Can Liposuction Remove All Of My Fat?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am considering getting liposuction on my stomach and waistline but am curious how do you know how much fat to remove. In fact, why don’t or can’t you take all the fat that is there? I don’t want to you can just take it all? I have been searching for answer to this question but have not been able to find it.

A: Your question is actually a common one and comes in different versions. Most liposuction patients usually say just before surgery…’take as much fat as you want’…or…’feel free to keep going until none is left’. The answer is while it is possible to take much of the fat from any given area, it is not possible to physically remove all of the fat by liposuction. The way the instruments work make this impossible. The reality is you would not want to remove all the fat even if you could. Fat plays an important role between the skin and the underlying tissues that does beyond its commonly perceived metabolic role. Without fat your skin would stick right down to muscle and bone and not move when you move. The skin would be tethered, contracted and very unattractive as well. Just ask any patient who has ever had skin grafting for burn injuries. While they have a healed wound, they suffer from a loss of normal skin elasticity and flexibility. It is also important in liposuction to leave an adequate amount of fat on the underside of the skin to prevent the cosmetic deformities of irregularities and indentations, in other words to get a smooth result. There is an old plastic surgery saying in liposuction which is just as true today as whenever it was originally said…’it is just as important what you leave behind as what you take in liposuction.’

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana