Is there a BMI Weight Limit for Liposuction?

Hello, I was wondering if there are weight restricitons re: liposuction? Do you need to be a certain BMI to be a good canidate for lipo? Why chosew lipo versus tummy tuck? Thanks.

Doctor Answers 7

Liposuction and BMI

Thank you for your question. While there are definitely safety concerns with respect to weight and liposuction there are several considerations:
1) Are you goals for the surgery achievable with liposuction? E.g. Liposuction is not a weight loss procedure, even though you will lose a few pounds. It is more to contour areas of the body.
2) Is your weight stable? i.e. does it fluctuate upwards or downwards more than 10lbs? Weight gain after liposuction will diminish your body contouring results as the remaining fat cells enlarge to store more energy. In addition, you may that other parts of the body that were not liposuctioned may enlarge disproportionately compared to pre-liposuction weight gain. If your weight is stable, your results will also be stable.
3) There are increase risks with liposuction if your BMI is greater than 30.
I would recommend that you visit with a board certified plastic surgeon who can work with you to discuss your goals and discuss whether liposuction is the right procedure for you. In our practice, we offer a pre-surgical and post-surgical weight management program to balance our patient's weight and body contouring goals.

Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Liposuction is not for weight loss.

Liposuction is not for weight loss and has different goals than a tummy tuck.


  1. removes excess fat
  2. contours the shape of the body
  3. offers only very minimal improvement in skin tightening unless you use SmartLipo (50% greater tightening of skin over traditional liposuction)

Tummy tuck:

  1. removes excess skin from the abdominal area
  2. flattens the profile of the abdomen
  3. only removes the fat that is attached to the skin being removed

In general it is best to consult with a board certified plastic surgeon that has the ability to perform any procedure and let them help you decide which one is going to help you the most.

Richard H. Fryer, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 277 reviews

BMI doesn't mean much when assessing liposuction areas.

Liposuction is done to individual areas of localized fat and is unique to each person. Fat floats on water so it by itself doesn't weight as much as it looks.  Some patients are thin and have just a particular pouch or bulge which needs liposuctioning under local anesthesia. BMI's are not usually used in accessing the areas of localized fat for liposuctions.  Sincerely,

David Hansen,MD

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

BMI and Liposuction

There is no hard and fast rule.  Every patient needs to be evaluated as an individual taking into account their anatomy, fat distribution, goals and expectations.  You should be at your baseline weight before having any procedure.  Liposuction and tummy tuck are NOT weight loss procedure.  Tummy tuck is great for patients with loose skin, moderate fat, and roundness (diastasis or separation of their muscles) of the abdomen.  Liposuction is good at contouring fat.  Sometimes tummy tuck and abdominoplasty can be done at the same time. 


It would be best if you post pictures so we can give you more specific advice.


Good Luck.

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

Better to have normal BMI

Removing unwanted fat with liposuction can leave loose skin, hiding the results of your surgery. If you have loose skin then a tummy tuck would be better. It is best to achieve a normal and steady BMI before undergoing liposuction because it's safer for you and you'll achieve better results.Your BMI should be in the normal range.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 179 reviews

BMI and liposuction

One thing to remember is that liposuction is not done to achieve weight loss.  Liposuction is performed for body contouring -- in other words, the best candidates and the best results are achieved in patients who are at their goal weight but have problem areas like "saddle bags" (the outer thigh bulges), the inner thighs, the waist or "love handles", back, etc.  While there is no strict hard and fast rule as to what your BMI should be, if you require large volume liposuction of very large areas, there are more risks associated with the surgery.  I would suggest that you discuss these issues with a board certified plastic surgeon.  Good luck!

Anureet K. Bajaj, MD
Oklahoma City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Weight an important concern before considering liposuction.

Having photos or your height and weight would help answer this question specifically for you.  Liposuction is not for, and should not be used for, weight loss.  The best candidates for liposuction and those who get the best results are patients whose weight is close to their ideal body weight and who have local collections of fat that is diet and exercise resistant.  Calculators to figure your BMI are available on the web.  A BMI of 19 - 24 is considered normal, 25 - 29 is overweight, 30 - 39 is obese and > 39 is morbidly obese.  So a BMI above 30 has less chance to achieve a good result and has more potential complications.  As for the choice between liposuction or a tummy tuck: Liposuction removes the local fat collections to help refine a persons contour.  A tummy tuck cuts away excess fat and skin from the abdomen, when the tissues are loose and hanging and would not respond to liposuction.  A tummy tuck also allows the tightening of the abdominal muscles should they be separated from prior weight gain or pregnancy.

Jeffrey M. Darrow, MD
Boston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 99 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.