Christopher Chung, M.D.
American Board of Plastic Surgery
Chief Medical Officer
For decades, the role of liposuction in weight loss has been debated. The original application and intent of fat extraction was for a body contouring goal. The utility of many tools has been expanded with the growth of experience by time and number of artists. Use has led to abuse, but also evolution. The early adopters and their aesthetic community have long held that “liposuction is not a weight loss procedure”. Publicly this was their position but privately an awareness of patients being benefitted from liposuction techniques in a weight loss role was growing.
So how much weight loss can you lose with liposuction anyways? It is still a generally held belief that weight loss has a multifaceted solution. Diet, exercise, and good healthy habit formation remain the cornerstones. In some cases, bariatric surgery becomes a practical if not essential element. The reformation of the skin envelope and body contouring then becomes the goal after baseline weight is achieved. Resectional surgery of cutaneous elements combined with liposuction has been the traditional “next step” in finishing the transformation.
A different approach has accumulated enthusiasm with early adjuvant use of liposuction, along with diet and exercise. Experience of large volume fat extractions limited by individual state statutory volume guidelines has evolved from the expansion of liposuction practices. Each liposuction event may result in a maximum of 4000-5000cc of fat being removed. It is not uncommon for some patients to lose 20-30 pounds following liposuction with maintenance of a well balanced healthy life style.
While the most common goal of liposuction retains a body contouring focus, some patients are seeking and receiving a primary weight loss framework. Current state and community standards do limit the increments of fat extraction to 8-10 pounds per event.
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