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How old do you have to be to get liposuction? MARK A. SCHUSTERMAN, MD, FACS

Fellow of the American College of Surgeons American Society of Plastic Surgeons American Board of Plastic Surgery American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery American Board of Cosmetic Surgery Association of American Physicians and Surgeons Texas Surgical Society Texas Society of Plastic Surgeons

18 is the lowest age you can get liposuction

Eighteen is a momentous age for the youths of our nation. Eighteen is when you can vote, when you become legally separate from your parents or guardian. Eighteen is when you can buy your own house, get married, sue somebody or be sued by somebody, and invest in the stock market.

Eighteen is, more or less, the age in which you are legally recognized as an adult by almost every state in the country. As a result, it’s also the age when you become eligible for cosmetic surgery, like liposuction.

The 12 year old that got liposuction

There is one infamous example of someone who received liposuction at an age under 18- Brooke Bates, a 12 year old in Texas, was morbidly obese, at 220 pounds with only 5 feet and 5 inches in height. Her parents refused gastric bypass, thinking it risky, and allowed their daughter to persuade them into plastic surgery.

A family friend, Dr. Robert Eresk, agreed to do it because the father’s terminal cancer allowed Bates to guilt him into the procedure, and the family spent $25,000 on the procedure.

Why it’s too young

This is a dangerous story that sets a dangerous precedent. Brooke Bates was only 12 years old at the time of her liposuction procedure, an age at which the body is nowhere near fully mature. This can cause all kinds of complications, like hemorrhaging and internal bleeding in a body which is mature and fully capable of handling the anatomical shock that results from liposuction, let alone the body of an adolescent like Bates.

Teens do get liposuction

Of course, some teens do get liposuction. According to the ASPS (American Society of Plastic Surgeons), in 2012, there were 236,000 recorded cases of American teenagers receiving liposuction treatments.

So clearly, these do occur, but they’re rare, composing only 1.6% of the entirety of America’s annual cosmetic surgeries. Additionally, there are instances in which children have liposuction procedures in order to remedy some form of chronic medical condition, like removing excess skin.

3000 Got it last year from corrective surgery

In 2019, more than 3,000 teens or otherwise underage patients received liposuction as a form of corrective surgery to resolve complications from other medical issues. This use of plastic surgery, called liposuction revision, can be hugely beneficial for very specific medical circumstances, like complications that can be resolved with fat grafting or skin tightening. If you or your child has some form of medical condition which you think can be resolved using liposuction revision surgery, speak with your primary care physician today.

Not a cure for childhood obesity

It should be noted that one very serious medical condition liposuction is not a cure for is childhood obesity. Obesity in someone so young is often the result of genetics, that much is true, but it’s also often the result of poor lifestyle choices.

Getting liposuction is a short-term solution, and the real fix behind such a predicament is simple dieting and exercise. If your child is suffering from childhood obesity, speak to your primary care physician and a dietician.

Younger people can lose weight quickly

Luckily for anyone who does suffer from such an affliction as childhood obesity is at good odds to overcome it- because of the incredibly fast rate of a burgeoning metabolism, and the active lifestyle which younger people tend to lead, as well as their tight skin, the youths of the world lose weight far more easily than their older counterparts. As a result, it is heavily advised that a youth seeking to shed excess weight take on regular dieting and exercise rather than turn to cosmetic surgery for the answer.

Higher metabolism

Teens in particular have higher metabolism than any other age group on average, turning calories into muscles rather than fat much of the time. Teenage girls, age 15-18 need 1,200-3,000 calories a day, depending on their musculature and other factors, and teenage boys ages 15-18 require a whopping 2,100 to 3,900 calories a day.

Compare this to someone ages 40-45 (2,200-2,800 for Men, and 1,800-2,200 for Women), and the results speak for themselves. Teens have a metabolism that just doesn’t quit.

Faster recovery from workout

Then there’s the reason that the military envies the young, and recruits them at such a green age- the teenage body is well suited to regular abuse. Teens simply recover from workouts faster than those older than them.

The youngest age most weight trainers accept is 17, and these trainees often only 36 hours of cooldown, as opposed to older trainees (30-40 years of age) who typically require two days or more before they can continue training.

Weight loss shouldn’t have saggy skin

The term “Youthful” has been applied to skin for centuries, meant to capture the taut, smooth nature of younger skin. This skin looks and feels nice, sure, but its true benefit comes from how the tight nature of young skin prevents sagging from weight loss.

In a person’s younger years, their skin remains tight enough that losing significant amounts of weight in a short time span doesn’t result in large swaths of flabby skin hanging off of their body.

FAQ

Some of the more frequently asked questions that revolve around the issues of obesity and liposuction surgery include:

What is the legal age to have liposuction?

The legal age for liposuction is, as mentioned earlier, eighteen years old. While there are cases wherein the person who received the liposuction was younger than that, like the case of Brooke Bates, it’s relatively uncommon, and you should only consider liposuction as a real option for cosmetic purposes once you’re 18 years old.

American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

The American Society for Plastic Surgery’s aesthetic arm has released an official stance on the topic. They believe that people younger than 18 are “not well suited for operation”, and they caution parents and teenagers alike to “keep in mind that plastic surgery is real surgery, with great benefits, but also carries some risks.

Teens should have realistic expectations about plastic surgery and what it can do for them. In addition, certain milestones in growth and physical maturity must be achieved before undergoing plastic surgery.”

How old is too old for liposuction

Health is far more important than age when considering if one is too old for liposuction or other plastic surgery procedures. There is no determined maximum age for someone who’s seeking liposuction as a form of cosmetic surgery, but if the patient has failing health or is otherwise incapacitated for medical reasons, it is strongly advised that they do not undergo liosuction or any other form of plastic surgery.

Contact us today to schedule your appointment with the renowned plastic surgeon and breast & body specialist Dr. Mark Schusterman. Take your first steps to a more beautiful you.

1200 Binz St Suite 1198, Houston, TX 77004