How Much Fat Can be Removed with Large Volume Liposuction

Liposuction is currently the most common cosmetic surgery performed. More than half of all adults in the United States are considered overweight. Even though liposuction should not be considered as a cure or even a treatment for obesity, it is the most popular cosmetic surgery performed in the US. Advances in technology have vastly improved liposuction techniques over the last two decades.

Currently patients can choose from tumescent and super wet techniques, laser assisted liposuction and ultrasound liposuction. The emergence of these techniques has made the removal of large volumes of fatty deposits with less blood more common. Keep in mind however, that large volume liposuction is a more complicated surgery and is riskier than traditional liposuction, where only small volumes of fat are removed.

Large Volume Liposuction Definition

There are some discrepancies on the exact definition of large volume liposuction. The large volume can be defined as the total amount of fat removed during the procedure or the total volume removed during the surgery.

The total volume definition would include not only the fat, but also the wetting solution and blood, as well. Defining high volume liposuction using the total volume theory is most common and most experts agree removing more than five liters of total volume would be considered large volume liposuction.

Large Volume Liposuction

Thirty years ago, liposuction was limited to one liter of total fat removal. Experts thought that anymore than this would result in an imbalance of fluids and minerals. Advances in liposuction techniques have lowered the risks of this imbalance and up to 5 liters is now considered safe. A liter is 2.2 pounds.

If the doctor decides to carry out high volume liposuction, removing more than 5 liters of total volume or extracting more than 5,000 cc’s of total fat, the procedure should always be performed in a facility that is either accredited or licensed. You should also be monitored overnight in an appropriate facility by qualified medical staff.

High Volume Liposuction Guidelines

Large volume liposuction is considered a complex procedure and the following guidelines should be reviewed to insure safety.

  • The doctor performing the surgery should be properly trained and have a thorough understanding of the difference between traditional and high volume liposuction.
  • The anesthesiologists and support staff must also have a complete understanding of possible complications when removing large volumes of fluid.
  • The facility where the procedure is done should be fully equipped to deal with any problems that may arise.
  • In addition, the surgery must be appropriate for the selected patient.

It is agreed that the proper selection of the patient for large volume liposuction is critical for the procedure to be a success.

The patient should meet all physical and psychological requirements to insure clinical victory.

Potential patients should be healthy with no medical problems or have medical conditions that are controlled by medicine as defined by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA).

A thorough review of the patient’s medical history as well as a complete physical examination should be performed before deciding if the patient is an appropriate candidate for large volume liposuction.

Patients should have realistic expectations when deciding whether or not to undergo this type of procedure. Furthermore, patients with eating disorders should be ruled out as candidates for the surgery. In addition, potential large volume liposuction patients should also be aware of the possibility of the need for secondary or touch up surgeries in the future.

Updated: May 2, 2016
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