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What is liposuction?

Liposuction is a surgical procedure which uses suction to remove excess fatty deposits and improve the shape of the body. Surgery is not a weight control or obesity treatment.

Common treatment areas for both men and women include:

  • neck
  • excess tissue in the breast and chest area
  • tummy and flanks
  • thighs
  • knee and lower leg areas

Liposuction results can be long lasting, however it is important to maintain a healthy weight.  

What does surgery involve?

Liposuction is performed under general anaesthetic and usually takes between one and two hours. You will stay in hospital one or two nights.

Incisions (two or three) are made in each area and a vibrating liposuction cannula (a thin metal tube) is inserted which draws up the fatty cells and makes them easier to remove. The incisions are not usually stitched and therefore some of the fluid injected into the area may leak out following surgery. This is normal and will help to reduce swelling in the long-term.

A compression garment, which gently supports the areas treated and reduces swelling and bruising, is usually fitted.  

We recommend that you avoid any strenuous activities for the week following treatment.

How soon will I recover?

You are likely to experience some discomfort, swelling and bruising in the areas treated. It can take up to four weeks for the bruising to subside and up to six months for swelling to settle.

Your anaesthetist will prescribe painkillers to reduce any potential discomfort. It is important to discuss any discomfort with our nursing team.

Your surgeon will advise when to wear your supportive garment and for how long. You will also be advised on when to resume normal activities as this will vary from case to case depending on the extent of treatment and areas of the body affected.

We recommend that you avoid any strenuous activities for the week following treatment.

The length of time you will need to be off work will depend on the type of work you do. Your surgeon will advise, however a minimum of one week is usual.

What are the risks involved?

Liposuction is a commonly performed and generally safe procedure. Nonetheless, all surgery and anaesthetic have some risk associated. Risks to all surgeries include infection, excessive bleeding, adverse reaction to anaesthetic or blood clotting.

Surgery will result in visible scars which should fade over several months. Numbness may be experienced in the treated areas. This is usually temporary however in some cases is permanent.

Other potential complications include:

  • a reaction to the solution used in wet liposuction
  • fluid filled areas forming under the skin which may need to be drained 
  • internal organ damage which may require further surgery
  • serious disruption of the fluid balance of the body which, in very rare cases, leads to respiratory problems

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