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Dr. Jejurikar's Blog

One of the most common plastic surgery procedures performed in the United States is liposuction; in fact, according to official statistics published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, it was the third most commonly performed procedure performed in 2014, just behind breast augmentation and nose reshaping. Patients are frequently pushing their plastic surgeons to remove as much fat as possible; their surgeons often times must limit the amount of fat removed secondary to safety concerns,

So how much fat can your plastic surgeon safely remove during liposuction? For years, surgeons have been following guidelines set forth by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. In these guidelines, the maximum extraction limit of fat is 5000 mL, which roughly correlates to 11 pounds of fat. These guidelines have applied to all patients, regardless of their weight or body mass index.

These guidelines, which are widely followed and the basis for liposuction laws in some states, have no real data backing them up them. With that in mind, researchers last month (September 2016) published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery an innovative study looking at approximately 4500 patients, all of who underwent liposuction.

The findings were very important. First of all, none of the patients died following liposuction and the total complication rate was less than 1.5 percent. Second, virtually all of the complications that did occur were considered to be minor in nature.

Keeping all of that in mind, the plastic surgeons performing the study utilized a sliding scale approach to liposuction. Patients that were obese underwent greater amounts of fat extraction then those that were skinny. The researchers found that those patients with a higher body mass index were better able to tolerate large-scale fat removal (> 5000 mL) compared to those with a lower body mass index. Although they were careful not to advocate large volume liposuction for all obese patients, the researchers concluded that each individual patient’s risk factors must be looked at closely prior to determining the optimal amount of fat to remove.

It is important to keep in mind that the researchers performing the study were qualified, board-certified plastic surgeons. In their hands, the complication risks with liposuction were quite low. That being said, severse complications can occur with liposuction, including blood clots going to the lungs, possible puncture of internal organs, and infections. To minimize the risks of liposuction, it is important that you seek a qualified provider, preferably a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons.

To learn more about liposuction, contact the office of Dallas plastic surgeon Dr. Sam Jejurikar at 214-827-2814.

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