Misleading Before and After Photos of Liposuction?

I have been viewing several before and after pics on Drs websites, and a lot show obese people having Liposuction done. Most Drs won't do this if your BMI is in the morbid obese percentage. I am very confused, pics I've seen are definitly morbid obese and after pics are great. Is it or isn't it for these people?

Doctor Answers 14

Liposuction is NOT for the obese patient

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Liposuction is not intended to provide weight loss. It is for body contouring in areas that are resistent to proper diet and exercise. It will not work well if the skin is at all loose or lax no matter what "kind" of liposuction is performed.

Quite honestly, a significant number of patients who would come in and want liposuction will not have their expectations met by what the procedure can actually deliver. That is why they need an honest surgeon who will tell them clearly if they are a good candidate or not. Don't be fooled by what you see on the web.

Liposuction Risky for Morbid Obesity

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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. Morbid obesity carries a significant health risk especially if liposuction is performed under general anesthesia. 

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

Liposuction is not intended for very overweight patients

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The Internet is filled with misleading photographs. In my experience, morbidly obese patients are not good candidates for my liposuction. A maximum safe amount of fat removal is around 5 liters. For patients that are very overweight this usually will not make a significant difference in their photographs.

When choosing a surgeon of any procedure it is best to interview him or her and talk to other patients that have used that particular surgeon to see what their experience was. Just remember that liposuction is not a weight-loss procedure and should never be considered such.

Allen Clark III, MD
Montgomery Plastic Surgeon

There are many misleading pictures on the internet.

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There are many deceptive before and after pictures. But you are also asking another question. What about obese patients? In New York, we don't do "high volume liposuction" (more than 10 pounds of fat removed) because I don't think it is entirely safe. There are surgeons who do this, but I don't think liposuction is a treatment for obesity.

We do liposuction on very overweight patients, but only to correct specific bulges. They are still overweight afterwards.

You can see some liposuction results on non-obese patients on my web site.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Be careful when looking at websites

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Please be careful when looking at websites. I would not trust them. It is so easy for people to use stock photos or to use Photoshop to make their pictures look better. My best advice would be to talk to actual patients to see what their experience was like. As for criteria for liposuction, weight or BMI is a consideration. The health of the patient is also a consideration. In general, liposuction is not a weight loss procedure. It is a contouring procedure. However, in moderately overweight people, it can be used as a debulking procedure in expectation of further surgery, such as abdominoplasty. Good luck with your procedure.

Be wary of these photos

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Liposuction is usually not indicated as the main treatment for morbidly obese people. This is because the main function of liposuction is to remove fat. It does not address excess skin or significant skin laxity. The only way to address this problem is with diect excision of the extra skin, as would be done with a tummy tuck.

Liposuction only, for these individuals, would only worsen the appearance of the loose skin. If the before/ after pictures look to good to be true, they probably are.

David A. Robinson, MD
Munster Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

If something looks too good to be true it probably is

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Dear Edsprinces

There is no question that some websites have what are most likely totally bogus before and after liposuction photos. The best that one can say regarding these images is that they are misleading. It is also impossible for a couch potato to go from a beer belly pooch to a ripped 6 pack with massive pecs with liposuction alone.

It is possible that one could have liposuction, loose massive amounts of weight, and also adopts a fitness routine that resembles the kind of program that would embarrass an NFL fullback. The likelihood that the average person could duplicate such a feat is so improbable one could appropriately label this type of before and after false advertising.

Liposuction is not a weight reduction method. Patients can have spectacular results but it is about shaping the body not remaking it. Patients can become inspired to diet and work out more rigorously after body liposuction but this is rare.

Dr. Steinsapir

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Liposuction photos can be very misleading

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Subtle improvements after liposuction may be very difficult to notice in a patient who is not overweight. For that reason, many photos seen on the web are of overweight patients (not necessarily obese) who have had a lot of liposuction done. Certainly don't just rely on photos.

Make a consultation with a surgeon, talk to his/her staff, talk to the surgeon, and then decide for yourself. You will make an aggregate decision, one that is based on photos, staff, surgeon, patience, personality, warmth, attention to detail, etc. Then, you will place your trust with that surgeon and be happy with your decision.

Liposuction is not recommended for obese patients. It is not a method for weight loss. It is a technique developed to treat "problem" areas. Areas that need contouring or sculpting.

Sirish Maddali, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon

Photos and liposuction

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Unfortunately, some photos you may be looking at are not honest. That can happen in any sector of business. I would like to think that the majority of doctors are honest and ethical. Make sure you investigate wisely. If the photos look too good to be true and red flags go up in yor head , you are probably correct to think there is something wrong.

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

Photos can be misleading

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A lot of times photos will not do justice to see the effect of liposuction, particularly on a patient with low BMI. I think this is why you see photos of liposuction on over weight people because the results are more obvious and can be seen in before and after photos.

Liposuction can be done on overweight people albeit not the the best results and higher surgical risks. It is not a method for weight loss and surgeons will have a different BMI limit as to who they will offer this type of procedure.

Viewing all types of before and after pictures should be viewed with a little skepticism because they are selected by the surgeon and not necessarily an example of the average results.

Best Wishes

Dr. Peterson

Marcus L. Peterson, MD
Saint George Plastic Surgeon

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.