Most patients who undergo liposuction to remove unwanted fat are happy with the outcome and would do it again, a survey suggests.
Among 209 patients who had liposuction performed by surgeons at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 80 percent said they were happy with the results.
The same percentage said they would choose to have the procedure again, while even more — 86 percent — would recommend it to family or friends, according to survey results published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Liposuction has become the single-most popular cosmetic procedure performed in the U.S., with nearly 324,000 surgeries performed last year, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
The best candidates for liposuction are healthy normal-weight people who have pockets of excess fat in the hips, thighs, buttocks or other body sites. These subjects have the best chance of getting the results they want with the lowest risk of complications.
Though liposuction is generally safe, there are some risks, such as infection or the formation of fat clots in the blood vessels. Besides these potential complications, there is always a chance of disappointing results — particularly when patients have less-than-realistic expectations or an unhealthy body image.
While satisfaction was high in the current study, 20 percent of patients were either “unsatisfied” or “very unsatisfied” with their outcome, according to researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, led by Dr. George Broughton II.
The dissatisfaction did not seem to stem from the reappearance of body fat, however. Two thirds of survey respondents reported some return of fat and satisfied patients more often said they had regained fat than dissatisfied patients did.
Broughton and his colleagues question whether the time has come for screening liposuction candidates for poor self-esteem and body image, to identify those with “unrealistic or hidden” expectations of surgery.
Doctors could use short, standardized questionnaires to identify liposuction candidates with low self-esteem, then give them further preoperative counseling or refer them for psychological counseling, according to the researchers.
The fact that some liposuction patients remain unhappy with their appearance “reinforces the mantra” that proper preoperative counseling is vital, Broughton and his colleagues conclude.