Liposuction, which is among the most common plastic surgery procedures performed, can provide very satisfying results for the right individuals. The best outcomes are obtained in patients who have localized fat accumulations, good skin tone and who are not far from their ideal body weight. If you elect to have liposuction in situations which significantly deviate from this ideal, your expectations should therefore be tempered.
With this in mind, a question that my office and I are commonly asked is if liposuction can be used as a weight loss procedure. The typical scenario is that the individual is considerably over their ideal body weight, sometimes 40 to 100 pounds or more, and just can’t lose the weight. They are frustrated and state that diets and exercising have not worked. Some indicate that they would use the results from liposuction to motivate them to be more diligent in dieting and exercising.
Delving further into their particular situations reveals that most are not even remotely adhering to their diets, and instead, are consuming far more calories than they think or want to admit to. Their exercise regimens also are highly inadequate, burning off far fewer calories than they think or hoped for. Thus, there is little or no weight loss.
Liposuction, in these situations and in general, is not and should not be employed as a method for weight loss. Removal of large amounts of fat from the body at one time does increase the risk for significant complications or even death when massive and inappropriate suctioning is performed. It is a widely accepted tenet that taking out 5 liters or less of fat in one surgical session is the prudent choice. This translates into only approximately 11 pounds at the time of surgery with the long term amount being notably less.
When you add up the attendant costs for the surgery including possible time off of work, the surgical risks that one is taking, and the considerably compromised aesthetic outcome, it rarely is a wise choice to use liposuction as a means for weight loss. Instead, I strongly recommend being far more diligent in dieting and exercising in order to lose weight.
Steven H. Turkeltaub, M.D. P.C.
Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona