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How Much Weight Can You Lose with Liposuction?

Christopher Chung, M.D.
American Board of Plastic Surgery
Chief Medical Officer
Sono Bello

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.

Video Transcript

Mike Garrison, President, Sono Bello: Dr. Chung is liposuction a weight-loss procedure?

Dr. Chris Chung, Chief Medical Officer, Sono Bello:

It’s actually not you know we get asked that question often how much weight will I lose with liposuction and despite the fact that we can remove on average anywhere between 3 to 12 pounds of pure fat from each session it really is not. It really is more about the volume loss and so the volume loss tends to be very dramatic and while most people would like to think that given the volume loss you’ve lost a lot of weight there really isn’t a whole lot of change on the scale but how you look would be very different

Mike Garrison, President, Sono Bello:

We’ve often heard that liposuction can be a jump start to a healthier lifestyle. Can you talk about what you’ve seen with some Sono Bello patients with respect to that?

Dr. Chris Chung, Chief Medical Officer, Sono Bello:

I think that is truly where success lies, many patients are very frustrated with what they’ve done and the lack of outcome from it, and in liposuction it’s immediate and what I mean by immediate is the results can be visualized in a matter of weeks as opposed to dieting and exercise which after months and months of starvation and rigid regimen still you don’t see very much change and because of that immediate gratification of seeing that difference many of our patients feel very much motivated then embark on a healthier lifestyle and it truly is a huge success story when we see that type of partnership between what we can offer and what they can do to really better themselves.