Liposuction is a plastic surgical procedure that can remove areas of fatty tissue. It is most useful in improving the shape and contours of people who are near their normal weight but have pockets of fat that are resistant to methods of weight loss such as healthy eating and exercising. Improvements in shape and contour also depend on the skin elasticity and its ability to shrink back, the area that is treated and the age of the patient. Liposuction should not be thought of as a shortcut to lose weight. Common areas that are treated include the hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, neck, upper arms and breasts.
What should I expect ?
Liposuction is usually performed under a general anaesthetic or local anaesthetic and sedation. The duration of the surgery depends on the areas to be treated but generally take an hour or two. You will be admitted on the day of your surgery and can usually go home the same day although you may need to stay overnight if larger areas are treated. During the procedure, small incisions are made around the area to be treated and a hollow tube called a cannula is inserted. With the help of a suction device connected to the cannula, the pockets of fat to be treated are loosened and sucked out. The small incisions are stitched closed and dressings are applied. Compression garments are then applied to the area to help with conforming the body to the new shape and reducing swelling. This compression garment needs to be worn all day for 2 weeks, then during the day for a further 4 weeks. Dependent on the size of the area that is treated you may return to work within days to weeks.
What follow up will I have ?
You will be seen a week after your surgery to check that all is healing well and again at 3 months to ensure you are happy with the result.
What are the potential risks and complications ?
Liposuction is safe with complications being uncommon.
Pain : There may be a small degree of pain which is usually dependent on the size of the area that is treated but this is easily controlled with pain killers
Bruising / swelling : There is usually some degree of bruising and swelling, stiffness, numbness and occasional pins and needles. There may also be some lumpiness which settles over time
Asymmetry : If liposuction is performed on 2 equal sides, there may sometimes be small degrees of asymmetry despite the same operation being performed. These differences are very subtle and should be difficult to notice
Scarring : There will be small scars where the cannulas have been inserted which usually settle well over time
Further information is available in this Liposuction guide