Do I have to lose weight before I get Liposuction? (photos)

I'm currently at 210 lbs and haven't had a consulatation yet but I'm wondering if I need to be at a certain weight to be eligible for liposuction or any form of surgical procedure that'll make me stop looking the way I do now.

Doctor Answers 11

Weight loss before liposuction

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Overall weight or BMI is not that great of an indicator if someone is a good candidate for liposuction or not.

Fat distribution is by far more important.

There is a point at which obesity overrides the indication for liposuction regardless. Your pictures makes me guess you're a very good candidate for liposuction.

Should you choose to have liposuction at your current weight you will see a dramatic change in body contour.

Perhaps a much more dramatic results then if you have the same procedure at a lower weight.

That's because there are much thicker layer so fat they can be removed giving a potential substantial improvement.

lower BMI patients have thinner layers of subcutaneous fat and smaller potential changes are seen regardless how well the procedure is done.

One thing that is often seen when patients with your fat distribution and weight have a successful liposuction is a drastic motivation to start losing weight and taking better care of oneself.

There are a few drawbacks to performing liposuction on higher BMI patients.

Great results require high-volume liposuction.

This can sometimes require having more than one procedure.

The recovery can be a little longer.

The potential for complications while unusual is slightly higher.

From my experience some of the very best results come from patients having high-volume liposuctioned followed by weight loss.
Ideally you should probably lose some weight before liposuction.

Plastic surgeons will probably differ substantially on this topic.

Having several in person consultations can help make a much more accurate assessment.

My practice has been devoted exclusively to liposuction and fat transfer for the past five years.

My view of what patients a good candidate for liposuction has changed substantially during this period of time.

I now believe that high BMI patients are much better candidate than I used to believe in the past.

This comes from the experience of having performed several thousand liposuction procedures. Now would be a good time to get some more accurate information and have a few in person consultations.

while almost all plastic surgeons can and do perform liposuction there's a wide variety of talent and results.

Always choose a board-certified plastic surgeon. Ideally one who has expertise in body contouring with liposuction.


Mats Hagstrom M.D.

San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Liposuction or weight loss?

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If your BMI is 35 or lower, you can have liposuction. 

Go online to find out yourBMI - it just requires you to enter height and weight.

The fat will return if you don't lose weight afterwards. Liposuction can motivate people to lose weight but results are disappointing if you don't.  

Liposuction and your weight

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Actually, I believe it's best to have liposuction prior to weight loss. Be aware of the fact that your Plastic Surgeon cannot "do it all". Your participation and subsequent weight loss is imperative to achieving the best results. I recommend losing one pound for every pound removed with the liposuction, but try not to stop there... lose even more if you can.

Good luck!

Scott W. Harris, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Weight Loss & Liposuction

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This is a very common question and, as you can see from some of the other responses, one without an easy answer. You don't need to be at a certain weight before undergoing liposuction, but your BMI (body mass index) should be lower than 35 to be considered a good candidate for the procedure. Your BMI factors in your height and weight. The quality of skin tone is also important, because liposuction won't significantly tighten your skin. Liposuction is a body contouring treatment designed to remove localized pockets of fat, and it results in only a modest weight reduction. I recommend getting to your target weight before undergoing liposuction. Make sure you consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Best of luck.

Arthur M. Cambeiro, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 210 reviews

Liposuction and Weight Loss

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Liposuction is not a weight loss tool.  you will need to lose weight and even after that will need liposuction and skin removal most likely to get a full body transformation.  Please see an expert for a formal evaluation.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 207 reviews

Weight loss

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Thank you for your question and photos.  I recommend that you seek out a medical weight loss program to help you achieve your goal weight prior to undergoing surgery.  Liposuction is not a weight loss procedure and is meant to help patients remove "stubborn" fat.  Keep in mind too that it is quite possible that you will have excess skin after weight loss and liposuction that could warrant a tummy tuck and skin excision in other areas.

All the best,

Dr. Results
Miami, FL

Is weight loss necessary before Liposuction?

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You do not have to lose weight before getting liposuction, HOWEVER, you will essentially be setting yourself up for disappointment with liposuction as it will not deliver the true, long term outcome you likely desire--less weight, better contours.
I have been performing liposuction since it originally became a plastic surgery procedure in the 1980's. After watching patients, sometimes for years as they return for additional procedures, we know what works and what does not work.  We ask patients similar to you, to lose ~ 20 lbs and remain in a weight loss mode at the time of surgery and remain extremely weight conscious for the first three months post surgery. The fat cells remaining following liposuction will be cast in the role of storing more fat than in the past (as some of their fellow fat cells have been removed). The remaining fat cells can only hold so much before the brain signals for the formation of additional fat store areas. These new areas of fat storage often are not in the original areas of removal or liposuctioned areas, but in NEW sites that are less desirable...breasts, knees, inner thighs...So not losing weight and going forward with liposuction is not an ideal situation for you.

Good luck to you,
Dr. Steve Byrd 

Steve Byrd, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Do I have to lose weight before I get Liposuction?

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Thank you for your question.  Based on your photos, it would probably be best to lose weight before surgery.  Liposuction is not meant to be a weight loss procedure.  Also, getting your BMI below 30 or 35 decreases the risks for complications with surgical healing, anesthesia, blood clots (deep vein thrombosis) and makes it easier to get a better aesthetic result.  Be sure to consult with an experienced board certified plastic surgeon.  Good luck!

Zachary Farris, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Weight loss and cosmetic surgery

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The best results happen when you get to your ideal weight prior to surgery.  You will be much happier with your results when you are thinner.  Less chances of complications as well. I would suggest to be a BMI of 35 or less.  

Good luck!

Andrew Cohen MD

Andrew T. Cohen, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Do I have to lose weight before I get Liposuction?

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I'm afraid you misunderstand the procedure. It works best on patients at their best weight and would be a very inappropriate choice for you. The maximum safe amount that can be removed is 10 lbs and even that can put you in the ICU for recovery complications and that amount of fat removal would not even be noticed at that weight. I do hope you don't let some unscrupulous individual do that to you. 

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 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.