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Trying to eliminate pockets of excess fat that accumulate on the abdomen, flanks, thighs, and other areas of the body can be a frustrating process. Often, diet and exercise on their own are just not sufficient to the task. In such cases, many people who want to achieve more aesthetically pleasing body contours turn to liposuction, which has been one of the most popular plastic surgery techniques for more than three decades now. This safe, proven procedure has allowed millions of patients to improve their figures through the precise targeting and removal of isolated deposits of fat. Often combined with other plastic surgery procedures such as abdominoplasty (“tummy tuck” surgery) and breast augmentation, liposuction is a potentially ideal solution for anyone looking to refine and rejuvenate their contours.

Candidacy

Before patients are permitted to undergo liposuction, their candidacy must first be determined by a qualified plastic surgeon. The best candidate is someone who is in excellent health, is within 25 pounds of his or her ideal body weight, and has deposits of fat that have not responded to diet or exercise. Men and women over the age of 18 who meet the necessary health qualifications may be great candidates for liposuction.

People who are generally not good candidates for liposuction include:

  • Women who are pregnant or nursing
  • Individuals with health problems that could interfere with their healing
  • People who are taking blood-thinning medications, unless they are able to discontinue use of these medications in the weeks leading up to and following surgery
  • People who are allergic to lidocaine, which is used in the procedure

Teens and Liposuction

There have been cases of children as young as 12 undergoing liposuction. While this is uncommon, there are rare instances in which a doctor may perform liposuction on a teen, especially after major weight loss that may have left one or two lingering bulges of fat. Generally, a doctor will assess a teenager’s emotional maturity and self-esteem before agreeing to perform liposuction. The majority of these patients choose to have one problem area contoured to help with self-esteem issues. Some teens are affected by excess fat under the chin, in the calves, hips, or other areas, and it can be a source of embarrassment and ridicule among peers. In these cases, liposuction can eliminate this fat and produce a more sculpted, toned appearance.

Adults

While there is no upper age limit for patients who want to have liposuction, there are risks associated with any type of surgery. Therefore, patients should be in basically good health in order to safely undergo the procedure. Patients who suffer from serious medical conditions or who take certain medications may not be good candidates for liposuction. Consult with your primary care physician and plastic surgeon to find out whether you are an appropriate candidate for this procedure. Because liposuction removes fat but does not tighten skin, patients with good skin elasticity tend to experience the most aesthetically pleasing results. Older patients typically have less supple skin than younger patients.