Semin Plast Surg 2002; 16(2): 143-152
DOI: 10.1055/s-2002-32253
Copyright © 2002 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA. Tel.: +1(212) 584-4662

Considerations in Large-Volume Liposuction

 George W. Commons1 , Bruce D. Halperin2
  • 1Department of Plastic Surgery, Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, CA
  • 2Department of Anesthesia, Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, CA
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
17 June 2002 (online)


The application of liposuction surgical techniques has evolved since the introduction of the procedure in the 1970s. The use of the wetting solution as part of the surgical procedure has changed the conduct of the surgery and has expanded the cosmetic and aesthetic possibilities for the patient. The patient may now obtain a more dramatic change in body contour by removal of larger volumes of fat taken from a larger number of surgical areas. Patients that needed large volumes of fat to be resected to achieve a significant change in body contour may now benefit from large-volume liposuction. By incorporating large-volume liposuction into a plastic surgical practice we have more to offer a larger number of patients who desire changes in body contour. As with all surgery, risks to the patient are associated with these new procedures. Patient safety remains the primary concern in performing large-volume liposuction. The safe conduct of large-volume liposuction demands adherence to the pillars of safe surgery. To successfully perform large-volume liposuction, safe and knowledgeable surgeons must practice with knowledgeable anesthesiologists. The operating room staff must be knowledgeable of the special features associated with liposuction and the surgery must take place in a fully equipped, hospital equivalent, surgical facility. In this country, major surgery is conducted in fully equipped medical facilities and large-volume liposuction is certainly major surgery. Communication among all members of the operating room team during the procedure facilitates the safe conduct of the surgery. Proper patient selection for the surgical procedure is a cornerstone principle of all surgery and is critical for safe conduct of large-volume liposuction. The ability to perform large-volume liposuction does not mean all patients are surgical candidates. A well-informed patient with appropriate expectations of the final cosmetic outcome is most likely to be satisfied with the surgical result.