What should your BMI be in order to be considered a candidate for liposuction?

Is there a preferred bmi in order to be a candidate for liposuction?

Doctor Answers 8

BMI generally means nothing when considering liposuction.

Liposuction sculpts or debulks areas of fat and is so dependent on the areas and patients themselves.

Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

BMI and liposuction

Typically a BMI should be at a 32 or below to avoid and complications during and after surgery 

Terence Michael Myckatyn, MD
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

BMI and Liposuction

Dear kat1224, this is a very good question. Most plastic surgeons will not require you to have a specific body weight in order to undergo liposuction, but it is generally recommended that you be within 30% of your ideal body weight before liposuction surgery. It’s important to remember that liposuction cannot and should not be used in place of a healthy diet and regular exercise for weight loss.

Brian Vassar Heil, MD
Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Liposuction and BMI

Thank you for asking about your liposuction.
  • BMI is used to assess obesity -
  • But it only is a ratio of height and weight, so very muscular people and those with large bones can have a high BMI and not be overweight.
  • Liposuction is done to alter body contour -
  • So even if you are overweight but have excess fat in certain areas, liposuction may be reasonable.
  • Ideally, your BMI should be < 30 before cosmetic surgery but 2/3 of Americans now have higher BMIs.
  • So a good guide is to have a BMI no higher than 35 if possible -
  • And consult a plastic surgeon if you aren't sure.
  • Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Best wishes - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

The ideal BMI for liposuction

Wait by itself or BMI is not a good indicator if someone is a good candidate for liposuction.

Fat distribution is much more important.

The two are not the same.

Someone can be slim but have thick layers of subcutaneous fat in only a few areas.

On the other side of the spectrum some people are morbidly obese's but carry their fat in areas that are not amenable to liposuction.

The ideal candidate for liposuction has thick layers of subcutaneous fat, tight skin and no underlying other issues such as muscle separation from previous pregnancies or excessive amounts of intra-abdominal fat.

there is certainly a point with obesity where liposuction is simply not a realistic option.

I personally find very high patient satisfaction from people undergoing high-volume liposuction.

Most people who have liposuction are typically slightly overweight


Mats Hagstrom M.D.

Mats Hagstrom, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

BMI and liposuction

It is better to have good quality skin in the area where liposuction is planned.  High, low and middle BMI patients are going to have different overall results.  Though this is not a weight loss procedure, some areas can be nicely shaped even in the high BMI patient and it depends on what specific areas you are interested in improving and how your skin is at those locations.  

Thomas A. Pane, MD
Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 45 reviews


Generally it is best to have a normal BMI before surgery.  The complication rate is higher for patients whose BMI is in the obese category:  BMI > 30.  

John L. Burns Jr., MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Ideal BMI before Liposuction

Liposuction is meant to sculpt fat prominences not to reduce weight. The most we can remove with liposuction in an outpatient setting is about 10 pounds. Once this amount is exceeded many surgeons may keep you in the facility with an intravenous catheter under observation. 
The thinner you are, the nicer the liposuction results will turn out. 

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 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.