The ideal liposuction candidate is someone who is at their ideal body weight at the time of surgery but who has pockets of stubborn unwanted fat that they want to get rid of.
What’s most important to note here is that liposuction is not a weight loss procedure.
Despite the fact that the procedure removes fat (and that is the main attraction!), liposuction should not be your first go-to if you’re trying to lose all-over body fat. Rather, it is the ideal solution when you’re already at or near your normal weight, and certain areas of your body just seem to be retaining fat that you can’t lose.
For most patients, this “stubborn fat” tends to cling to areas around the abdomen. The stomach, flanks, and lower back are common areas to have liposuction. Of course, this depends on your natural body type. Other patients may find that localized fat deposits tend to collect on their hips and thighs or on the upper arms and upper back.
Let’s take a look at who is a good candidate for liposuction.
Who Is a Candidate for Liposuction?
Liposuction is one of the most common cosmetic surgery options available today. However, you must qualify for surgery and meet the qualifications for ideal candidates before actually booking your operation date with a qualified plastic surgeon.
In order to be an ideal candidate for liposuction, patients must:
1. Be at or near their target body weight
A good candidate for liposuction is someone who is at their ideal weight but who is simply looking to “spot reduce” extra body fat. You should ideally have a normal body mass index. If you are currently overweight or obese, most plastic surgeons will recommend you make lifestyle changes or try a weight loss program to lose weight and achieve your goal weight prior to plastic surgery.
Also remember that you must maintain a stable weight after surgery in order to maintain your results.
2. Be in good health
This means you do not have any serious ongoing medical conditions that may compromise you during or after surgery. Dr. Schulman will review your medical history and any current medications or supplements you are taking prior to your cosmetic procedure to ensure that you are a good candidate in this regard.
Keep in mind that you must be in good mental health prior to undergoing this elective surgery as well. Good candidates have realistic expectations and a positive outlook.
3. Have elastic skin
Anyone who has excess laxity in their skin may not qualify for liposuction. This is because their results would be sub-optimal.
After liposuction, the patient’s skin must “shrink” to conform to their new body shape. Poor skin elasticity tends to occur as a person ages, when the skin becomes loose and will not “bounce back” when pinched or pulled. If this is the case, we could remove stubborn fat pockets, but your skin would remain loose and wrinkly: a poor result.
Instead, if you have poor skin laxity, we would want to consider a different surgery, such as a tummy tuck or body lift (depending on your trouble areas). In fact, combining liposuction with a tummy tuck or body lift is a common approach when excess skin and fat are present at the same time.
4. Be a non smoker
Ideally, liposuction candidates do not smoke at all. It’s bad for your surgery and could hinder your results or cause complications (blood clots, thickened scars, infection, etc.). Of course, it’s also bad for your health in general.
If you do smoke, however, you may still qualify for surgery. In this case, you would need to give up smoking for at least several weeks prior to your procedure as well as for several weeks (at least) after surgery.
As stated above, many patients find that excess stubborn fat collects around their abdomen. This is a common area for stubborn fat pockets to develop — whether because of lifestyle or genetics.
Regardless of the reason, this common trouble spot can often lead patients to believe that they need a tummy tuck.
Excess Fat or Excess Skin?
The truth is that excess stomach fat is best treated with liposuction — not with a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty).
You should only get a tummy tuck if you have loose skin on your stomach. A tummy tuck generally includes liposuction as well. So, if you are a candidate for a tummy tuck, we can also perform liposuction to remove small amounts of unwanted fat.
Another thing a tummy tuck will do is repair separated abdominal muscles. These muscles often separate and become lax over the course of pregnancy or due to significant weight gain. With birth and weight loss, however, patients may find that it’s difficult to repair their stomach muscles without a surgical intervention.
Pinpointing Stubborn Fat vs. Treating the Body as a Whole
When you come in for your liposuction procedure consultation, you may already have an area of your body in mind where you want to get liposuction. This is great, and if you qualify for surgery, we can almost certainly treat this area and reduce the excess fat there.
One additional thing to keep in mind, however, is that it may not be a good idea to only treat the “trouble spots” that are bothering you because of excess fat.
In other words, if you feel you have excess fat on the front of your stomach, for instance, we may want to remove this fat but also remove fat from all the way around your abdomen. This would be called lipo 360 (fat reduction 360 degrees — or all the way around — the abdomen).
Why Treat the Whole Body at Once?
The reason for treating the entire abdominal area in this case is that removing fat only from the front of the abdomen (when you actually have excess fat all the way around the abdomen) could look odd and unbalanced.
Naturally, you may not see that you have excess fat on your flanks or back when you look in the mirror. This is simply because you primarily see your front and part of your sides, and that’s it.
But as a highly skilled and experienced surgeon, Dr. Schulman knows that the best results can be achieved when the body is treated as a whole rather than in isolated sections. Check out our liposuction before and after photos for examples.
We want you to look and feel your best after surgery. So, we may recommend targeting a few areas for liposuction rather than only targeting the primary “trouble area” that you come in for.
Meet With Dr. Schulman
Of course, every patient is unique, and we want you to be thrilled with your results. Come in for a consultation, and this can all be discussed and worked out when Dr. Schulman can physically examine your body and talk with you one-on-one at your appointment.
Find Out if You’re a Candidate for Liposuction at Your Consultation
Consultation appointments are required for all surgical procedures, including liposuction. If you would like to learn more about liposuction (including ultrasound assisted liposuction) and liposuction cost, liposuction recovery, or other cosmetic procedures such as tummy tuck surgery, call and book a consultation with Dr. Schulman.
As a body contouring expert, board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Matthew Schulman can help you achieve the body you’ve always dreamed of. Contact us today to set up a consultation with Dr. Schulman.