tone which it appears that you have.  Your particular case could certainly be done under local anesthesia, as it is a relatively small area.  I would utilize power assisted liposculpture, as I do in virtually all of my body sculpting cases,  in addition to Smart Lipo triplex which will allow for more effective fat removal, a smooth result, and skin tightening.  good luck.


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When undergoing liposuction you should always seek a plastic surgeon that specializes in the procedure.  Find a surgeon that has many before and after photos on their website etc.

You will have excellent results with liposuction with the right surgeon.

Marwan R. Khalifeh, MD
Chevy Chase Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 107 reviews


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Thank you for the pictures.

In my practice, I have done many patients that only need to perfect their body with liposuction. This procedure works for fit bodies as well as no so fit ones. I do suggest the UL liposuction, in which this technique melts fat cells before being extracted as well as tighten the skin about 30% at the same time. This is mostly recommended for fit patients that need no fat transfer and are just looking to define their body shape.

Dr. Campos

Jaime Campos Leon, MD
Mexico Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 257 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.