Lipo: What's the most fat that can be removed when doing lipo?

Doctor Answers 9

Lipo limit

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The most fat that can be removed when doing lipo depends on whether the patient is staying overnight in the hospital or if they are going home after surgery. If the patient is going home after surgery, the limit has been set to 5 liters. More than 5 liters can be removed but then the patient has to stay overnight in the hospital. This all depends on how much fat one has and how many areas are being liposuctioned. If many areas are being liposuctioned then the likelihood of going over the 5 liters is higher than if only 1 area is being liposuctioned. Also, just because the limit is 5 liters doesn't mean that the plastic surgeon should take out all 5 liters! A plastic surgeon has to use their judgement on how much fat to remove because you want to make sure to leave some fat behind so as to decrease the risk of seeing many irregularities. I hope you are being seen by a board certified plastic surgeon!

Ankur Mehta MD

Sugar Land, Tx

Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery

Sugar Land Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews


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While its possible to remove liters of fat in the operating room some things to consider:

1. When over 5L of fat is removed many docs will recommend hospitalization overnight  to avoid fluid shifts and toxicity of drugs that can result with these large volumes.

2. You need to have great skin elasticity of sustain a large volume liposuction and obtain the results you want. Removing the RIGHT amount of skin is what separates the experts from the hacks.

3. You will never see whats in the bucket after liposuction, you'll only see whats in the mirror. If a doc removes fat but leaves you with irregularities, skin changes or divots, you wont be happy even if it means more fat has been removed.

Good luck

Robert Frank, MD
Munster Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Total fat removal with lipo

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WE are the first center in the United States to introduce lipo over 35 years ago.  The procedure is operator dependent with expereince.  5 liter with tumescent technique and no general anesthesia and only with mild IV sedation in accrediteded surgical facility is safe.   Thanks

Afshin Farzadmehr, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

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Fat Removal Facts -- HI DEF RESULTS

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5L is the max removal in a single session for safety reasons.  Most important however is the person doing the procedure. Liposuction  works best when combined with other treatments like ultrasound/RF treatments (Venus Legacy, Exilis Ultra, Vanquish) in order to tighten, contour and define. See an expert for a formal evaluation. Best, Dr. Emer

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
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Lipo limits

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Thank you for your question. The limits imposed on liposuction volume are intended for three things. Safety, Safety, Safety. In Texas, the limit is 5 liters which is a combination of fat aspirate, tumescent fluid and blood. In my opinion, high volume liposuction should be done in a hospital setting or a surgery center that can offer overnight monitoring. I keep all high volume liposuction patients overnight to maintain IV fluids and monitor pain and vital signs.
Discuss with your plastic surgeon. But be wary of someone who wants to do high volume liposuction on you and then send you home.

Remember, this is elective surgery. Surgery we WANT, not surgery we need. Take every precaution to be safe..

Best Wishes,

Amount of fat to be removed by liposuction

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Each state has its own limits and this limit is lowered if liposuction is combined with another procedure. Consult with an experienced and expert board certified plastic surgeon to understand your options. 

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Lipo: What's the most fat that can be removed when doing lipo?

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Thank you for your question. Every state has different  regulations. Here in Texas limit is 5 lit total aspirate. Please talk to your PS for clarification specifically in your case.

Liposuction limits

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The limits on liposuction remain a point of contention. With the dawn of fat transfer, large volume liposuction has become increasingly popular as patients seek to volumize. The generally accepted limit is 5 liters of lipoaspirate (combination of fat, blood, tumescent fluid). However, recent studies suggest the limit may be variable and seems to be associated with BMI. Higher BMI patients may tolerate a higher volume reduction.

Overall, it is important to remember that the goal of liposuction is an improved contour and not weight loss. Even at the 5 liter limit, a patient is losing less than 10 lbs. of fat within the lipoaspirate. The ideal patient is healthy and has reached a stable weight within sight of their goal (10-15 lbs).

As always, discuss your concerns with a board certified plastic surgeon. 

Donovan Rosas, MD
Kissimmee Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Lipo: What's the most fat that can be removed when doing lipo?

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Every state has a little different rules/recommendations. Here in TX the safe amount to remove in one setting is 5L of lipoaspirate (this includes both the fat and fluid that comes out). That means that if you are having fat injected back (hips or buttocks etc) you aren't working with 5L of pure fat. ~1/4 to ~1/3 of the lipoaspirate is pure fat.

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.