How Effective is Liposuction for Weight Loss?

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  • Written By: Traci Behringer
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 10 March 2020
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Liposuction for weight loss is a procedure long thought by many to be a good, effective idea. Contrary to this train of thought, however, getting liposuction is generally not effective as a method of weight loss. In fact, many cosmetic surgeons say that people solely looking to lose large amounts of weight are bad candidates for liposuction for weight loss. Overweight individuals are at higher risk for complications from this surgical procedure, and liposuction is not a good long-term weight management strategy for most people.

Most doctors believe that liposuction for weight loss works for those who need to remove superficial fat that exercise and dieting cannot seem to do away with. For example, candidates may want to remove persistent, excess fat from the arms, hips, abdomen, or face. While liposuction can remove unwanted fat, if the underlying causes of the weight gain are not addressed with diet and exercise, the results may not last.

Liposuction for weight loss can be problematic due to skin elasticity. In normal procedures, a cosmetic surgeon must consider how elastic the area of skin is before allowing a procedure in that area. If the patient wanted a large amount of excess fat removed, it would not be possible for the skin to simply "bounce back" from the procedure. Instead, the skin would remain stretched out, usually requiring further surgery for removal.


There are several reasons that excessive liposuction may not be a good idea. Due to the amount of time required for significant fat removal during liposuction for weight loss, patients may experience overexposure to anesthesia. If the patient isn't very healthy to begin with, the surgery also comes with a higher risk of complications.

In particular, patients who have a history of excess bleeding, deep vein thrombosis, or pulmonary emboli are at higher risk for surgery complications. Those with cardiac arrhythmias, immunodeficiency disorders, and disorders which cause seizures are also at risk. Additionally, patients who have diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, or edema are bad candidates for the procedure. People who are overweight, and thus may be interested in liposuction for weight loss, are more likely to have some of these other conditions as well.

Complications which may arise during liposuction vary greatly. For example, a patient may develop an infection, experience an allergic reaction to the anesthesia or medicine, or require an extended amount of recovery time. In more complicated cases, a patient may experience fluid accumulation, excessive fluid loss, blood clots, or fat clots. In extreme situations, the patient may experience damage to vital organs, nerves, and skin.



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