Your body shape is a mixture of genetics and lifestyle. Exercise and healthy eating play a major role in maintaining an appropriate body weight and improving your contour. However, you may find that there are some localised areas which simply don’t respond to diet or exercise.
If you would like to remove these awkward ‘bulges’ and achieve a slimmer, more even contour in a specific area of your body, then liposuction could be an appropriate treatment for you.
Also known as suction-assisted lipectomy or fat suction, liposuction is an effective way to remove these unwanted fat deposits and is suitable for both men and women. It can be used to treat several specific areas, sometimes the face but more frequently the chin, neck and cheeks, the upper arms and torso, the abdomen, buttocks, hips and thighs as well as the knees, calves and ankles. Liposuction may be used in male breast reduction surgery (gynaecomastia).
There’s very little scarring with liposuction and the results can be permanent, providing you eat sensibly and exercise regularly. If you gain weight, you’ll probably gain it more uniformly throughout your body, not just in the fatty pockets treated through liposuction. You need to be aware that liposuction will not improve cellulite and that a further procedure may be required to remove loose or hanging skin.
Liposuction usually takes one to two hours but the time may vary depending upon the area we are treating and the amount of fat to be suctioned away.
It involves a small incision, just large enough to allow the insertion of a hollow tube called a cannula. The opposing end of the cannula is attached to a machine that creates a strong vacuum. The cannula is then manipulated deep within the fat layers under the skin, breaking up the fat and suctioning it out. Sometimes additional incisions are required.
Most patients require a general anaesthetic but if your procedure is minor, liposuction can be performed under local anaesthesia, numbing the treatment area. If you have a local anaesthetic you would also be given a sedative to make you drowsy – you would be awake but relaxed, feeling minimum discomfort and perhaps some vibration and friction during the procedure. You may also feel a stinging sensation as the cannula moves closer to the muscle.
If you’re considering liposuction you need to be of relatively normal weight but with pockets of excess fat in particular areas. You should be physically healthy and emotionally stable. Firm, elastic skin will result in a better final contour – hanging skin won’t re-shape to your body’s new contours and may require an additional procedure to surgically remove the excess skin. This procedure would leave visible scars.
We wouldn’t recommend liposuction if you’ve had recent surgery in the area to be sculpted, if you have poor blood circulation in that area or if you have heart or lung disease.
Liposuction is a relatively low risk procedure when carried out by an experienced surgeon. Complications are rare but cannot be ruled out completely. Liposuction can cause severe trauma, especially when multiple or very extensive areas are suctioned at one time. Other rare but potential complications include fluid accumulation (which must be drained) and injury to the skin. Although serious complications are infrequent, infection or excessive fluid loss can lead to severe illness.
Scars from liposuction are small and we will try to place them where they can be concealed. However, liposuction can result in rippling or bagginess of the skin over the treated area, and pigmentation changes such as brown spots which can become permanent if exposed to the sun. Your shape after surgery may not be symmetrical and a further procedure may be required if you would like to resolve this issue.
At this consultation, we will examine the area you would like treated and determine where your fat deposits lie, as well as assess your skin tone. We will explain any alternative body contouring methods, such as abdominoplasty, and discuss the options or the combination of procedures that would be best for you.
It’s important that you understand the scope of the procedure and the likely results so you can make an informed decision about whether it’s the right step for you to take.
An assessment of your overall health will be made and we will explore any relevant medical conditions which may affect your liposuction treatment. This is also a great opportunity for you to ask questions about any aspects of treatment.
It may be appropriate for you to consider our 3D body imaging service which can help you to visualise what your body will look like after treatment.
If you decide to go ahead, we will give you specific instructions to help you prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking and medication. A course of Arnica tablets should be taken for five days before surgery to help reduce bruising. If you have a cold or an infection of any kind, your procedure may have to be postponed.
Before you come in to hospital, stock up your fridge so that you don’t have to go shopping when you get home, and give your house a clean so that you don’t feel tempted to do chores when you should be resting.
You’ll need to arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery. While you should be up and about the day after your treatment it’s a good idea to enlist help with daily living tasks while you recover – rest is the order of the day.
After surgery, a snug elastic dressing, girdle or body stocking must be worn over the treated area to control swelling and bleeding, and to help you skin shrink to fit your new contour. You may need to wear this continuously for two to three weeks, then reduce wear to just the daytime for a few weeks – the length of time will depend upon how well your body heals.
Because you’ll be given extra fluids you should expect to feel heavier after surgery. The suctioned areas will be swollen and bruised, and you may feel a burning sensation. We will prescribe appropriate pain relief to ease the discomfort though don’t expect to feel completely well for several days.
Healing is, of course, a gradual process. You’ll be encouraged to start walking as soon as possible to help prevent blood clots forming in your legs, but you should avoid any strenuous activity for two to four weeks.
Any stitches will be removed in five to ten days, and you should be able to return to work after a week or two, depending on the treatment you’ve had. Most swelling and discolouration will be gone a month or two after surgery, but some swelling can remain for three months or more. You’ll have regular follow-up visits to ensure all is well.
Your initial consultation is free of charge. It is difficult to give a wholly accurate idea of the cost of your surgery until we have met and fully assessed your needs and goals. At the end you will be given an exact quote which will cover all treatment, appointments and re-admissions or revisions, should that be necessary. The price guide below should give a reasonable idea of the range of prices for your chosen treatment.
Your second consultation is more in-depth, often including a 3D imaging assessment and simulation of outcome, as well as preparation for the day itself. This costs £150 and is included in the cost of your treatment.
Liposuction will give you a flatter stomach but if you want to visualise the effects of surgery before you go ahead it’s a good idea to take advantage of our 3D body imaging service.
Yes, if you eat well and exercise regularly the effects of liposuction are long-lasting.
You’ll need to eat well and exercise regularly to maintain a healthy body weight.
You will have several small (5mm) scars around the areas that have been treated. They are often a little pink at first and can therefore be noticeable, but they fade over 3-6 months and are very difficult to see at one year.