At my practice in Birmingham, Alabama, liposuction is a very popular procedure. Liposuction is meant to slim and reshape specific areas of the body, improving contour and proportion – and often enhancing self image. Despite the obvious appeal of the procedure, not everyone is an ideal candidate. There are a few basic requirements:
- Patients should be within 30% of their ideal weight
- Patients should not have a life-threatening illness or condition that could impair their ability to heal properly
- No smokers!
- Anyone pursuing the procedure should have realistic goals and a positive attitude
In addition to these requirements, however, there’s another very important factor to consider: skin quality. More specifically, patients with poor skin elasticity may need reconsider liposuction. Inelastic skin can cause wrinkles and sagging. Liposuction can make this worse. Although some liposuction techniques (such as laser-assisted liposuction) claim to help with skin retraction, evidence does not necessarily support these claims and, even if some skin retraction can be achieved, it is not enough for most patients with inelastic skin.
But don’t worry – for individuals with poor skin elasticity, there are still ways to achieve cosmetic improvement. Procedures such as tummy tuck and body lift that actually reduce loose, sagging, excess skin can simultaneously slim and smooth body contours.
It should also be noted that liposuction is not a treatment for obesity or a substitute for proper diet and exercise. Nor is liposuction a cure for cellulite, the dimpled skin often described as “cottage cheese.”