- Liposuction

aka: lipoplasty, fat modeling, liposculpture suction, lipectomy, simply lipo, suction-assisted fat removal

What is Liposuction?

To perform, the plastic surgeon makes a small incision in the skin and suctions out the fat.

It’s a relatively straightforward operation and it works best on smaller pockets of fat not enormous spare tires.

Most people use liopsution to reduce the fat around their thighs, bums and tums but it can also be used on the face, neck, arms and other parts of the body.

What to expect?

The operation takes two hours or more and you need to factor in a couple of days for recovery for modern techniques, more traditional liposuction procedures can require a much longer recovery period.

Bruising typically lasts for three weeks, and occasionally removal of large areas of fat can cause temporary anemia. If you have loose or thin skin you may be left with some sagging rolls. Around 15 per cent of patients go on to have further liposuction at a later date; usually of a different area.

What types of Liposuction are available?

There are many types of Lipsuction available, they vary in price, efficiency for various area of the body and face and also in healing time.

They include:
  • CoolLipo
  • Laser Liposuction
  • Laser Sciton
  • LipoControl
  • LipoLite
  • LipoSelection
  • LipoTherme
  • Power Assisted Techniques (PAL)
  • ProLipo PLUS
  • SmartLipo
  • Super Wet Technique
  • Tumescent Technique
  • Ultrasonic (UAL)
  • Vaser Liposuction
  • Water Jet Assisted Liposuction

What does Liposuction cost?

From £3,100

Risks and side effects

The biggest risk with liposuction is the too much too soon approach, which is more likely to result in medical complications as well as an unwanted finished effect of lumps and bumps, asymmetry and sagging skin. (Around 20 per cent of liposuction patients have a revision to improve the contour of their original surgery).

Infection is a common complication after liposuction, but generally easily treated with oral antibiotics. More serious complications include lidocaine overdose, pulmonary embolism (where dislodged fat ends up in the lungs) and fluid imbalance, which can result in pulmonary edema, or heart or kidney malfunction.

These complications are rare and you can minimize risk by checking your surgeon is using tumescent liposuction. It is possible, although rare, for a surgeon to to puncture internal organs, such as the intestines. (This risk is increased if you have a hernia).

There is also (although thankfully very rare) risk of death – current reports suggest there are around three deaths for every 100,000 liposuction operations performed, a similar rate to routine operations performed under general anesthetic.

To minimize surgical complications it’s best to schedule multiple liposuction procedures several days apart.

Seroma is a complication which can often occur after liposution. It's a collection of serum which is left behind after red and white blood cells are removed during the procedure. It can leech out of incisions or build up under the skin. Normally it disappears after a while naturally but doctors can also drain it with a syringe.

The risk of developing seromas is reduced when surgeons use a very small cannula and treat smaller areas which limits the area of trauma.

You should try to move around after the procedure to reduce the risk of blood clot in legs and lungs.

Post-op care

Immediately after the procedure you're blood pressure should be monitored and you may experience dizziness or nausea and vomiting.

Sometimes stitches may need to be removed so your surgeon might ask you to return a day or so later for a check up. Where no stitches exist a telephone consultation is often offered.

A  compression garment must be worn to reduce swelling and speed up healing.

The "open-drainage" technique is used more often now. This means incisions are not closed and the wounds are allowed to drain naturally into pads which limits bruising and speeds the healing process.

With modern techniques, a full recovery is expect by two weeks, full results will not be seen until 16 weeks later.

Expert opinion

Bryan Mayou, Consultant plastic surgeon and founder of London’s Cadogan Clinic
“Liposuction is designed to improve body shape, not weight. It can be used in fat or thin people where shape is important. It has other uses in male and female breast reduction and also the harvesting of fat and stem cells for grafting and for the tightening of overlying skin using certain techniques.”

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