Introduction: How old do you have to be to get liposuction?
How old do you have to be to get liposuction? Essentially there are no criteria on how young you can be to get liposuction. Definitive age restrictions for liposuction just don’t exist. Yet, most surgeons will require the patient to be at least 16 years of age if they are female or 18 years old if they are male. This is because these are the ages at which either gender completes their growth. Another criterion for getting cosmetic surgery must include psychological maturity. The reason to pursue liposuction is to gain a body contour aesthetic that you haven’t been able to get on your own. Liposuction allows expert, contouring surgeons to remove unwanted fat to physically shape and sculpt your body to the desired look you want.
For young teenagers, their self-image can be the driving force behind wanting liposuction. Many teenagers today face discrimination based on the way they look and if their weight is significantly above average. Many have tried diets, medication, and exercise to lose their unwanted weight but have not appreciated the results. According to literature and medical research from the CDC, adolescent obesity makes up 20.6% of the population of those aged between 12-19 years old. That is 1 out of every 5 young teens that are victims of obesity. Furthermore, they can become victims of depression, anxiety, social phobias, and personality disorders. This can affect school performance and relationships between friends and family. If your young teenager is facing problems with social struggles because of his or her weight and appearance, then cosmetic surgery can be helpful. In fact, liposuction as a cosmetic surgery is the most commonly performed cosmetic surgery in younger patients. Interestingly, I have observed many of our teenagers will start exercising more, eating healthier, and accomplishing goals that they never thought they would reach after having had liposuction.
Now, how old is too old to get liposuction? The elderly population, also have no real age limit to receiving liposuction. The only limitations that would contradict liposuction are factors that can be associated with a patient’s health, but not the age itself. We have operated on many patients between 70 to 80 years old who had no medical conditions and were medically cleared by their physician. Yet there is no doubt as you age you will develop medical issues. Factors that could be related to your age are atherosclerotic disease, diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, mental status, kidney function, liver disease, and pulmonary compromise. The first step involved in pursuing liposuction surgery is to consult with your primary care doctor. Your doctor will likely perform a variety of tests that include blood work to check your thyroid, blood count, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. You will also have your blood clotting capacity evaluated. Finally, you will also get an EKG to check the performance and function of your heart. The next step is to consult your board-certified cosmetic or plastic surgeon and high-definition sculptor. Together, you will revisit your medical history and customize a surgical plan to meet your goals.
How Old Do You Have To Be To Get Liposuction?
Liposuction is a popular cosmetic surgery procedure that removes fat deposits from specific areas of the body. It is often sought by individuals who want to sculpt or contour their bodies. Though liposuction is relatively safe when performed by a qualified plastic surgeon, there are some age requirements patients must meet. Let’s take a closer look at the typical age recommendations for liposuction.
Liposuction, also referred to as lipoplasty, involves inserting a slender tube called a cannula under the skin to suction out fat. The procedure is done while the patient is under general anesthesia or a local anesthetic with sedation. 
Some of the most common areas treated with liposuction include:
- Flanks or “love handles”
- Hips and buttocks
- Neck and chin
- Upper arms
The fat cells removed by liposuction do not regenerate. However, liposuction does not prevent future weight gain. Patients who gain weight after the procedure may find the distribution is simply different than before.
Some benefits of liposuction when performed by an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon include:
- Improved body contours and proportion
- Clothing fits better
- Increased confidence for some patients
- Permanent fat removal as long as weight is maintained
Liposuction is sometimes combined with other procedures like a tummy tuck or breast augmentation for more comprehensive reshaping.
Risks and Limitations
As with any surgery, liposuction carries some risks, such as:
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia
- Blood clots
- Asymmetry or irregular contours
- Loose or rippling skin if a large amount of fat is removed
Liposuction also will not:
- Tighten loose skin or cellulite
- Help with weight loss beyond removing localized fat deposits
- Substitute for weight loss through diet and exercise
Careful patient selection and realistic expectations help minimize risks and disappointments.
