Liposuction

Procedure time

1 to 3 hours

Overnight stay

1 night

Anaesthetic

General

Final results

6 – 8 months

What is liposuction?

It can be difficult to get rid of certain areas of body fat despite our best efforts at exercising and dieting. Liposuction is a procedure that can help contour these areas by:

  • Removing excess stubborn fat
  • Contouring parts of the body to create a more shapely figure
  • Making the overall appearance of the body more proportionate

It can also be used as part of a fat transfer procedure to help redistribute body fat from one area of the body to another. 

What can liposuction achieve?

An arm lift aims to reduce the amount of excess skin and fat in the upper arms, in order to create a more aesthetically pleasing arm shape.

 It also aims to tighten and smooth the underlying supportive tissue allowing a new defined shape of the upper arm. 

This method particularly targets stubborn fat that cannot you cannot remove through exercise and diet alone. 

If you have a lot of excess fat in the upper arms, your surgeon may also use liposuction to aid the contouring of the arms.
You may choose to have an arm lift if you are looking to boost your self-esteem and remove:

  • Excess skin after major weight loss
  • Drooping skin as a result of aging or heredity
  • Excess fat deposits and cellulite
Which areas of the body can be treated with Liposuction?

Your surgeon can perform Liposuction on the following areas of the body:

Chin Liposuction

Many people find that over time, they begin to notice fat accumulating under their chins to form what’s commonly called a “double-chin”. Whether it’s due to ageing or weight gain, this fat accumulation can be quite frustrating. Chin liposuction, or submental liposuction, is a procedure that can help get rid of double-chins and other excess fat around the chin.

For some patients that also have excess skin around the neck and chin, the surgeon may recommend a face or neck lift as an alternative procedure as Liposuction cannot remove any excess skin. 

Neck Liposuction

When the muscles in the neck begin to weaken as we age, the fat in the neck can begin to protrude and become more obvious as a result of this. This can leave people with a “banded” appearance in their neck that can commonly be referred to as a “turkey neck”. 

To help remove this banded appearance and give the neck a more refined and firm appearance, your surgeon can use liposuction to remove the protruding fat.

Neck liposuction can also help improve the appearance of double-chins. This can be done in combination with a chin liposuction to help contour the jawline and appearance of the lower half of the face. 

For older patients, the surgeon may recommend a neck lift alongside the liposuction to help remove excess skin and further tighten the neck area.

Jowl Liposuction

The jowl is the lower part of the face, just below the cheeks and the jawline. As we age, this part of the face tends to lose its firmness leading to drooping and sagging, in turn making us look even older. The jowls can also increase in size when we gain weight.

For younger patients who have skin that’s still firm and elastic, liposuction may be able to improve the appearance of the jowls. For older patients with less firm skin, a neck lift or facelift may be needed to remove excess skin and tighten the area.

Arm & Thigh Liposuction

Sometimes no matter how many workouts or diets we do, the excess fat in our arms and thighs doesn’t seem to come off! This stubborn fat is another area of the body that many patients want to get rid of with liposuction. 

Liposuction can be used to sculpt the arms and thighs to give them a smoother, more contoured appearance. 

Patients who have lost a lot of weight in the past, or have had several children, may need to have an arm lift or thigh lift instead of liposuction in order to achieve the final results that they want. This is because after weight loss or giving birth, the skin can sometimes not “bounce back” once its been stretched, and needs to be removed to create more shapely thighs and arms.

Breast & Chest Liposuction

For many women wanting to reduce the size of their breasts, a breast reduction tends to be the most suitable option. This is because if too much fat is removed from the breasts, the remaining skin after the procedure may end up looking more saggy and droopy than it did before, giving the breasts a less shapely aesthetic. In some cases however, liposuction may be used to help reduce the size of the breasts by removing a small amount of fat. 

Liposuction can also be used to help contour male chests by removing stubborn fat, and may be used alongside a male breast reduction (also known as gynaecomastia surgery).

Abdominal Liposuction

Abdominal liposuction is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures. As with the other liposuction procedures, it is used to remove stubborn fat from the stomach that does not seem to shift no matter how much exercise you do, or diets you go on. 

Your surgeon may recommend that if you’ve lost a lot of weight or had children in the past, that you may be more suitable for a tummy tuck instead of liposuction as a stand alone procedure. This is because after weight loss and child birth, you are likely to be left with excess skin and stretched abdominal muscles that a liposuction alone cannot fix. 

Back Liposuction

Sometimes excess fat on the body can appear as “rolls” on our backs. These rolls can appear through clothing, and be accentuated when wearing a bra. Depending on where the fat has accumulated, liposuction can be used to remove fat in the upper and lower back.  
Liposuction to the back area can give the back a smoother outline and allow your clothes to fit better.

