What is liposuction?
Liposuction is a surgical procedure that removes fat from beneath the surface of the skin. It is also known as liposculpture or ‘lipo’ and can be used on its own or as part of another procedure, such as fat transfer or tummy-tuck surgery. Liposuction is an effective procedure that can treat localised areas of stubborn fat that does not respond to traditional weight loss methods. Leading a healthy lifestyle helps many people to maintain a steady weight and stay in shape, however it is very common-despite these efforts-for some areas of the body to hold on to small pockets of fat. At my Harley Street clinic I perform liposuction on a variety of areas of the body, including:
- The arms
- Thighs / knees
The consultation is an important part of your surgical journey. It is an opportunity for both you and I to discuss your reasons for wanting to have liposuction and work together to outline realistic expectations of what can be achieved. During the consultation I will need to examine you and the areas to be treated. This will include measuring your height and weight in order to obtain an accurate Body Mass Index (BMI). As well as explaining what the procedure involves, I will be able to show you ‘before and after’ photographs of previous liposuction procedures that I have performed so that you can get an idea of the range of outcomes achievable. You will have plenty of time to ask questions and you will be given information to take away and read following your consultation. Although liposuction can reshape and re-contour the body, it is not a weight loss or an alternative to following a healthy lifestyle.
Most liposuction procedures are carried out as a day case procedure, using a general anaesthetic. However, if only a small area is to be treated, a local anaesthetic with sedation can be used.
The procedure involves the insertion of a cannula into the skin from which the fatty tissue can be broken down. A tube attached to the cannula will then enable the fat to be sucked out in small amounts. The incisions required for the cannula are usually very small and will only cause minor scarring that is often barely noticeable once they have faded. Following liposuction, you will usually be asked to wear a special post-surgical garment. This will help with your recovery and I will advise you on the type of garment to wear and for how long.
AFTERCARE & RESULTS
It is important that you have a realistic understanding of the results that liposuction can achieve. Immediately following the operation, the treated area may feel uncomfortable and could look red and slightly swollen. This should have significantly reduced within around 1 week, however, some minor swelling will last for many weeks longer. Therefore, you will need to wait until all swelling has subsided before you see the final result. I will advise you to wear a compression garment following the procedure as this will help to reduce swelling and bruising and encourage the skin to adjust to its new form. Myself and my team are always available should you have any concerns and your progress will be monitored through a series of follow-up appointments, usually arranged at 1 week, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6months and 1 year after surgery.
Am I suitable for liposuction?
This procedure is effective for removing small amounts of stubborn fat on a variety of areas of the body, such as: stomach, hips, inner thighs, outer thighs, upper arms, back and knees. Liposuction is not suitable for use as a weight loss method and results are more successful for those who have pinchable pockets of excess fat that are proving difficult to shift. A full examination will be carried out during your pre-treatment consultation which takes into account your individual concerns, the results you hope to achieve and details of your general lifestyle and health.
Is liposuction safe?
All surgical procedures have some risk attached, however this method of body contouring is considered to be very safe when carried out by specially trained and experienced plastic surgeons. It is important that you follow any pre-treatment advice as well as any post-procedure instructions to ensure that the operation is effective. The liposuction procedure will only ever be carried out in a safe and sterile environment in only the most reputable of hospitals.
WILL IT HURT?
The procedure is carried out under the most suitable anaesthesia, according to the size of the area to be treated. You may need to take some simple pain relief in the days or weeks that follow the procedure as you may experience some discomfort. I will be able to give appropriate advice regarding any pain relief and aftercare.
Are there any side effects or risks?
Common side effects which are to be expected following the procedure include swelling and bruising at the treatment site. This will settle over time. There will be some small wounds where an incision was made to insert the liposuction cannula. Any resulting scarring from this should fade over time but not disappear completely. Other potential side effects or complications will be discussed with you during your consultations, such as the risk of skin or irregularities from where fat removal is uneven, as well as infection, numbness and fluid accumulation.
How much downtime can I expect?
The recovery period will vary from person to person and on the extent of liposuction carried out. In general, most people will feel some discomfort and tenderness for a week or two following surgery and then soon start to feel back to their normal selves. The reintroduction of your normal activities is a gradual process and I will be able to advise you on when to resume more strenuous activities.