Can Someone Who is Overweight or Mildly Obese Get Liposculpture or Smart Lipo, for Body Shaping Purposes?

I'm a 24 year old African American woman whose BMI is 39.3. Though my BMI is high I live a fairly healthy lifestyle and I am losing weight slowly. All of my life my hips have been smaller than my waistline (no matter how much weight I lost). I was wondering if a procedure done on my waistline would make my hips appear wider, and if it would be safe at my current weight. I understand that these procedures are not quick weight loss substitutes, I prefer to lose weight the old fashioned way!

Doctor Answers 11


I always advise patients not to undergo liposuction until they have reached a weight at which they are comfortable. This, frankly, is different for everyone. The concerns would be that 1/if you lost weight afterwards, there woud be sagging of the skin, which would not be aesthetically pleasing, and 2/whether you are a candidate for liposuction based on the condition of your skin and its ability to tighten after surgery. To make a differene, you would need full liposuction, not one of the more limited procedures. Also, I would not want you to spend money on a procedure which might give very limited results and require later revision. You are absolutely correct that liposuction is not a substitute for weight loss and, in fact, patients lose very little weight from the procedure--it's about contouring.

New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Liposuction Candidate?

Thank you for the question.

It is hard to give you good advice without direct examination  or viewing pictures.

I think you have a good understanding already that liposuction surgery is not meant as a weight loss “program” and is ideally done for patients who have isolated diet and exercise resistant adipose tissue in specific areas. The overlying skin of these areas ideally demonstrate good skin elasticity.

I would respectfully suggest that you continue your healthy lifestyle and  relatively slow weight loss;  see a well trained board-certified plastic surgeon when you are closer to your long-term stable weight.

Best wishes.


Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

Liposuction and weight loss

Before surgery, patients should be at their goal weight to achieve the best results. It is not recommended that overweight or obese patient have liposuction, as it is not a form of weight loss.

Jeffrey Weinzweig, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Lipo for Moderate Obesity

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. Only see a board certified plastic surgeon for the best result and for safety.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Liposuction not ideal for mildly obese

First of all Smart lipo is not recommended for people who are even slightly overweight as it can take multiple treatments to reach desired results making it a very costly alternative. Second, 'Liposculpture' is just a marketing term for liposuction. Thirdly, I find it best for patients to reduce their weight before any cosmetic surgical procedure as results are more likely to be esthetically pleasing. That being said, I believe liposuction can help achieve a smaller waist line, but it would be best to submit a picture to best advise in your particular case. Best wishes, Dr. H 

Gary M. Horndeski, MD
Texas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 223 reviews

Liposuction and goal weight

It is always best to get down to your goal weight before undergoing either excision procedures or potential liposuction. A BMI of 39 is pretty high.  Keep doing the great job to lose weight on your own first.  Good luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Liposuction with a High BMI

Liposuction may give you a some better definition at your BMI but it really depends on how your fat is distributed. You should discuss this with a Board Certified plastic surgeon who can examine you and give a better opinion.

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

Can Someone Who is Overweight or Mildly Obese Get Liposculpture or Smart Lipo, for Body Shaping Purposes?

Although liposuction can contour your abdomen to some extent, if there is intra-abdominal fat, then the difference can be limited. Liposuction s for contouring but when the patient is very large, achieving normal appearing contours can be challenging.

Julio Garcia, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Liposuction if Overweight

Without pictures or seeing you in person, it is impossible to give you complete advice.  Also, liposuction is not a weight loss procedure, but a contouring procedure.  With that said, liposuction done in the right candidates can have very nice results.  I would suggest that you see consultation with local board certified plastic surgeons to discuss your options.


Good Luck.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Liposuction with a 40 BMI

It can be done, but is not advised. Don't even toy with " laser lipo" = not an option. Regular lipo usually limits itself to 5L removal on an outpatient basis -- that is about 10- 12 lbs totally. This is no good for weight loss as you can gain that back really quickly unless you are on a weight loss diet. See a board certified plastic surgeon to discuss all of the ramifications of surgery.

William B. Rosenblatt, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 12 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.