Q: I am a man that currently weighs around 320 lbs, am 6’2, and was wondering how much weight I could take safely off via liposuction. I am trying to lose weight and change my life around and I feel like this would give me a big mental boost and push me towards a healthier lifestyle.
A: While I do not have the advantage of seeing what your body looks like, one important general concept about liposuction is that it is not a weight reduction method. Liposuction is for body contouring of select areas for people who are at or close to a reasonable weight for their height. Patients should have a relatively normal BMI (body mass index) or at the least a non-obese BMI which is anything under 30. With your BMI of 41, you need to consider standard weight reduction methods through medical approaches of diet, exercise and even supplemental medications. As a man you should also realize that much of your abdominal weight is visceral or intraperitoneal, an area in which liposuction can not treat even if it were attempted. This is why the large stomach in many men feels hard like a watermelon. That is the fat pushing out the abdominal muscles from underneath, leaving a surprising limited of fat that could be removed between the skin and the muscles which is what liposuction can access.
In addition, you are looking at your weight problem in reverse. You first need to get a healthier lifestyle, lose some weight, and then consider liposuction to clean up any persistent fat areas. This is a strategy that will have longer term benefits and is also more likely to keep the weight off.
Q: I’ve lost more than 200 lbs. The extra skin is making it harder every lb I lose for me to get around. How will I know when I need to have surgery to take off the skin?
A: I would say that after losing 200lbs, almost no matter what weight you started out at, that you have a substantial abdominal pannus that would benefit by being removed. If this weight loss was achieved by bariatric surgery, then you should get the advice of your bariatric surgeon as to when would be a good time for some body contouring surgery. Usually bariatric surgery patients have to be at least one year from their bypass surgery and they have stable and normal laboratory studies. If this weight loss was achieved by dieting alone, then you may be ready at any time with this amount of weight loss. You may be getting to the point where not much further weight loss can be achieved because of having to drag around this large amount of loose skin. It would be important before this surgery that you have laboratory studies that show a good blood count, normal electrolytes and adequate protein levels that would support good healing.
I would recommend that you get an evaluation by a board-certified plastic surgeon at this point and be evaluated for your readiness for abdominal plastic surgery.