Posted on 12 May 2016
Patients often ask how much fat will be removed during liposuction. The answer depends on two things: the liposuction area, and the patient’s height and weight. For the purposes of this blog, let’s assume average height and weight (5’3″ – 5’6″ and about 150lbs).
Liposuction is performed by using a long thin cannula to remove the fat. However, before the fat is removed, surgeons using the ‘tumescent liposuction technique’, will inject a numbing solution in the area to be liposuctioned. When surgeons extract the fat, not everything removed via the cannula will be ‘fat.’ It will be a combination of fat and tumescent fluid.
Some plastic surgeons inject a lot of fluid (tumescent solution) to diminish blood loss. Diminished blood loss during liposuction is good because losing too much blood can be dangerous. Therefore what gets taken out is not pure fat, but a mixture of the tumescent fluid and fat. After the procedure, if your surgeon shows you a picture of a canister full of liposuction stuff, or quotes you an amount of fat taken off, it is usually about half tumescent fluid and half fat.
Common areas of liposuction include the love handles, tummy, upper back, inner thighs, outer thighs and arms. Most patients have more than one area of liposuction performed at the same time. The totals below are of the fat after the fluid has been drained off. Therefore, the weight estimate represents more closely the actual amount of fat taken versus fat and fluid.
About 1.5 to 2 pounds of fat are taken this area. This is a really high impact area as it makes patients look heavy from the front or the back views so we tend to be very thorough in this area. In addition it helps give your butt better definition. So this amount may not seem like much but it makes a big impression.
We usually take about the same amount of liposuction fluid as in the flanks, maybe a little more in some cases. So here we’re talking about 2 pounds of fat. If the person does have a lot of fat in the tummy s/he have to be very careful so the skin below the belly button does not create a fold. Whenever we do the tummy area, we also recommend doing the love handles because the love handles is what makes your waist appear narrow.
We are a little more conservative in the inner thighs, as taking too much may cause sagging of the skin. So here we might take maximum about 1 pound of fat. If we’re doing it together with a Tummy Tuck where the skin of the inner thighs is getting pulled up, our level of comfort is higher so we will take out more fat.
This is an area that many surgeons neglect because the fat in this area is really tough. Utilizing a specialized grating cannula for this area can help tremendously. Many women have a broad appearing back, and liposuctioning here makes a huge difference. Here I usually can get up to 1.5 pounds. It seems like a lot, but the back is such a large area that it can store more fat than you think.
Although a lot of women focus on this region, we are now taking less and less from this area. The reason is that if you take out too much from this area the butt can sag and look long and droopy. If you take too much out, the patient’s legs may look boyish instead of sensuous. We take no more than 2 pounds total, even in a woman with big saddlebags.
This area always surprises me because we almost always tell my patients that their skin may sag a little and that they may need a little skin tuck later on. Amazingly, the skin always snaps back, unless the patient has a history of massive weight loss. Here a little goes a long way and we rarely take out more than 1 pound.
You might think that this is not a lot of weight taken off and you would be right because liposuction is not a weight reduction technique. But, the changes in your figure can be dramatic, because liposuction is a great contouring technique. Contact Neaman Plastic Surgery to learn more about Dr. Neaman and schedule your consultation.
Dr. Keith Neaman
Dr. Neaman is a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in surgical body contouring. He prides himself on being on the cutting edge of plastic surgery. He takes an informative approach to each consultation, and through open dialogue and communication, he helps his patients decide on a treatment plan that meets their needs.