Liposuction surgery removes excess subcutaneous fat (underneath the skin) by means of suction. A slender hollowed probe called cannula is introduced through small skin incisions to eliminate the excess fat, leading to a more streamlined figure.
Nevertheless, the surgery is not about how much fat is removed, but how natural the postop result will look like. For this reason, it is always necessary to leave some fat layers in the treated area to preserve the smoothness of the skin surface and natural curves of the body.
Contrary to popular belief, no one is too skinny for liposuction surgery. Leading Los Angeles plastic surgery expert Dr. Tarick Smaili says as long as the patient is healthy—i.e., no healing problem and weight issues—she can expect to achieve a good amount of improvement with the procedure.
In some cases, patients who are on the thin side are at an advantage because oftentimes they have a small localized fatty area that can be treated quicker compared with “large-framed” individuals. Also, they generally have good skin quality that allows it to shrink-wrap well to the new contour.
Women on the “heavier” side, meanwhile, may need more extensive liposuction to achieve the desired appearance. However, Dr. Smaili says it is highly ideal to limit the amount of removed fat/fluids by 4-5 liters because megaliposuction has been associated with higher risk of complications such as increased bleeding, more surgical trauma, longer recovery, and skin asymmetry.
If there is an indication to remove more than 4-5 liters fat/fluids, Dr. Smaili often recommends a second treatment performed any time after two weeks, or sometimes longer, to minimize risk of complications.
But for some naturally thin patients, the maximum amount of fat that can be removed safely by liposuction under one session could be lower than the 4-5 liters “guideline,” he adds.
Being “conservative” during fat removal is also deemed cost-effective because it is much easier to repeat liposuction to remove additional fat than correct gaunt appearance or skin asymmetry caused by over-aggressive liposuction, he further explains.
With all patients, particularly those who are on the thin side, smaller liposuction cannulae are particularly helpful in preventing or at least minimizing the risk of skin asymmetry as they provide doctors a good amount of control. Having a narrow diameter also allows them to stay in the “deeper” layer of the subcutaneous fat and minimize injury in the superficial layer very close to the skin, thus preventing unnatural contour and irregularities.