Weight loss is an accomplishment worth celebrating. However, loose skin around the body and, perhaps surprisingly to some, residual pockets of fat may still remain even after significant weight loss. In these cases, liposuction can be used to reduce stubborn fat and create a more attractive body shape or it can also be used in conjunction with other skin removal procedures to help achieve optimal contours.

liposuctionAlthough considered to be the gold standard in fat removal, liposuction does not always work well for weight loss patients. When fat is removed via liposuction, the overlying skin needs to snap back to get the optimal result. If the skin was loose and lacked elasticity prior to liposuction, it will continue to remain that way after the procedure. People with skin that is naturally more elastic and firm have less chance of having loose skin after liposuction. But if a substantial amount of fat is removed, liposuction can, in some cases, worsen the appearance of loose skin. The elasticity of your skin (or actually the lack thereof) and the amount of fat you wish to remove are potential reasons why Dr. Michaels may advise you against liposuction as a standalone procedure after significant weight loss.

In his extensive experience, Dr. Michaels has found that liposuction can be used to improve the contours of the body when performed in conjunction with lift procedures, such as arm lift, thigh lift and tummy tuck surgery. Removing fat via liposuction also allows the surgeon to remove additional skin during your skin removal procedure, allowing a smoother contour and more attractive end result. When combining liposuction with a lift procedure, Dr. Michaels makes tiny incisions in the treatment area, removes the desired amount of fat and then excises the loose, hanging skin. This allows for optimal tightening of the treated areas.

As a board certified plastic surgeon specializing in body contouring, Dr. Joseph Michaels is skilled and trained in helping patients sculpt the best possible post-weight loss body figure.

Liposuction can also be performed to collect fat that can be used to augment volume in body areas such as the buttocks and breasts for a more proportional figure. During body lift procedures, Dr. Michaels removes unwanted fat from the abdomen, back, thighs or flanks and adds volume to the buttocks, correcting the deflation that often occurs in the buttocks following significant weight loss. When operating on the breasts, the surgeon is able to remove excess fat from one body area and add it to the breasts. This procedure is a great alternative to breast implants and is ideal for women whose breasts have become deflated or unshapely following significant weight loss. Liposuction is commonly combined with a mastopexy (breast lift) to remove excess skin and elevate the nipple-areolar complex to rejuvenate breast contour.

Before and After Photos

Dr. Michaels offers several types of liposuction, including traditional liposuction, laser liposuction (Smartlipo), power-assisted liposuction and ultrasound-assisted liposuction (VASER) to give you the best results based on your anatomy. During your initial consultation, Dr. Michaels will review your medical history, examine your anatomy and discuss your goals with you in order to determine which type of liposuction can best achieve your desired outcome.

Patients who desire liposuction as a standalone procedure will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Ideal candidates for liposuction are those that wish to remove small pockets of fat on the body. Patients should also be in good physical and mental health and have realistic expectations about the outcome of the procedure. Prior to your procedure, Dr. Michaels will discuss your aesthetic concerns and goals in order to design a treatment plan that is customized to fit your needs.

Quick Facts


1-4 hours (depending on the extent of the procedure)


General, or intravenous (IV) or oral (PO) sedation for small-volume procedures


Usually outpatient; those treating a large volume require an overnight stay

Side effects

Temporary swelling, bruising, and some pain


Pain, bleeding, infection, asymmetry, damage to nerves (in rare cases), incomplete improvement, contour irregularity


1 week: back at work. 3 weeks: more strenuous activity allowed. 8-12 weeks: swelling resolves and patient can resume normal activity.

Duration of results

Proper diet and exercise can prolong results

To learn more about liposuction after significant weight loss, including whether you are an ideal candidate, please contact us here or call 301-468-5991 to schedule a one-on-one consultation.