I see several new patients a year who are 50, 75 even 100 pounds over weight and were told Liposuction is their answer. This is just not true.
Don’t think of Liposuction as a way to loose weight. Liposuction is a sculpting tool. It is intended for those who are at or very close to their ideal body weight. The analogy I make when I meet with new patients is to compare Liposuction with a nail file. We use it much the same way you would use the file in that we are smoothing “rough” edges to give the area a better shape and to make the problem area blend better with the areas around it.
Let me give you more of an explanation though. A large volume liposuction would be the removal of 7 to 10 liters of fat. By the way, if you had this volume removed your surgeon would likley keep you over night in a hospital and monitor your fluid status. Now, understand that when we do liposuction, the first step in the process is to pump a saline/lidocaine/epinephrine solution into the area. Then we suction out a combination of fat and the solution. So if we take out 10 liters, a lot of this volume is the water we just put in. 10 liters weighs 20 pounds but remember that a lot of this weight is the water. So, you might actually lose say 7 0r 8 pounds of fat, max. Basically, we just can’t safely remove huge volumes of fat because of safety issues.
Another issue is skin laxity. If you are carrying an extra 50 pounds your skin has stretched to accomodate the weight. Liposuction results in some skin retraction, but it cannot tighten loose hanging skin. This problem has to be treated with direct excision, usually in the form of a tummy tuck or body lift.
So, while a Liposuction cannula is a great tool to help shape and smooth your curves, it is not a magic wand we can use to shrink you.
Lee Corbett, MD
All posts on this blog are authored by Louisville liposuction surgeon Dr. Lee Corbett.