Would Having Liposuction Possibly Help for Rheumatoid Arthritis by Reducing Weight?

my mom has rheumatoid arthritus and her knees are under alot of pressure due to her weight mostly on the abdomen and hip area. would liposuction be a good option if not what can be an alternative, because it is highly unlikely that she can loose this much weight since she can't even exercise or workout hard. she has been walking and has changed her eating habits!!

Doctor Answers 6

Liposuction for weight loss

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Liposuction is a great procedure for body contouring, not for weight loss.  Very few liposuction cases in my practice  will have even 8 pounds of fat actually removed.  A little dieting can remove that much in someone that is overweight much easier and cheaper.  Very large volume liposuction in overweight patients is not safe, especially in an older lady.  You might talk to her physicians and see about having her talk with a dietitian to help with her weight loss.


Kansas City Plastic Surgeon

Liposuction Candidate?

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Thank you for the question.

Based on your description, it does not sound like liposuction surgery would be appropriate for your mother.

A good liposuction candidate is a patient who presents with diet and exercise resistant adipose tissue isolated to specific areas. These patients are not  looking for a weight loss solution.

Hopefully your mother will be able to increase her activity level through non-weight bearing exercise (for example swimming or water aerobics).

Best wishes.

Liposuction for arthritis

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It's unlikely that the small amount of weight removed with lipo will help much with the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.  You mother want to check out some exercise options that are not hard on her joints like swimming or water aerobics.  That will also keep her moving which is so important with arthritis patients.  Having surgery may actually make her worse if she takes it too easy after surgery.

Also, your mother may be on some medications for her arthritis that may make surgery more risky.

Liposuction is about shape, not about weight.  It is never a substitute for diet and exercise.

Lisa Lynn Sowder, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

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Liposuction is not for weightloss

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Surprisingly even with large volume liposuction the weight of the abdominal fat removed is not significant enough to change physical symptoms due to excess weight.  Most people do not know this but there is a large amount of fat within the abdomen which is not accessible through liposuction.  This fat is attached to the bowels and is contained in a structure called the omentum.  When someone gains weight the fat is also deposited intra-abdominal compartment.  Men see this frequently with the "Beer Belly"  where they can have a large abdominal protrusion but may have only a thin layer of fat on the outside.  Women can also have the same process.  If your mother has rheumatoid arthritis it is possible that she may be on steroid medications which can also cause changes in fat deposition and actually cause weight gain through fluid retention and other processes.

Dev Wali, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Liposuction Is Not a Weight Loss Procedure

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The goal of liposuction is to improve body shape.  It does not result in weight loss.  People that are a little above their ideal weight can get a better  contour with lipo , but the person that needs to decrease weight for their health will need to consider other alternatives.  Bariatric surgery may be worth investigating to help solve your mother's dilemma. 

Mary Lee Peters, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 117 reviews

Liposuction is not a solution for weight loss

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I understand your desire to find a solution for your mother if she is having pain and not having success with weight loss. Unfortunately, removing some or a lot of superficial fat with liposuction is not indicated. Liposuction is a very effective procedure to address localized excess fat for patients who are near their ideal weight, have a healthy lifestyle and have no other significant risks for having surgery.

Chronic disease, pain and medications often make weight loss very challenging but certainly not impossible. Optimized nutrition combined with exercise that fits with your mother's abilities should help in the long run. There are resources and professionals available to help with each of these necessary components.

Dr. Mosher

Mathew C. Mosher, MD
Vancouver Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 34 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.