Bariatric Surgery and Liposuction: Are They the Same or Different?

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Priyanka Sharma
Written by Hexahealth Care Team, last updated on 29 September 2023| min read
Bariatric Surgery and Liposuction: Are They the Same or Different?

Quick Summary

Bariatric surgery and liposuction are both weight loss surgeries that help you lose weight or excess fat. However, there are some major differences between the two procedures in terms of procedure, benefits, and candidates.

  • Bariatric surgery is a more invasive procedure that involves making changes to your digestive system. Liposuction is a less invasive procedure that involves removing fat cells from specific areas of your body.
  • Bariatric surgery can help you lose a significant amount of weight and improve your health. Liposuction can help you reduce the size of specific areas of your body, but it is not as effective for weight loss.
  • Bariatric surgery is typically recommended for people who are obese and have a BMI of 40 or higher. Liposuction is typically recommended for people who are overweight or obese and have a BMI of 30 or higher.

According to the National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5), one in every four people in India is obese. Obesity can be linked to some deadliest diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. It is therefore extremely important to prevent and treat obesity. However, losing weight does not come easy to everyone. While for some genetically fortunate people, diet and exercise are enough to lose that extra weight, for others, that may not be enough. Despite your best efforts, you may experience stubborn pockets of fat or excess weight that do not seem to leave you alone. 

This is where you may consider weight loss surgery. Thanks to medical advances, safe and effective surgical procedures such as bariatric surgery and liposuction can help you lose weight or excess fat and achieve your body shape goals. But are these procedures the same? The answer is NO! While both surgeries aim to get rid of excess body fat, there are some major differences between the two in terms of procedure, benefits, and candidates. So, let’s delve a little deeper and understand the differences between the two procedures.

What is Bariatric Surgery?

Also known as weight loss surgery, bariatric surgery is an ideal treatment for people who are excessively overweight. Rather than being a quick-fix surgery that removes the fat directly, bariatric surgery alters your digestive tract and addresses the cause of excess fat. Bariatric surgery procedures, such as gastric band, gastric sleeve, and gastric bypass, shrink the size of the stomach, changing how much you can eat and limiting the number of calories you can consume. 

What is Liposuction?

Liposuction, a cosmetic procedure, removes excess fat without addressing the cause of excessive weight gain. You may choose liposuction when you are not obese but have areas of stubborn fat resistant to exercise and diet. Furthermore, liposuction is ideal for specific body areas, such as the abdomen, hips, buttocks, thighs, neck, or arms. However, liposuction is not the right choice if you want to lose weight.


Bariatric Surgery vs Liposuction

While considering your options to remove excess fat, you must keep in mind the following differences between bariatric surgery and liposuction. 



Bariatric surgery and liposuction are ideal for very different sets of candidates. Bariatric surgery is intended for people with obesity, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) higher than 40. It may also be suitable for patients with a BMI higher than 35 who suffer from health conditions like type 2 diabetes, PCOS, hypertension, heart disease, or fatty liver disease. 

On the other hand, liposuction is ideal for patients who are slightly overweight or have pockets of stubborn fat deposited in different parts of their bodies. Usually, liposuction is performed for people with a BMI below 29. Candidates for liposuction include people with 

  1. Fat deposits that do not melt away with diet and exercise
  2. Good skin elasticity
  3. Great muscle tone
  4. Strong overall health and physical condition

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Type of Surgery

Both bariatric and liposuction surgeries eliminate excess body fat. However, both are different kinds of surgeries with different end results. Bariatric surgery is a medical procedure for treating obesity. There are several types of bariatric surgery aiming to reduce the size of the stomach or small intestine to limit calorie intake. 

In contrast, liposuction or body contouring is a cosmetic procedure to remove fat and change the shape of your body. You can opt for liposuction to reduce body fat deposits from areas such as the stomach, thighs, hips, waist, buttocks, arms, chin, and neck.

Surgical Procedure

Bariatric surgery includes laparoscopic methods to alter your digestive system in order to help you lose weight.

  1. A gastric band restricts the size of your stomach by adjusting a silicone band around the upper part of the stomach. 
  2. A gastric sleeve removes around 80% of the stomach, leaving a long, tube-like pouch. This small stomach cannot hold much food, making you feel full sooner. 
  3. A gastric bypass is used to divide the stomach into two parts. It shortens the digestive track by sewing the small intestine with the upper part of the stomach. This way, the food goes into the small pouch of your stomach and then directly into the small intestine. 

With bariatric surgery, you can lose up to half of your weight depending on the type of surgery you opt for. 

Liposuction is usually performed under local or regional anaesthesia. During the procedure, the surgeon inserts a hollow instrument called a cannula under the skin through small incisions. Next, a vacuum affixed to the cannula breaks up and sucks out the stubborn fat cells from the body.


Other differences between bariatric surgery and liposuction include:-


Wrapping It Up!

Wondering which procedure to choose? It depends on your BMI, medical conditions, overall health, and goals. While bariatric surgery is a gastrointestinal surgery performed to reduce weight and eliminate weight-related issues, liposuction is a cosmetic procedure for body shaping and contouring. Both procedures can be safe and effective if performed for the right reasons for suitable candidates. 

If you want to learn more about the procedure, benefits, and risks of bariatric surgery or liposuction, you can get in touch with an HexaHealth expert TODAY! Our team of expert doctors will assist you with all queries related to the procedures, right from choosing the ideal procedure to post-surgery recovery. 


Updated on : 29 September 2023

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational and learning purposes only. It doesn't cover every medical condition and might not be relevant to your personal situation. This information isn't medical advice, isn't meant for diagnosing any condition, and shouldn't replace talking to a certified medical or healthcare professional.


Dr. Priyanka Sharma

Dr. Priyanka Sharma

MBBS, DNB Plastic Surgery

14 Years Experience

Dr Priyanka Sharma is a well-known Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon associated with HealthPort Clinic in Delhi. She has 14 years of experience in Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic surgery and worked as an expert Plastic,...View More

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