Christopher Chung, M.D.
American Board of Plastic Surgery
Chief Medical Officer
For anyone considering liposuction to help lose stubborn body fat, one of the first questions to answer is undeniably:
Am I a candidate for liposuction?
The truth is, liposuction is not for everyone—and some people may not meet the basic qualifications necessary for a safe procedure and a speedy recovery. Others, however, might be a perfect fit.
Deciding whether to undergo liposuction is a highly individualized process that involves careful consideration of a person’s unique goals, medical history, and other personal factors.
By considering the pros and cons and opening a transparent dialogue with their healthcare provider, individuals can ascertain whether liposuction is the right choice for them.
That said, even though assessing liposuction candidacy is a personal matter that should be discussed with a healthcare provider, there are several helpful criteria that can guide prospective patients towards making an informed decision before their consultation.
Every human body is unique, so there is no single exemplar that medical professionals can point to and say, “This person is the ideal liposuction candidate.” However, there is a list of common traits that the most ideal liposuction candidates share.
Ideal liposuction candidates are already close to their target body weight.
In terms of volume, the maximum amount of fat that can be removed from a patient’s body during a single liposuction session is often between 4000 and 5000 cubic centimeters. That’s a little under 300 cubic inches, which is about the same volume as a fully inflated volleyball.
This procedure is about excess fat loss, not weight loss. Liposuction is a cosmetic surgery designed to remove localized pockets of stubborn lipids from the body. Therefore, it is important to note that liposuction is not intended to reduce overall body mass, rather it is meant to enhance body contours by slimming down specific areas.
This being the case, the best candidates for liposuction are individuals who are at or near their ideal body weight but have stubborn regions of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise. These individuals may have genetic, metabolic, hormonal, or other biological factors that make it difficult for them to lose fat in these areas through natural means.
Liposuction is never intended to serve as a substitute for a healthy lifestyle. Candidates for the procedure should have already attempted to lose weight through proper diet and exercise but have been unsuccessful in removing stubborn fat. By undergoing liposuction, these individuals can achieve a more contoured and toned appearance in the targeted areas of their body.
Ideal liposuction candidates are generally in good health.
Being in good physical health is important for anyone considering liposuction because – intuitive as it may sound – it is a surgical procedure. And as with any surgical procedure, a person’s overall health can impact their ability to undergo the operation and recover from it.
For instance, individuals with medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease may have a harder time inside the operating room as well as after the surgery. Preexisting conditions can interfere with the body’s natural healing process, increase the risk of infection, and slowing down recovery time. Additionally, certain medications and supplements may need to be stopped or adjusted before and after the procedure to reduce the risk of complications.
In general, individuals who are in good physical health have a better chance of experiencing a smooth and successful recovery after liposuction. They are also more likely to have a positive overall outcome from the procedure. Before undergoing liposuction, a comprehensive medical evaluation will be conducted to assess the individual’s overall health and ensure that they are a suitable candidate for the procedure. It is important to disclose any medical conditions or medications to the plastic surgeon during the consultation to ensure that the procedure is performed safely and effectively.
Ideal liposuction candidates have clear goals and realistic expectations.
This procedure effectively removes localized areas of excess fat and improves body contours; however, it is not a cure-all for every cosmetic concern. It won’t miraculously solve all of a person’s physical insecurities. That’s why it is of the utmost importance for individuals considering liposuction to have realistic expectations about the results that can be achieved through this procedure.
One of Sono Bello’s hundreds of board-certified plastic surgeons will evaluate the individual’s unique anatomy, discuss their goals and expectations, and provide guidance on which liposuction procedure is the most suitable for them. By understanding the potential benefits and limitations of liposuction, prospective patients can make an informed decision.
The ultimate choice should be made during or after a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon who can evaluate the individual’s unique anatomy, discuss their goals and expectations, and provide guidance on whether liposuction is a suitable option for them.
Who can get liposuction?
The good news is that nearly anyone who is physically healthy but struggling with excess fat can benefit from liposuction, regardless of their age (within reason) or gender identification.
Who cannot (or should not) get liposuction?
Liposuction can be an effective way to remove unwanted fat from various parts of the body. However, it may not be suitable for everyone.
If you have a BMI over 42, wear a pacemaker, have uncontrolled diabetes, are actively receiving chemotherapy, had a recent heart attack within five years, are pregnant, on dialysis or use an oxygen tank, are on an organ transplant waiting list, take blood-thinning medication, have heart disease, or kidney or liver disorders, you may not be a suitable candidate for liposuction at this time.
Additionally, if you have had surgery in the proposed area within the past six months, it’s important to discuss your eligibility with a doctor. To determine your specific eligibility and learn more about the risks and benefits of liposuction, it’s best to schedule a consultation with a qualified medical professional.
If a person decides that they are a good candidate for liposuction, the next phase in their journey is to ensure that they’re prepared for the surgery. By following these five pre-op steps, patients can set themselves up for success:
Set realistic expectations: It’s essential to have a clear understanding of what liposuction can and cannot achieve. Getting oneself in a positive and grounded mental space prior to the surgery will help patients feel optimistic about possible outcomes, but prepared for the reality that results take time to fully realize.
Schedule some downtime: Liposuction is a less invasive surgery, but it still requires some downtime post-operation. It’s important to give the body time to heal. Patients should be prepared to take some time off work if needed and suspend other activities to allow their body to rest and recover.
Stop consuming caffeine 48 hours before surgery: Caffeine can increase the heart rate and blood pressure, which can be dangerous during surgery. It’s important to avoid caffeine for at least 48 hours before a procedure.
Be equipped with the tools to minimize post-op swelling: inflammation is a common side effect of liposuction. Patients can minimize swelling by wearing compression garments, taking prescribed medication, and following the surgeon’s post-op instructions.
Have a friend or family member drive home from the surgery: Liposuction is typically performed under some anesthesia or sedation, which can make patients feel drowsy or disoriented after the procedure. It’s important to have a trusted friend or family member drive home and help the patient get settled in.
When a patient calls their local Sono Bello clinic, they will be asked a few basic questions and then prompted to schedule an in-person or virtual consultation. The appointment will typically take place within the same week.
On the day of the consultation, the patient will be asked to fill out paperwork about their medical history, list of medications they’re taking, and any medical issues as safety is a top priority.
During the consultation itself, the patient will meet with a patient care consultant who will listen to their goals and help them understand what other patients have achieved. The meeting usually takes between thirty minutes and an hour.
The patient will be asked to point out their problem areas and the consultant will help them understand their treatment options. The team members at the clinic will do everything they can to assure the patient not to be nervous as they truly have seen it all and their objective is to help the patient achieve the body they want.
After the consultation, the clinic will discuss what the patient can expect before and after the surgery. The patient will be scheduled to meet with their Sono Bello surgeon for a pre-op appointment where the surgeon will evaluate their medical history and determine their final candidacy for liposuction.
The clinic will also provide the patient with a custom quote for the procedures they have chosen and clearly explain their payment or financing options. If the patient is ready, the clinic will book the procedure.
Each patient’s individual candidacy for the liposuction procedure will largely be determined by a combination of factors. For anyone not sure, a free consultation with one of Sono Bello’s patient care consultants is the best way to determine whether the liposuction procedure is a good choice, and what the procedure and recovery process will look like.
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