Well, that depends on a bunch of different factors.
It’s legal to proceed with liposuction on any person over the age of 16, however the best age for liposuction is generally when someone is old enough to have experienced some “middle-aged spread” but young and healthy enough to easily tolerate the procedure.
We will exceptionally treat someone in their 20s, but we would want to be certain the patient would have thoroughly explored lifestyle contributors to their pre-treatment shape. They would also have to understand that anyone presenting to a doctor for liposuction in their 20s is likely (not inevitably) to experience further unwanted shape changes as they get older.
On the other hand, when a patient in their 20s can show us they have an area of fat that is out of proportion to the rest of their bodies, such as abdominal fat or love handle fat or saddle bag fat, then we know that fat can be specifically removed by liposuction to restore proportionality. In such cases we readily proceed.
More commonly we treat patients in their 30s-50s. These folk find that their efforts at the gym, whilst hugely important and gratifying, do not necessarily deliver the shape they once enjoyed and arguably deserve. They often develop an unaesthetic maldistribution of fat – too thin in some places whilst too fat in others – that diet and exercise regimes are simply incapable of rectifying. These patients are also typically healthy and manage the liposuction process easily.
We certainly treat folk into their 60s and even 70s but the treatment areas tend to be smaller. Liposuction is a cosmetic procedure and should be considered only when the patient’s health is excellent.
Everyone is assessed case by case, in any case!
It is a statistical reality that most liposuction patients are female, but gender of any sort absolutely doesn’t enter into the question of suitability for liposuction.
3) Weight/BMI/body fat %
Persons of any weight *can* be suitable for liposuction, but this depends on the goal of the treatment.
*If* a slender person can demonstrate to a doctor’s satisfaction that they manifest an area of disproportionally excessive fat despite being otherwise slender, then liposuction may be appropriate to treat that area. But obviously suspicions of eating disorders and BDD must arise.
Most liposuction candidates are of normal overall body weight, or a little overweight. They are essentially healthy, but manifest specific areas or regions of disproportional adiposity. This is the situation for which liposuction is best suited.
Once patients are into frank obesity, liposuction becomes less relevant. One can draw surprisingly large volumes of fat from the very obese without making any significant impact on their appearance, yet the risks of doing so increase rapidly with increasing weight. Risks are magnified, benefits are inapparent – liposuction is no treatment for obesity, contrary to popular thought. However, certain patients may be gratified by certain smaller procedures to help with very specific areas.
We regularly refer our larger patients to an upper GIT surgeon for bariatric surgery. Gastric banding is a proven way forward for such patients.
4) General health
Of course anyone with any significant illness ought not contemplate liposuction. Patients should be not drinking, not smoking, exercising, eating well, and be in the best shape they can be prior to the treatment.
5) Psychological health
Thorough medical history-taking in the initial and subsequent consultations will uncover those with more evident psychological issues pertaining to liposuction. It is another reason to prefer to treat those in their middle years – eating disorders and BDD will ordinarily have made their presence apparent by this time.
At Peach we are also careful to understate our expectations regarding our procedures – almost trying to talk our patients out of having work done. Risks are thoroughly reviewed, and the procedures themselves are conservative to moderate in scope – all working to discourage those with unrealistic expectations.