How Much Belly Fat Can Be Removed with Liposuction?
Christopher Chung, M.D.
American Board of Plastic Surgery
Chief Medical Officer
Everyone’s body is unique—and so is every liposuction procedure.
That’s why the specifics of an individual’s body can directly impact the amount of belly fat that can be removed via liposuction.
When a surgeon works with a patient to determine the best possible fat removal procedure to help them achieve their body goals, many important factors are considered. These include:
– The patient’s overall health
– The patient’s current weight and amount of body fat
– The patient’s desired weight and body fat
– Expected recovery times and potential complications
– Cost of the procedure
That’s why, when it comes to how much fat can be removed in a single liposuction procedure, the answer can vary from patient to patient.
For starters, the amount of fat that is possible and legal to remove from an individual patient in a single liposuction procedure is often dictated by law and can vary from state to state.
However, that is in comparison to the amount of fat that it is safe to remove during a liposuction procedure. That can be even more varied, and may change depending on each patient’s specific needs, health, and conditions.
Here’s a closer look at how a surgeon helps an individual determine how much belly fat is the right amount to remove in a single liposuction procedure.
Why do people choose liposuction to remove belly fat?
For many patients struggling with stubborn belly fat that simply won’t burn off with diet and exercise, liposuction may be an ideal choice to get rid of those last few hard-to-drop pounds.
While a moderate amount of body fat can be healthy, too much can negatively impact an individual’s sense of self and their body image. For these patients, liposuction can be an effective way to remove those pockets of stubborn fat permanently and efficiently.
There is a limit, however. Even an expert surgeon cannot fully remove a patient’s belly fat, nor would they want to. That’s why it is important to consider how much fat is safe to remove from each patient, and in what timeframe it may be removed.
How much belly fat can be removed in a single liposuction procedure?
In terms of volume, the maximum amount of fat that can be removed from a patient’s body during a single liposuction session is often between 4000 and 5000 cubic centimeters. That’s a little under 300 cubic inches, which is about the same volume as a fully inflated volleyball.
For most people, this 5000cc of fat is equivalent to about 10 pounds.
When it comes to the abdominal region – an area that stores a high percentage of body fat – a person in good health and who isn’t at risk of surgical complications could theoretically have the maximum recommended volume of fat removed in one visit.
Need a visual to help understand what this looks like? See this before and after gallery to gain a visual sense of what the results of belly fat removal look like.
However, everyone’s unique body, conditions, and goals can impact the amount that is safe to remove in one procedure. That’s where the guidance of an experienced professional can make a big difference.
Does the type of liposuction procedure being performed impact the amount of belly fat that can be removed?
Yes, the liposuction procedure being performed can have an impact on the amount of fat removed in a single procedure—but not for the reason you might think.
While the total amount of fat that can be removed in a single procedure may be the same legally regardless of the procedure type, the way the procedure is performed (and who is performing it) can also impact the result.
To put it another way: a highly skilled surgeon performing a procedure that uses minimally invasive techniques may be able to remove the maximum amount of belly fat more effectively and more efficiently than others—mainly because the health of the patient is better protected, and the necessary recovery is easier on the patient’s body.
Surgeons can remove more fat, more safely with minimally-invasive liposuction procedures
Choosing a minimally-invasive liposuction procedure allows the surgeon to remove a greater volume of fat more confidently without jeopardizing the patient’s safety.
Sono Bello’s TriSculpt micro-laser liposuction procedure, for example, is effective at removing excess, stubborn fat from large areas of the body like the abdomen.
During this procedure, the doctor uses advanced lasers and power-assisting technologies (rather than relying on their own muscle power) to safely dislodge and gently remove potentially sizable quantities of body fat from the patient.
These modern techniques enable the surgeon to extract fat more effectively and with less effort, helping the patient achieve their ideal look without putting them in danger.
And the lasers don’t just make it easier to remove belly fat; they make the targeted fat itself easier to remove by softening and emulsifying the cells via heat energy. When it comes to treating the abdomen, this is especially useful because of the large volume of stubborn fat contained within this area.
Another advantage of micro-laser and power-assist technologies is that they allow the surgeon to not only expend less effort but also apply less physical force to the patient’s body. This makes the TriSculpt technique less traumatic on the area being treated by reducing the impact on the targeting and surrounding tissue. Less impact also means less postoperative discomfort and swelling during recovery.
Finally, the micro-laser liposuction procedure is so effective that Sono Bello surgeons use only local anesthetic, allowing them to avoid general anesthetic entirely. This helps make the procedure safer for the patient and easier on the patient’s body, making it more likely that the surgeon can remove the maximum amount of belly fat without adding to the overall risk.
So, for patients wondering if the amount of belly that can be removed from their body is dependent on the type of procedure that they elect to undergo, the answer is yes. The tools and technologies associated with a given technique can make it easier and more efficient for skilled surgeons to dislodge and extract the fat from the targeted region. Increased ease and efficiency subsequently enhance the quantity of fat that can be safely removed.
Remember: there’s a difference between losing fat and losing weight
Whatever an individual’s body transformation goals may be, it should be noted that liposuction is about fat removal and body contouring, not weight reduction.
I.e., cosmetic surgeons are concerned with optimizing the overall shape of a person’s body, not decreasing its total mass. The line separating these two concepts can be tenuous and blurry at times, but it’s important to understand when developing a healthy body image.
The bottom line is: improvement is a hard thing to measure numerically. Facts and figures such as pounds of body fat don’t always reflect an improvement because fat is distributed differently for different people depending on their genetics, metabolisms, hormones, and lifestyle habits. For some, their excess fat may all be concentrated in one “problem area,” while for others, it could be more spread out.
Therefore, patients should be encouraged to view their liposuction results in terms of how their body’s appearance has been enhanced rather than how its weight has been reduced.
When it comes to removing the maximum amount of belly fat with liposuction, it’s all about safety
Over the years, liposuction providers like Sono Bello have leveraged a combination of expertise, innovation, dedication to patient success, and reliability to cultivate a unique approach to body transformation.
Quality and safety are top priorities, necessitating the use of only the latest medical tools to provide patients with optimal results. All of Sono Bello’s board-certified surgeons have been intensively trained in the latest liposuction technology, including micro-laser liposuction.
This expertise allows Sono Bello surgeons to perform thousands of body contouring surgeries in the safety of AAAHC-accredited centers across the country.
Sono Bello surgeons also try to instill in their patients a healthy perspective on transforming their bodies. This philosophy is based on the prioritization of volume over mass and shape before size.
The volume of fat that can be removed from a person’s belly can be significant and can give the impression of dramatic weight loss. This change in appearance is more important than any actual changes in their weight.
The objective of these surgeries is to revamp the way a person’s body looks and feels. In some cases, patients may see only a slight alteration in their body weight, but they have achieved their body contouring goals. If the latter is achieved, the procedure is successful.