While many liposuction patients tend to be younger and fitter than the majority of the population, the number of obese and elderly liposuction patients is on the rise. As a matter of fact, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ 2018 Statistical Report shows that “liposuction in patients who are age 55 and over increased by 4% between 2017 to 2018.”
Not only has liposuction become safer for patients who were previously thought to be high-risk, but it is also being used to treat medical conditions that cause subcutaneous fat to collect in certain parts of the body or to help men and women lose weight quickly.
In this article, we discuss the reasons why elderly and obese patients are able to receive liposuction; how the safety risks have been reduced in recent years; and the aesthetic outcomes that can be expected for these patients.
Why Liposuction on Obese and Elderly Patients is Increasing
There are several reasons why the number of obese and elderly patients receiving liposuction is on the rise. For one, more advanced liposuction devices paired with safer anesthesia have reduced the risks of liposuction in these patients.
Additionally, obesity is becoming more prevalent across the developed world, leading more people to seek liposuction as a temporary weight reduction technique. Moreover, an increase in life expectancy has influenced many older people to want to look slimmer and more fit. In addition to these factors, there are many single individuals, especially older people, who want a more aesthetically pleasing body to attract potential partners.
The Risks of Liposuction in Obese and Elderly Clients
In the past, liposuction was reserved for patients who were relatively young, healthy, and had small areas of concern that diet and exercise would not address. The main reason liposuction was limited to healthy patients was because health risks would increase with older or obese patients, as well as anyone with medical conditions.
However, new liposuction devices make surgery less invasive while minimizing bleeding and swelling, as well as reducing many of the other risks previously associated with liposuction. This, combined with the fact that, nowadays, patients rarely need to be put under complete general anesthesia to undergo the procedure. These factors have made liposuction safer for many patients, including and especially for those who are overweight or older.
One study featured in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal found that “large-volume liposuction on moderately obese patients is safe and effective in appropriately selected patients as a weight reduction technique, at least on a short-term basis.”
Furthermore, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons states, “one myth about liposuction for ‘older’ people is that it’s not safe, but any patient who is in good health and has had a positive medical examination may safely receive liposuction.”
The Aesthetic Outcomes on Elderly and Obese Patients
Although liposuction has become safer for the elderly and obese, achieving gold-standard aesthetic outcomes is more complex. Both types of patients will likely need multiple treatments to achieve the cosmetic results that the surgeon and their patients desire.
For obese patients who have lost a significant amount of weight – liposuction in conjunction with skin reduction surgery is ideal, since fat removal will likely increase the amount of loose skin on their bodies.
Similar procedures would be best for elderly patients, too, but for different reasons. Liposuction might also increase the appearance of sagging and loose skin in elderly patients because at their age, their skin has lost a lot of its elasticity and will not retract the way youthful skin does. As a result, liposuction paired with skin reduction surgery is an excellent treatment path that many plastic surgeons have used on their older patients.
It’s important to note, both types of patients may need multiple procedures to gain the full benefits of liposuction.
Why Staying Informed About Changes in Liposuction is Important
At Moeller Medical, we believe innovation and information are the keys to meeting the growing needs of everyone in the plastic surgery industry. This means understanding the demands that surgeons encounter as technology makes liposuction safer for more complex patients. If you would like to know more about Moeller Medical’s full suite of liposuction devices, please contact us, and one of our agents will be glad to speak with you.