If you struggle with stubborn pockets of fat on your tummy, thighs, arms and even that double chin, liposuction is an effective way to remove the fat and help reshape your body and improve your confidence. However, liposuction is not for everyone, and you may actually be a bad candidate for lipo.
During your liposuction consultation, the surgeon goes over your current physical condition, as well as your medical history, to help determine if you are a good candidate for lipo. Here we will talk about what makes you a good or bad candidate for a liposuction procedure.
What Makes You a Good Candidate for Lipo?
When you attend a liposuction consultation, the surgeon will look at both your current physical condition and your medical history. But what are they really looking for and what makes you a good candidate for liposuction? Ideal liposuction candidates will be within 30 perfect of their ideal body weight and have a BMI of 30 or less. You will also need to have firm, elastic skin and good muscle tone.
Liposuction procedures require patients to be healthy, with no serious underlying medical conditions. In addition, you should be a non-smoker or willing to quit weeks before your procedure. Good candidates for liposuction also have realistic goals when it comes to how much fat can be removed and what to expect from their results.
Lipo Is Not for Everyone! What Makes You a Bad Candidate?
Unfortunately, not everyone falls into the “good candidate” category when it comes to liposuction. The good news is you can overcome many of these often-disqualifying factors with time, opening the door to liposuction in the future.
Overweight and High BMI or Underweight
Liposuction should never be viewed as a method of weight loss, but as a body sculpting and contouring procedure. It is designed to remove that stubborn fat that refuses to go away despite diet and exercise. Most surgeons require that you be at least within 30 percent of your ideal body weight, as well as have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or less. Those with a BMI higher than 30 are at a greater risk of complications during a liposuction procedure and are not likely to achieve the desired results.
In contrast, being too slender can also be a disqualification for liposuction. Those with too little body fat are at a higher risk of irregularities or indentations, no matter how small a cannula is used during the procedure.
Poor Health History
Poor overall health or underlying medical conditions can make you a poor candidate for liposuction. Conditions such as asthma, diabetes or high blood pressure can often be a red flag for many surgeons. In addition, certain medications, such as heart medication or blood thinners, can affect your ability to heal after liposuction. If you have an underlying medical condition, you may need to consult with your primary care physician to receive a clearance for a liposuction procedure.
We all know smoking is not good for your general health, but when it comes to liposuction, or any other surgical procedure, smoking increases your risk of complications and puts you in the high-risk category. This includes cigarettes, vapes and even recreational marijuana.
Smoking affects your circulatory system which can affect your body’s ability to clot and heal. This increases your risk of infection, poor healing, skin loss and the development of DVT, or deep vein thrombosis.
In addition, you can experience anesthesia complications, such as pneumonia, the need for a ventilator, or an increased risk of a heart attack during or after your liposuction procedure.
Poor Skin Elasticity, Cellulite or History of Keloid Scarring
Liposuction removes excess fat from your body but, in order to achieve your desired results, the skin above that fat must shrink back tight around the new surface area. If your skin has lost elasticity, chances are it will not bounce back, leaving you with loose skin and the appearance of a deflated balloon, not the tight and smooth surface you were hoping to achieve.
Many people think that liposuction can help remove cellulite, but that is not true. Liposuction treats excess fat. Cellulite is a skin condition that causes lumpy and dimpled skin. When you remove excess fat in areas where you have cellulite, it can often make things worse. If you experience either of these conditions, your surgeon might recommend skin-tightening procedures along with your liposuction.
If you have a history of keloid scarring, or excessive scar tissue growth, you are at an increased risk of developing keloid scarring with liposuction, thus affecting your results.
Expectations Are Not Realistic
What you are hoping to achieve with liposuction also affects your candidacy for liposuction. If you are hoping to remove all the fat around your midsection, this is unrealistic. Liposuction only removes subcutaneous fat, just under the skin surface. If you have visceral fat around your organs, only weight loss will reduce this. In addition, surgeons follow strict recommendations when it comes to how much fat they can remove during a simple procedure.
The current recommendation is no more than five liters of fat and fluid. This is because fat removal also involves removing surrounding blood, electrolytes and fluids. Removing too much can lead to a decrease in blood pressure and complications.
The good news is, even if you are not a good candidate for liposuction now, there are some things you can do to change that. Continue to work on reaching your goal weight and preferred BMI and quit smoking. Achieving these goals may help improve your general overall health as well, making you a good candidate for lipo and allowing you to better achieve your body contouring goals.
Dr. Scot Martin concentrates on breast enhancement and body contouring at his practice in Las Cruces, New Mexico. A nationally recognized plastic surgeon, Dr. Martin is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
He looks forward to meeting you and helping you become the best version of yourself possible.