Minimum Age Requirements
So when can someone safely undergo liposuction? Here are some general age guidelines:
18+ Years Old
Eighteen is typically the minimum age for liposuction in the United States. Some plastic surgeons may be willing to perform the procedure on younger patients, such as a mature 16 or 17-year-old. However, most will require a patient to be at least 18 years old due to factors like:
- Completed puberty and adolescent development
- Emotional maturity to handle the recovery period
- Firm skin with good elasticity
Patients younger than 18 interested in liposuction should schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. The surgeon will conduct an examination and help determine whether liposuction is appropriate. Parental consent is required for minors.
Some plastic surgeons set the minimum liposuction age higher at 21 years old when full physical maturity has been reached.
30-60 Years Old – Ideal Candidate Age
Most cosmetic surgeons consider patients between the ages of 30 and 60 to be the best candidates for liposuction.
Some reasons why include:
- Skin still has excellent elasticity before age-related laxity occurs
- Fatty deposits are more likely to be stubborn, diet and exercise-resistant areas
- Patients have achieved or are nearing their optimal adult weight
- Younger patients may still experience natural fluctuations in weight
Patients in this age range are often highly motivated by the improvements to contour and proportion liposuction can provide. Recovery also tends to be a bit easier for younger patients in good health.
65+ Years Old
Liposuction can still be performed on healthy patients over 65. However, the risks increase with age due to factors like:
- Decreased skin elasticity leads to a higher chance of loose skin or folds
- Health conditions that impair healing
- Increased risks with anesthesia
Older patients may require clearance from their primary care physician prior to surgery. The plastic surgeon will take extra care evaluating skin tone, medical history, and medications. More conservative fat removal and additional procedures like skin tightening lasers may be recommended.
When Is Someone Too Young or Too Old?
There is no definitive cut-off for being “too young” or “too old” for liposuction. Rather, it depends on factors like:
- Current state of health
- Skin elasticity
- Expectations for outcome
- Emotional readiness
- Activity level
- Weight history
A consultation with an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon is the best way to determine candidacy for liposuction. Providing complete medical history and lifestyle information will help the surgeon make an informed recommendation.
Both young and mature patients can benefit from liposuction when done for the right reasons and on appropriate body areas. However, those at the extreme ends of the age spectrum do require extra care and caution.
The best candidates for liposuction typically:
- Are within 20-30% of their ideal weight
- Have good skin tone and elasticity
- Do not smoke or quit at least 6 weeks before surgery
- Have localized fat deposits resistant to diet and exercise
- Are in overall good physical and mental health
- Have realistic expectations for outcomes
- Are not significantly overweight or obese
Loose skin and cellulite do not improve with liposuction. The procedure is about body contouring rather than weight loss.
Preparing for a Consultation
Those interested in learning more about liposuction should:
- Identify their motivation and goals for surgery
- Note specific areas of concern
- Gather medical history including any past surgeries or pre-existing conditions
- Make a list of all supplements and medications taken regularly
- Have questions ready for the surgeon such as:
- Where would incisions be placed?
- What type of anesthesia is used?
- How much downtime is needed for recovery?
- What are the risks and limitations?
Thorough consultations include a complete physical exam and assessment of skin elasticity. Arriving well-prepared helps the process go smoothly.
Finding a Qualified Surgeon
Due to the permanency of results and potential risks, it is imperative to have liposuction performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon. Important credentials to look for include:
- Certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery
- Membership in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)
- Facility accreditation from AAAASF or Joint Commission
- Adherence to safety standards and ethical guidelines
- Years of liposuction experience and continuing education
Do not simply choose a provider based on cost or convenience. Vet their qualifications thoroughly.
Summary: How old do you have to be to get liposuction?
In summary, the ideal liposuction candidate is over 18 years old with good skin elasticity, localized fat deposits resistant to diet and exercise, and realistic outcome expectations. While those under and over 18 can potentially have liposuction, they require extra precautions. An initial consultation is the best way to determine if liposuction is right for an individual based on unique health factors, anatomy, and goals. Choosing an experienced, board-certified cosmetic or plastic surgeon is vital for optimal safety and results. We hope that we have answered your question regarding, “How old do you have to be to get liposuction?”
 American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Liposuction. Accessed November 19, 2023. https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/liposuction