The primary aim of liposuction surgery is not to remove all the fat in the treated area, which could even lead to gaunt appearance and skin asymmetry. Instead, the procedure almost always leaves some layer of fat to preserve the natural contours and “valleys” of the body, which is particularly important when treating female patients.
The success of liposuction surgery, as with any body sculpting procedure, is only possible with proper patient selection.
The list below, shared by leading body sculpting expert Dr. Tarick Smaili, explains the proper way to select patients.
* Normal weight. For the sake of accuracy, plastic surgeons use body mass index, or BMI, to figure out if a patient is at a healthy weight for his or her height. Generally, the higher the number, the more body fat a person has.
Liposuction only works on localized subcutaneous fat, which is underneath the skin and is responsible for the appearance of fat rolls and unsightly bulges. Meanwhile it is surgically difficult, if not impossible, to remove the deeper, obesity-related visceral fat that only responds to real weight loss.
Obese patients are poor candidates for any type of elective surgery—not just body contouring but also facial procedures such as facelift—because of the increased risk of skin necrosis (death of tissue), infection, and wound dehiscence.
* Healthy individuals. Medical conditions that could prevent a person to heal properly, or could expose him or her to undue risk, is a poor candidate for liposuction or any type of elective plastic surgery. For example, blood-related disorder, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and autoimmune deficiency can increase the risk of complications.
Also, patients who are taking drugs known to increase bleeding (e.g., anticoagulants, aspirin, and non-steroidal anti-inflamammatory drugs) are at higher risk of complication unless they will discontinue these medications at least two to three weeks prior to the operation.
* Motives and expectations. The ideal candidates for liposuction should have realistic expectations. First and foremost, it only removes just a small amount of localized fat, thus the preoperative weight and dress size will likely remain the same after surgery.
Liposuction is also not a substitute for “real” weight loss, making regular exercise and healthy diet more important than ever after surgery.
* Good skin tone. While old age is not an absolute contraindication to liposuction, it is known to decrease the capability to redrape to the new contour. Nevertheless, surveys have suggested that many patients past their prime have reported high satisfaction rate with their more streamlined appearance.
As long as the patient has realistic goals and expectations, liposuction could deliver a satisfying result.