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 13

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

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 43 reviews

How much fat can be removed in one session of liposuction

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 82 reviews

Liposuction Safety

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
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

The great fat suctioning contest

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.

Arthur W. Perry, MD, FACS
Franklin Park Plastic Surgeon

Maximum fat removal from liposuction

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.

Joshua D. Zuckerman, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Removing Fat in Liposuction

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 25 reviews

Safety First

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

Liposuction limit

There may be a limit that one can safely and legally remove with liposuction in an out-patient setting. This is usually about 5000 ccs. However, volume is not the only, nor necessarily the most important determinant of safety in liposuction. The formula and volume of tumescent-like fluid that is infiltrated and the total surface area of the regions to be suctioned are also  at least as important. Liposuction should be planned to be a safe procedure and it is always the better part of valor to etiher suction less or to perfrom the procedure in the hospital with experienced anesthesiologists.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Outpatient: 5000 cc's

When performing liposuction, safety should be everyone’s first priority.For this reason, we never exceed a volume of more than 5,000 cc. of fatty aspirate when this procedure is performed on an outpatient basis.

When this number is exceeded, the complication rate rises dramatically.Under these circumstances, massive fluid shifts may occur which increase the potential for cardiac and pulmonary complications.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

How Much Fat Can Liposuction Safely Remove

Outpatient Liposuction - No more than 5 liters = guidelines for most states regardless of whether it is laser lipo, ultrasonic lipo or standard liposuction

Liposuction Limits - depends on State and Safety

5000 cc's (5 liters) is the guideline limit for outpatient liposuction for many states including California. For smaller patients like yourself with more areas for liposuction removing less fat may be safer. This would probably apply to you as you only weigh 115 pounds. Make sure you have a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 157 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.