Why Do Some People Get More Results with the Same Amount of Fat/tissue Liposuctioned?

I've looked at a seemingly endless amount of before & after photos. Why is it that ssome people, who have had, say, 3000 ccs removed have a relatively small change, and some people who have that same amount removed look drastically different, with liposuction being the sole procedure?

Doctor Answers 13

Fat Aspirates vs Fat Volume Liposuctioned vs Anatomy

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   Anatomy can account for this in part.  For instance, if a person has a large subcutaneous layer but a very small frame with narrow waist to begin, the result of liposuction will be fantastic.  If a person has a wider frame and less subcutaneous fat, the result will not be as dramatic.  Also, the amount of lipoaspirate suctioned can have a variable amount of fat.

The results of liposuction vary even when patients are the same size and weight.

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The results of liposuction vary even when patients are the same size and weight. When they are different sizes, the same amount of fat removed has a greater impact on smaller individuals. Medical outcomes depend on many complex factors, from genetics to metabolism. Some people store more of their fat in the muscles (think of the marbelization in a steak). This is why doctors cannot predict a specific outcome from liposuction, or any surgery.

William P. Coleman III, MD
Metairie Dermatologic Surgeon

Aspirates Are Not The Same As Actual Fat Removed In Liposuction

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Such seemingly discrepant liposuction results can be partially explained because of the widely different anatomy of each patient and how much excessive fat makes up their treated body contours. But the real basis for these differences is to realize that volumes of fat that are recorded are not actual fat amounts but fat aspirates. Some of this fat aspirate contains a trumescent solution which is used in every liposuction procedure. How much tumescent solution each surgeon infuses for the procedure is highly variable. Some of this tumescent solution is removed with the fat and makes up a part of the fat aspirate which are the numbers that you see. This could easily explain why seemingly identical looking patients have very different amounts of fat aspirate with different results.

Differences in liposuction results

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The reasons for the differences in liposuction results are:
proportion of fat removed to fat remaining: 3000 cc from a 140 pound woman makes more difference than from a 240 pound woman,
skin draping - a medium thick skin draping over the new shape is ideal. Thin, loose skin and thick, stiff skin hide the results
weight changes after surgery - a good result requires eating to your new shape. People who eat to their old shape often put that new fat near the  liposuction, hiding the liposuction improvement. 
• Hope this helps!

Different Liposuction Techniques

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That is a good question.  It all boils down to the patient's anatomy.  If a very large person has 3000 cc removed, you will not see much of a difference.  Likewise, if a very thin person has 3000 cc removed, you will see a substantial difference.  The same is true for breast implants.  If you put a 300 cc implant in a very large breasted woman, you will not see much of a difference.  However, if you put a 300 cc in a very small breasted woman, the difference would be substantial.  So, it is better to look at how much fat you need removed, not how much someone else had removed.


Good Luck.

Differences in liposuction results for different patients and same lipo amounts

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There are many reasons for this.  One is the anatomy of the patient.  If the fatty tissue hides a small waist genetically, then this will be "uncovered" with the liposuction.  The doctors technique also makes a difference in that some doctors will take more in specific areas than others.  Some patiens have thicker fatty tissue so the density of the liposuctioned material is a greater weight than more "fluffy" fatty tissue.

  One of the more significant reasons for the variation is the amount of tumescent fluid placed in the liposuctioned areas.  For example, suppose a patient has 3 liters of fluid placed  before liposuction on one patient and another patient gets 2 liters for similar body type and areas to be liposuctioned.  Now imagine that 5 liters (5000 cc) is taken from both.  Not all of the tumescent fluids comes out but you can see from this example that there can be a different final result because of the infused fluid being different. 


Liposuction result variation

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Fantastic question! No two people are alike and it is dependent on their anatomy, the amount of localized fat and skin tone. For one patient, lipo may be the solution but for another, based on muscle weakness and skin stretch, a tummy tuck is necessary and lipo will not offer improvement. The procedure has to fit the diagnosis. Also, photographs do not always tell the full story which is why the physical exam component is so important.

Variability in liposuction results

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I have to agree with you. Liposuction results can vary irrespective of the amount of fat extracted. It depends on many individual patient characteristics that may not be so evident on a photograph. First of all, skin tone is important. If a patient has tight, elastic skin, they will naturally see more skin retraction irrespective of the technique used to remove the fat. Patients who do their part with diet and eventually exercise with a small concomitant weight loss also see more dramatic results. It always surprises me how smaller individuals, who you may think don't really need liposuction at all, can have dramatic results in body contour despite excessively small extraction volumes. Weight is probably the biggest factor. If you gain weight, even small amounts, the results tend to go in the wrong direction. Other patients may have prominent muscles or bony prominences that cause persistent fullness in a particular area. Also take a look at the height and weight of an individual. I have performed a 5 liter liposuction procedure in a larger woman with subtle results, and a 1 liter liposuction procedure in a smaller woman with more dramatic results. Keep in mind, you are going to be an improved version of yourself. Weight loss and clothing size decreases cannot be guaranteed, nor can the longevity of the result if you do not continue to do your part with diet and exercise.


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The volume removed has many components, tumescent fluid, blood and fat. Fat cells or particles in heavier patients are larger and take up more volume. finally the same volume of aspirate in a heavier patient is less visible than in a thinner patient.

Norman Bakshandeh, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon

Every Body is Different

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The result of liposuction is not dependent on the amount of fat removed, but rather the amount of fat removed RELATIVE to the remaining fat in the body.  If I removed 3000cc from a large patient who had a lot of fat, they might not see the same results that would occur if I removed only 1000cc from a petite patient who had very little fat to begin with.

Your treatment should be tailored to your body, and your surgeon will help discuss the best way to achieve your goals.

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.