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Large Volume Liposuction

Author: Letty's Staff Writer

Can someone who is overweight lose significant weight using liposuction surgery?...

That is the real question here for those of you who are hoping to radically change the "fat equation" that you currently find yourself in.

Personally I'm pretty cautious.

So for me – removing large portions of your body in a surgical procedure seems a little risky.

So, we're going to talk thoroughly about risks versus benefits. We are also going to talk about who would be appropriate for the procedure and under what circumstances.

Let's get talking.

What is Large Volume Liposuction?

I ran across a couple different definitions for what constitutes LVL during the research for this article. You are considered to have had a large-volume procedure if:

  1. Greater than 5 Liters (5L) of total volume is removed during surgery. OR...
  2. Greater than 4 Liters (4L) of fat is removed during surgery.

However, up to 10 Liters (10L) or more of total volume can be removed in some of these large volume liposuction procedures!... So you can understand pretty quickly that this is very serious, major surgery that has to be handled with skill and expertise.

To compare LVL to conventional tumescent liposuction – in typical lipo no more than 5 Liters total volume is removed in a single operative session. Whereas regular liposuction can typically remove up to 10 pounds of fat, large volume liposuction can be performed to remove up to four or five times that amount.

That kind of invasiveness requires some precautions.

What are the risks?

Despite the fact that liposuction has been so well accepted around the world today – it is still something that can cause fatal harm to otherwise healthy adults...

This is even truer for LVL.

It's only fair to say the majority of people who elect to have the surgery do just fine with it. However it is very important to understand the potential harm of the procedure and to come to terms with it. There are some very real risks involved.

Some of the risks associated with liposuction in general include:

  1. Infection.
  2. Bruising and swelling.
  3. Fatal blood and/or fat clot formation.
  4. Uneven or lumpy "odd-looking" results.

A few additional negative side-effects associated with LVL include:

  1. Cardiac arrest.
  2. Reaction to the anesthetic.
  3. Fluid overload.
  4. Death.

The above list sounds like, "Who would ever want to do this to themselves?"...


But there are those who feel very strongly that the surgical loss of a significant amount of weight has some benefit. So, let's talk next about how to stay as safe as possible during the process.

The 5 Pillars of Safety:

There are 5 factors that when adhered to can greatly enhance the safety of liposuction surgery.

  1. A properly trained and educated surgeon in liposuction techniques. It is not enough that you've found a licensed doctor (or a plastic surgeon for that matter). What you really want to look for is someone who has lots of talent and experience performing the exact technique that you are considering – liposuction in this case.
  2. A well-trained anesthesiologist. Conventional liposuction may not require an anesthesiologist. Large-Volume Liposuction almost always requires one to keep patients comfortable during surgery.
  3. A properly equipped facility. Not only is it important for the operating room to look clean and orderly – there should also be an emergency crash cart there to handle cardiac arrest or other surgical emergencies... A good measure of a facility's preparedness is whether or not it is accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF) or other similar organizations.
  4. A trained support staff working in the operating and recovery rooms. It is a good idea to have a preliminary look at the surgical facility when you are considering doctors for your procedure. If a surgical facility looks to be well-staffed with attentive, conscientious-looking nurses and surgical techs – then it has certainly passed an initial threshold.
  5. Proper selection of patient. If a doctor is concerned that Large-Volume Liposuction is not a good fit for you (after having taken into consideration your health history) – then it is important to listen to them. Not everyone can have this procedure because it is more dangerous for people with certain health considerations.

Should any one of these pillars be missing – you are more at risk than would otherwise be necessary.

A safer alternative?

The safest way to lose massive amounts of weight is of course through diet and exercise...

It may sound cliché but it's true. If the morbidly obese can do it on reality television – then you too can absolute change your life by changing how you approach food and physical activity.

I'm actually not even going to mention other surgical techniques here because when you're obese you are less likely to be an ideal candidate for any surgery – let alone an elective one.

The risks are there.

The Bottom-Line:

The obvious benefit to large volume Liposuction is that significant weight is surgically removed – and the process is pretty immediate. But when you remove large portions of the body – you increase the difficulty of the procedure and the need for anesthetic.

Therefore the risks are greater.

Whether or not it is worth the increased risk is really a matter of your own personal lifestyle and value system. Personally, any elective surgery that increases the chance of negative consequences without giving a very, very significant benefit in return – is something for which I am going to be skeptical.

Remember the 5 pillars of safety.

Check on all aspects of your procedure from the surgeon, to the facility and more. You only have one you. Put in the effort up-front to make sure you are as safe and well-taken care of as possible.

Take a LISTEN to this..

A New England Journal of Medicine shows liposuction has no improvement on health or future weight.

Large Volume Liposuction References:

  • "Indianapolis Cosmetic Surgeon One of Few in Indiana Offering Patients Large Volume Liposuction, Brazilian Butt Lift." PRWeb Newswire (1 Apr. 2010). General OneFile (16 July 2011).

  • Klein, Samuel, et al. "Absence of an effect of liposuction on insulin action and risk factors for coronary heart disease." The New England Journal of Medicine. vol. 350.25 (2004): 2549+. General OneFile (16 July 2011).

  • "There will be LESS Blood: New Study Recommends VASER® Lipo Over Traditional Liposuction to Significantly Limit Blood Loss During Body Sculpting Procedures." Medical Devices & Surgical Technology Week (31 Aug 2008): 3. General OneFile (16 July 2011).

  • "Research conducted at University of Minnesota has provided new information about liposuction." Blood Weekly (9 Oct. 2008): 188. General OneFile (16 July 2011).

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