How Much Fat Can the Liposuction Remove Safely in One Session?

What is the maximum fat that can be remove by lipo Dr at a time.

Doctor Answers 16

How much fat that can be safely removed at 1 liposuction depends on several factors.

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In healthy patients who weigh over 200 lbs, then 5-7 liters is not uncommon to be removed safely at 1 liposuction.  In a 100-110 lb patient, that number might be 1.5 liters.  If the liposuction is done under local anesthesia by the tumescent technique with the patients awake which is now the standard, then it is by far safer and other factors come into play such as amount of lidocaine injected, size and number of the areas, vital signs during the surgery,  liver condition, or other health issues etc. Always see at least 2-3 docs for consultations when considering liposuctions and trust the doc you finally choose. 

Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

How much fat can be removed in one session of liposuction

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As Dr Yuan has mentioned, our society has adopted 5 liters (5000 cc) as an arbitrary number to distigtuish "higher volume" liposuction. This implies that it carries greater risk and should be performed with a higher degree of concern. It is not an absolute number. To the best of my knowledge up to 18 liters (approx 40 pounds) have been removed in one sitting. However, this is extremely rare and should likely be performed in a hospital setting.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Liposuction Safety

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Your question implies only one facet of Liposuction safety. With standard superwet or conservative tumescent formulas, 3500 cc of fat removal is almost always safe to do as an outpatient. If one removes over 5000 cc of fat (and amounts up to 10,000 cc have been removed), the patient must be observed overnight in the hospital with blood for a transfusion available (though rarely used). Between these two amounts requires judgement at the time of surgery. A different infusion formula, using different amounts of the drugs used (epinephrine and Lidocaine), will change these amounts as the anesthesia becomes the limiting factor. There are many non Plastic Surgeons using formulas that push the safety of these drugs. Ask about experience and the method used when meeting with your surgeon.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon

How Much Fat Can the Liposuction Remove Safely in One Session?

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The most common answer is 5 L of fat. Some states have upper limits on the amount of fat that can be removed during an outpatient procedure. I would consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon so that you can hear their specific recommendations for your liposuction procedure.

Maximum liposuction volume

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In California, the maximum amount of liposuction aspirate allowed by law is five liters. Risks go up and precision is decreased with larger amounts of liposuction.  Careful fluid management and postoperative monitoring because more important with larger amounts of liposuction.  Make sure that you choose your surgeon carefully and make safety a priority.

David Stoker, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Maximum fat removed with liposuction in one session

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5 liters is the typical answer to this question. Unfortunately, everyone has a different body shape and weight so this answer can vary and is best decided by your plastic surgeon. For this reason it is extremely important to assure that a board certified plastic surgeon with experience with liposuction is doing your procedure and not a physician or provider who did training in another speciality.  

Tyler Angelos, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

The great fat suctioning contest

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And that is really what it seemed like for a while.  In the 1980s, we were told that only about 4 pounds was safe to suction.  But then the techniques changed and, when we infiltrate the fat with a chemical called "epinephrine", blood loss is markedly reduced.  That let's us suction more safely.  So, first of all liposuction is not a method of weight loss - if you are more than about 10-15% above your ideal weight, lose weight first.  At that point, 4 pounds should be a very safe amount to suction.  We can go all the way up to 10 pounds in an average, healthy person, but there is no question that the risks increase with higher amounts of fat.  Above 10 pounds (give or take a pound) is simply foolish.  We need to be sensible about cosmetic surgery, and not endanger your life.  It's not "what you can get away with"'s what is uniformly safe.

Maximum fat removal from liposuction

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Thank you for your question.  The official recommendations of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the American Association for the Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgical Facilities (AAAASF) are to remove no more than 5L of total lipoaspirate (fat plus fluid) in a single outpatient session of liposuction, for reasons of patient safety.

Removing Fat in Liposuction

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The standard answer to how much fat can be removed during a single liposuction session is usually given as 5 liters; however, that includes the volume of solution that is injected into the fat to facilitate its removal and numb the treatment area. It is also an arbitrary number. Thinner patients would need to have less removed. Those with more body bulk may be able to have more removed at once. It will vary by the patient's body type, health, and the practitioner's skill and expertise.  Please note that liposuction and liposculpture are techniques to remove fat, not lose weight. It might be more helpful to think in terms of inches of fat lost, rather than volume of fat removed. You might also want to look into some of the nonsurgical, noninvasive permanent fat-removal techniques, such as CoolSculpting, Vanqish, and ThermiLift. Please consult with board-certified dermatologist to find out which technique is best for you.

Mitchel P. Goldman, MD
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Safety First

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The general recommendations for liposuction vary, whether the procedure is being done as an out patient or with an overnight stay.  The general recommendation for out patient liposuction volume is to limit it to 5 liters of total aspirate; that is, the total amount of material that is aspirated from the patient.  If the patient is staying for a 23 hour or overnight stay, where intravenous fluids can be managed and urine output assessed, then the safety limit is in the 7 liter range.   It is important not to push your surgeon to take too much at any one sitting because fluid shifts and electrolyte imbalances and low blood pressure can be threatening to your health and even to your life.  It is better to have two stages and accomplish all of your goals safely with a several month rest period in between, if that’s what it takes to get you to your goal.  Talk about safety, talk about recovery, talk about volume of reduction and goals with your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. 

Richard A. D’Amico, MD, FACS
Englewood Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.