"How Many Fat CCs Will My Liposuction Remove?"
Before surgery, liposuction patients tend to fantasize on how they will look after surgery. This is to be expected. The online plastic surgery experience however has spawned a monster:
The great CC's Removed Comparison
Some patients will go online and exchange various details regarding their surgery as they have been told by their surgeons presumably. Frequent in these exchanges is information on how many CC's of fat were removed during their liposuction. On the surface, this seems very pertinent; that is, until you probe the technique and see that which is really being removed. On the surface fat is nasty stuff and the more removed the better. Right?
Problem #1: "The Infiltrate Adds"
Almost all surgeons performing liposuction put fluid [the "infiltrate"] in before they suck fat out. This is a good thing as that fluid contains painkillers and blood vessel "tightening" medications that both limit post-operative pain and decrease bruising / bleeding. Most surgeons put a fair amount of this in there; sometimes many times the amount of fat they ultimately remove. The "Super Wet" techniques actually does this by design.
Problem #2: "The Aspirate Contains More Than Just Fat"
The fatty material removed [the "aspirate"] is reported in total only as "aspirate volume." So your surgeon can really make this volume any number he wants by simply putting in more infiltrate and sucking it out making your aspirate volume greater. It will mostly be extra water, but it will be a larger number which means little.
So the real issue in fat removal is not how much aspirate volume (or CC's) you have, but how much actual fat is in it and exactly from where it is removed. In patients with ultrasound-assisted or laser-assisted liposuction, this is really difficult to figure out as the fluid comes out as a slurry (almost like a Slurpee drink). These technologies blend the fat with whatever water is present.
Dr D's practice does not fabricate volumes. The surgeon does not put in extra infiltrate to make your aspirate seem larger. The amount of fat removed in a liposuction case is not the most important issue anyway. It is the configuration of the fat left behind. This is the factor that makes things look natural when all the healing is done and the swelling has subsided.
You want a thin even pad of fat between your skin and the deeper tissues. This minimizes streaking and skin irregularities common in practices looking to get you that really large number. You also don't want so much fat removed that your skin sags (if you can avoid it). This should limit your desire for additional surgery.
Be very careful in asking for more liposuction in areas previously treated. People are not "fat bottles." If you go beyond that which is advisable, you can make the skin look really terrible...."ripply" is a term commonly used to describe it.
People are designed differently. They have differing amounts of fat in different areas. Comparing "CC's removed" with all we have said is really not going to help you figure out the quality of your liposuction treatment. Liposuction is quality not quantity. :)
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© John Di Saia, MD... an Orange County
California Plastic Surgeon
Serving Southern California since 1997 * (949) 369-5932