Large Volume Liposuction—How to Perform It Safely


Liposuction surgery in general is a spot contouring procedure in which a small amount of superficial fat is removed with a hollowed tube attached to a vacuum.  To preserve smooth skin surface and avoid gaunt appearance, it is imperative to make sure that some fat remains afterwards.

But for a small number of patients, large volume liposuction might be necessary to achieve good results.  Oftentimes, the procedure is performed on massive weight loss patients who have abundant superficial fat that is extra fibrous and dense.

While there is no strict definition of large volume liposuction, many plastic surgeons define it as a removal of at least 4 liters of fat, or 5 liters of total fluids (meaning the wetting solution injected into the fatty area is also taken into account).  According to studies, most complications arising from this practice is caused by fluid imbalance in the body.

Because removing large volume of fat could increase risk of complications, some doctors prefer doing two or more separate procedures.  Nevertheless, it remains a reasonably safe procedure as long as strict patient selection is employed, preparations have been made, and surgical techniques that minimize trauma are used.

As an elective procedure, liposuction is only reserved for healthy individuals with no healing problem or whose medical condition is well under control prior to surgery.

Large volume liposuction must be only attempted by a board-certified plastic surgeon who has a deep understanding of the physiological changes and potential risks associated with the procedure.  In this way, he can recommend certain preparations and use techniques that could counteract these side effects.

It is also important to have a licensed anesthesiologist who knows the ramifications of large volume lipo, allowing him to utilize every effort that can make the procedure a reasonably safe endeavor.

Because patients who will undergo large volume liposuction will need “special attention,” the support staff in the operating and recovery room should be also thoroughly trained to identify any sign of postop complication, and to provide the necessary care during the healing phase.

As with any type of plastic surgery, liposuction is viewed as a major surgery, thus it should only be performed at a hospital or accredited surgical facility.  The idea is that a safe venue is supervised by a highly trained staff; it has complete medical equipment that will be needed in the event of emergency; and it has met the building code, patient care, and fire safety standards of a state where it is operating or a nationally recognized accreditation body.
Article by
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon