What % Body Fat Do I Need to Avoid Liposuction During a Body Lift?

I'm a 6'0" man in his early 30s who has dropped from 330lbs to 245lbs through diet and exercise. I have dropped my body fat from 48% to 23.5%. My goal is to get my body fat low enough that I won't need liposuction during the body lift. What percentage body fat would make me an ideal candidate for a non-lipo procedure? I'm willing to put in the time and effort to get the best results possible, no matter how difficult it might be.

Doctor Answers 12

What % Body Fat Do I Need to Avoid Liposuction During a Body Lift?

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You are to be congratulated for losing the weight.  Your question does not realy come into play when a plastic surgeon is evaluating you for body contouring surgery.  The best time to have body contouring after massive weight loss is when your weight loss has stabilized at a point where you are comfortable and not while doing heroic things to reach a particular weight.  The reason for that is if you are doing heroic things to reach a particular weight, you are not likely to be able to maintain that for the rest of your life.  So at some point you would stop doing those heroic things, and even if you have had plastic surgery, the weight would go back on.  Most people will reach a certain weight and they can not drop any more.  Once that weight is reached, and the patient is able to maintain that weight without a tremendous effort, that is when I operate on them.  Now whether I will use liposuction to help refine the body lift or not, really is not that important.  From your pictures, you look like you don't need liposuction anyways, but I don't have all the angles that I would want.  Also, you have a lot of upper body issues, which would require an "upper body lift" to take care of not just a body lift.   Good luck. 

Abu Dhabi Plastic Surgeon

Liposuction may be part of your body lift even if you are quite slender

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I do a lot of Body Lift operations and i think about this as a sculpting or shaping session.  i will use whatever modality necessary to create the shape that the patient wants.  Sometimes that means liposuction even for very slender people.

For instance (and this is a common occurrence for me), the fat pad in the lower back or flank region is quite resistant and difficult to lose even after gastric bypass surgery.  if i am trying to give someone a nice silhouette, it may be in our best interest to suction that area in order to achieve that result. 

i have also seen many people who are very thin all around except, perhaps, for their knees.  For some it's the inner thgihs, but it could be anywhere.

So, don't be so fixated on your body fat analysis.  Lose what you can in a healthy manner.  Then when your weight is stable, come to see one of us for body contouring.

Thomas P. Sterry, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Body Lift and Liposuction

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Congratulate on your weight loss.Liposuction is not so much dependent on the percentage of body fact that you have, rather it is where the fat is located. I see many patients in my practice who are at their ideal body weight, but nevertheless have localized areas of excess adiposity. An example of this would be the lateral thigh saddlebag present in some women.I agree with some of the above comments stating that you probably do not need a great deal of liposuction. Nevertheless, I recommend that you drop your weight to what you feel is a reasonable goal and one  that you can maintain for the long term. Whenever I perform this type of surgery, I invariably perform at least a small amount of liposuction to better contour the waist. I hope this helps.


Daniel A. Medalie M.D.

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Liposuction role in body contouring

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First of all I have to say I am impressed.  You have achieved a remarkable degree of weight loss through hard work and discipline.  Body fat percentage is a measure of your overall fat ration.  Liposuction is not a means of reducing that number (weight loss).  It is best used to reduce areas of localized excess.  In the few photos you provided it does not appear that you have any such areas.  You do need body contouring surgery of both your chest and abdomen.  The best time to start considering it is when your weight has been stable for six months or more.  Don't forget that you will lose 5-10 pounds with each (probably 2) surgery and recovery.  It's good to have a goal weight, but not everyone can get to it or maintain it and maintenance is important.  It is worse for you to yoyo than to remain stable at a slightly higher than ideal weight.  Muscle also weighs more than fat so you are wise to be watching that body fat percentage.  Men should be around 15% but 18-20% is still within an acceptable range.  You might want to arrange consultations with several board certified plastic surgeons who are experienced in body contouring after massive weight loss.  When you find one that you are comfortable with you can set goals together about what will be done when so you have something to aim for.  Good luck and keep up the good work.

Lori H. Saltz, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Masive Weight Loss Surgery Options

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It's not unusual to develop loose, saggy skin after massive weight loss. When this situation arises, your body fat percentage is far less important than the amount of loose skin and it's location.

Your pictures suggest that you would benefit from a lower body lift. This could be followed at a later date by an upper body lift combined with breast reduction surgery. Despite your best efforts to optimize your condition preoperatively, many patients still need fine tuning with liposuction.

If you're considering massive weight loss surgery, it's important to consult a board certified plastic surgeon. This surgeon should be able to formulate a treatment plan that addresses your anatomic findings and achieves your aesthetic goals.


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First, congratulations on your weight loss.  Dropping your body fat percentage significantly is quite an accomplishment but is still not a guarantee that you will not need liposuction during your body lift.  Lowering your body fat percentage means that the overall amount of fat in your body has been reduced.  That does not mean that the fat that has been lost was lost in equal amounts in all areas of your body.  Even with diet and exercise most people still retain stubborn fat deposits that just won’t go away no matter how hard they workout.  A body lift will address any sagging and excess skin of the abdomen, buttocks, and outer thighs.  Liposuction is the only procedure that can be used to remove the fatty deposits that can remain after excess sagging is removed.  While dropping your body fat percentage, you have also brought your BMI from 44.8 down to 33.2 which in my opinion is healthy enough for an elective cosmetic procedure.  However, you need to schedule a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon for a thorough physical exam to confirm that you are a good candidate for a body lift.  Be sure to research for board certified plastic surgeons that have experience in working with massive weight loss patients.

Be well and good luck!


What % Body Fat Do I Need to Avoid Liposuction During a 360 Body Lift?

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Dear Chase,

Congratulations on your weight loss!  Great job!  Typically, plastic surgeons do not operate on numbers or specific body fat percentages; we operate on body areas that need to be restored.  To obtain the best possible result from your 360 body lift, I would suggest appropriate diet, exercise and have a stable weight for 4 months.  These factors are far more important than percentage body fat.  Most of my 360 body lift patients do not need liposuction during their procedure.  Typically, rather than use liposuction, I excise areas of fat.  Good luck with your weight loss journey.  Sincerely, Dr. Katzen

J. Timothy Katzen, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 254 reviews

Is There a Body Fat % Criteria For Body Lift?

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You are to be congratulated on your impressive weight reduction.  It is likely that you are at an appropriate amount of weight loss to underake your body lift. It is important that you be fit nutritionally as well as psychologically when you have this important surgery.  There will be no magic weight or body fat per centage that should govern what surgery you have, but it is unlikely that you will need liposuction for your best possible result. Find your self a surgeon with experience that you can communicate well with.  Develop a plan that is individualized to your body and your goals,  Good luck. 

Mary Lee Peters, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 117 reviews

Liposuction with Body Lift?

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Congratulations on your successful weight loss.

As you know, the best time to have the plastic surgical procedures done is when you are at a long-term stable weight. Most plastic surgeons do not use body fat percentage as a criteria for timing surgery. Most likely, liposuction  may not even be necessary given that your main issue seems to be redundant skin.

Based on your pictures you will benefit from  both upper and lower body lifting.

I hope this helps.


Weight loss and body lift and lipo

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I perform a lot of body lift surgery, and I usually do not combine liposuction at the same times as a body lift. I think it increases the risk of seroma formation and therefore complications.  I would recommend getting down to your goal weight before undergoing the body lift.  Good luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 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.