Liposuction for Obese Patient?

I am 29 years old, 5'5" and weigh 219lbs. In 4 months I have lost 30lbs I have try dieting and exercise. now so I'm considering Liposuction on my stomach. What should i do?

Doctor Answers 26

Overweight patients can benefit from liposuction if they understand its limitations.

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Photos would help.  You are probably female judging from your email.  Just because you are overweight does not mean that you are necessarily not a candidate for liposuction.  As I am sure you know, liposuction is not a substitute for diet and exercise.  A major question is how much of your fat is intraabdominal (around the organs where it cannot be reached by liposuction) and how much is "subcutaneous" (between the skin and the abdominal muscles where it can be reached).  If you have a relative abundance of subcutaneous fat, you may be a candidate, as long as you have the expectation that this is part of the solution, and not an alternative.  Sounds like you are on the right track.  See an experienced plastic surgeon and insist on seeing before and after photos.  If you see ten sets of photos that you like, that is a good sign that you will be satisfied.  I call this the "rule of 10."  I've attached a link to this part of my website, in case you wish to read more.

Kansas City Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Liposuction for Obese Patient

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It is most difficult to answer this question without the benefit of a photo. But is seems unlikely that based on the info provided that there would be much benefit. 

Liposuction works well for individual areas of contour excess, but not for weight reduction. Again, it is possible I might suggest otherwise based on photos. 

I note in your added comment that you have fat hanging over the bikini line. This is without much doubt skin and fat, and doing liposuction for such a problem does not address the skin excess, and make make that overhang even worse--a tummy tuck or a panniculectomy (removal of the overhanging tissue) is the proper treatment.  That procedure carries additional risk and less satisfactory results in patients with a BMI over 30.  If you choose to pursue this, you are almost half-way in weight loss toward 180 pounds, which would put you at that threshold. Keep working as you have been. 

Although I would recommend delaying surgery until some added weight loss has occurred, starting the consultation process can be done anytime. When you are ready for an in person consultation, RealSelf has listings of surgeons in your area. You should consider cross referencing the listings from the The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (plasticsurgery dot org). A listing in the ASPS website assures you that your surgeon is not only board certified,  but also is a member in good standing of the major plastic surgery organization in the U. S. Thank you for your question, best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Liposuction when Obese

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Thank you for your question about liposuction. Congratulations on losing 30 pounds. I know that takes dedication and hard work. Keep it up.

  • Liposuction of your stomach may motivate you to keep losing.
  • You won't lose much weight. It will change your contour.
  • If you don't keep losing, the fat will reappear elsewhere.
  • Recovery from liposuction can disrupt a weight loss program,
  • What about reconsidering liposuction when you get below 200 and after being on your program for 6 months - to see if you still want it. Best wishes.

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Liposuction in Overweight

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You are correct, #liposuction is not a weight loss procedure (though you do lose weight). It is more dangerous in obese patients. 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. Only see a board certified plastic surgeon for the best result and for safety.

Liposuction Candidate while Overweight?

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Congratulations on your significant weight loss;  I would suggest that you continue on your current diet/exercise regimen prior to undergoing any type of body contouring surgery.  Good candidates for liposuction surgery have achieved a long-term stable weight, present with localized ( diet and exercise resistant) adipose tissue, and demonstrate good quality overlying skin.

 Best wishes.

Body contouring procedures are not a weight loss solution

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As a plastic surgeon that emphasizes health and wellness, I often remind patients that body contouring procedures are not a weight loss solution or a substitute for a healthy lifestyle. Diet and exercise will continue to help you achieve your goals; liposuction should only be reserved for patients with a small amount of fat. It is equally important for liposuction patients to exercise regularly and have a balanced diet to maintain their results. If you are interested in liposuction, you should continue working towards your weight goal and later consult a board certified plastic surgeon who is experienced in body procedures.

Liposuction for Obese Patient

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Although there’s no substitute for good diet and exercise, sometimes there’s only so much we can do to reverse nature’s cruelties. Liposuction works best on patients who are of relatively average weight, but who need help with a problem area, or with shedding the ten pounds they regain between diets. If you have good skin quality and minimal sagging, you make an ideal candidate for liposuction.

Liposuction modifies volume by sucking out fat, and liposuction candidates need good skin tone. The procedure takes about an hour, the recovery takes just a couple of days, and there's virtually no scarring. I use several innovative forms of liposuction, including SmartLipo, in order to contour and resculpture the area while providing the most beautiful results with minimal scarring. SmartLipo, used in combination with other forms of liposuction or alone, is a procedure that uses laser light to liquefy fat and tighten the surrounding skin. Liposuction as an outpatient procedure under I.V. sedation can easily reduce the bulge that some people have in their abdomens. Because liposuction stimulates the skin to tighten, good elasticity provides a smooth contour after fat is removed.

ZERONA® is an FDA cleared alternative to liposuction, which reduces inches with no pain, no surgery and no downtime. Patients are losing between 3.6 to 5.5 inches and many are seeing even greater results when combined with a sensible diet and exercise program.

It's the perfect way to lose stubborn body fat from: neck, love handles, arms, hips, back/bra‐line, thighs, tummy/waistline and knees in this fast pace world we live in. After just six 40 minute treatments you will see inches melt away. And best of all there is no recovery or downtime so you can resume all your normal activities immediately after each treatment.

Michelle Copeland, MD, DMD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Liposuction for Obese Patient?

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Your best result from any surgery is when your weight is stable.  Having said that, I have seen patients approach this type of surgery from two different angles.  Some patients, like you, become stuck and want to do a procedure which then motivates them to return to the gym and keep working to lose more weight.  They may have to do another surgery later, but it gets them over that hump.  Others prefer to wait until they have achieved their target weight before having their surgery.  Either way seems to work well.

Edwin C. Pound, III, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Liposuction for Obese Patient?

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Liposuction is, in general, best for those patients who are at or near their ideal body weights and who want some additional contouring in specific areas.  It is reasonable to do it in anyone (if otherwise safe from a medical standpoint) who wants contouring in specific areas even if they're NOT at their ideal weight - as long as everyone understands what can and cannot be accomplished with this procedure.  It is not a procedure for weight-loss.  So, with that, if you've lost as much weight as you feel you can on your own, and you want additional areas contoured, you can consider liposuction.  You may also need some skin removal (such as a tummy tuck or modified tummy tuck), whether now or at some point in the future.  That's for you to discuss with your plastic surgeon, in a person-to-person consult.

I hope that this helps and good luck,

Dr. E

Liposuction not a treatment for weight loss

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Congratulations on your 30 pound weight loss over the last 4 months. At 219 pounds and 5'5" you would benefit from additional weight loss. Liposuction should not be considered as a weight loss procedure for you - if that was what you were thinking.

You may want to consider seeing a plastic surgeon soon who could examine you and help you chart an appropriate future course of action that may include liposuction.

Good luck!

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 33 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.