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BMI Could Help Guide Fat Extraction Limits in Liposuction

Patients with higher body mass can have more removed safely, researchers claim

MONDAY, Sept. 28, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- A new study suggests surgeons could use a patient's body mass index (BMI) to determine how much fat extraction is safe in liposuction. The findings were published in the September issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Karol Gutowski, M.D., a board-certified plastic surgeon and a clinical associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and colleagues set up a database to track the outcomes of liposuctions performed by board-certified plastic surgeons. The investigators tracked 4,534 liposuction patients.

None of the patients died following fat extraction, and the total complication rate was less than 1.5 percent. Most of the complications weren't considered serious, the researchers said; however, they found that the complication risk rose as the amount of fat removed increased. They noted that while fat extraction averaged about 4.5 pounds per patient, those who had over 11 pounds of fat removed had a higher-than-average complication rate of 3.7 percent.

The team also found that the key factor in complication risk turned out to be BMI. Those with a higher BMI were better able to tolerate large-scale fat removal than those with a lower BMI, the study authors said. "We found that if you have a higher BMI, you can remove more fat safely, which means that the calculation should be based on each patient's unique body status," Gutowski told HealthDay.

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