Flanks & Hips Liposuction

Stubborn fat may accumulate on the hips and flanks as a result of pregnancy, age, and genetics. Liposuction to the hips and flanks (sides and back of the waistline) is commonly performed alongside an abdominal liposuction. 

Treatment in this area can help produce a more shapely, hourglass figure and reduce dress and pant sizes.

Calf & Ankle Liposuction

Many people dislike the size of the lower part of their legs, and wish to make them more proportionate to the upper part of the legs. Liposuction can be used to help with this by reducing the size of the calves and ankles.

Can I have Liposuction done anywhere?

Although Liposuction can be performed on many parts of the body, some areas are not suitable for treatment due to the risk of complications occurring, or the development of contour irregularities.

Who are the ideal candidates for liposuction?

Liposuction may be of benefit to you if have trouble shifting excess fat through exercise and diet alone. The ideal liposuction candidates, therefore, include those who want to:

  • Shift stubborn body fat
  • Improve their body contour
  • Treat gynaecomastia (male breast enlargement)
  • Increase their self-confidence.

If you are considering having liposuction, you should try to optimise your health so that you are fit for surgery. You can do this by:

  • Being at a stable weight with a BMI less than 33
  • Stopping smoking and using nicotine products for at least 6 weeks before surgery
  • Doing regular exercise
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Reducing your alcohol intake
  • Stopping use of any recreational drugs.

What can liposuction not achieve?

It is important to recognise that although this treatment can help you achieve a more shapely body contour by removing stubborn fat, it cannot directly treat obesity, loose skin, cellulite or stretch marks.

Obesity

Liposuction is not designed as a weight loss treatment. This is because there is a limit to the amount of fat that your surgeon can safely remove from one area during the procedure. This means that ideal candidates should be at their target weight before having surgery.

Loose skin

If your skin is quite loose and inelastic, liposuction cannot treat or reverse this. In fact, it may make the appearance of skin worse after the surgeon removes fat from that area. Instead, a skin incision is a more suitable procedure for this. Your surgeon can do a skin excision at the same time as the liposuction, or separately as a second procedure.

Cellulite and stretch marks

Liposuction will not improve the appearance of cellulite or stretch marks. You will need to have a different procedure to reduce their appearance.
It is vital that you are honest with your surgeon about what you would like to achieve from surgery. 

How is liposuction performed?

A liposuction procedure can last between 60 to 180 minutes. You may need to stay in hospital for one night or you may be able to leave on the same day if your procedure is a day case. The procedure involves the following steps:

1. Consent form

You will need to sign a consent form for the treatment before you have it. The form will outline what the procedure involves and the potential risks and complications that come with it. You will sign the form either on the day of your surgery or during your pre-operative appointment.

2. Anaesthesia

Your surgeon will then draw some marks on the areas of your body that they are going to treat. You will then lay on the operating table, after which your anaesthetist will give you your anaesthetic. You will discuss which one you will have with your surgeon during your consultation.

3. Incisions

Once you have been given your anaesthetic, your surgeon will then start the procedure. You can either have a dry, wet or ultrasound-assisted liposuction procedure.

Traditional (dry) liposuction

A dry liposuction is the traditional type of technique that is performed. For this technique, your surgeon will start by making small incisions in the skin. They will then insert a thin, hollow tube (called a cannula) through the incisions. They will use this cannula to break apart the fat under the skin by using a backward and forward motion. 

As the fat breaks apart, a powerful vacuum that is attached to the cannula will suction out the broken fat.
This technique is highly effective and allows your surgeon to treat large areas during one procedure. It is, however, more invasive and carries a higher risk of bleeding, bruising and swelling.

Tumescent (wet) liposuction

A wet liposuction procedure involves the use of a “tumescent” solution. This is a solution that contains a mixture of saline, local anaesthetic, and adrenaline. During this technique, your surgeon will first inject this mixture into the treatment area, then use a smaller cannula (microcannula) to break down and remove the fat. 

They will then remove the broken fat using a vacuum that they attach to the microcannula.
A wet liposuction technique reduces the risk of bleeding, bruising and swelling. Although it is a less invasive procedure, it may take longer than a traditional liposuction.

Ultrasound-assisted liposuction

Your surgeon may also use an ultrasound to help perform the liposuction. This is a less popular technique that uses ultrasonic energy to break down the fat and liquefy it. 

The surgeon removes the liquid fat with a vacuum that they will attach to the cannula.
This technique works well in areas where there is dense fat (e.g. the neck, beck, chin, knees, calves and ankles). 

However, the heat of the ultrasound waves does put patients at a risk of burning and scarring.
During your consultation, your surgeon will discuss which of these methods is best to use for you and your body.

4. Return to the ward

After your surgeon finishes the procedure, you will go back to the ward to recover. Depending on how your recovery goes, you will spend a night in hospital.

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