Are You a Good Candidate for Liposuction?

Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS

Liposuction is surgery to remove excess body fat. This includes removing fat from the abdomen, buttocks, back, face, neck, arms, breasts, hips and legs.

The goal of liposuction is to improve the appearance of a body area. In some cases, liposuction is medically necessary to treat a medical condition. 

Are There Other Treatment Options?

In most cases, doctors recommend less invasive treatments to reduce excess body fat. Less invasive treatments include diet and exercise programs. You could also seek ways to accept your body’s appearance as it is.

Ask your doctor about all of your treatment options and consider getting a second opinion before deciding on liposuction.

When to Consider Liposuction

You may want to consider liposuction if you aren’t happy with appearance of a body area due to excess fat deposits and it is diminishing your quality of life. 

Your doctor may decide that you are a good candidate for liposuction if you are an adult and:

  • You are within 30% of your ideal body weight.
  • You have firm, elastic skin and good muscle tone.
  • You don’t smoke.
  • You have a positive outlook, specific body contouring goals, and realistic expectations for the results.
  • Nonsurgical management like diet and exercise hasn’t worked.

Who Is NOT a Good Candidate for Liposuction?

You may not be a good candidate if:

  • You are bothered by cellulite. Liposuction is not a treatment for cellulite.
  • You are overweight or obese. Liposuction is not a weight loss procedure.
  • You have a severe illness, medical condition, or infection that could impair healing. 
  • Your skin has poor elasticity.
  • You are overly concerned about complications from the procedure.
  • You can’t afford the cost of a cosmetic surgical procedure.

What to Expect

A doctor performs liposuction through several small, discreet incisions. You may have general or regional anesthesia and you will likely go home the same day. In some cases, people need to spend a night in the hospital.

You will wear a compression garment or elastic bandages after the procedure. This helps reduce swelling and maintain your new body shape during healing. 

Full recovery times range from several weeks to months. However, it can take up to a year for the swelling to completely resolve.

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Sep 8
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