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What is it?

Liposuction is a surgical procedure to remove areas of fat by suction through keyhole incisions. Changes in weight are due primarily (except with very large gains in weight) to an increase or decrease in the size of fat cells, rather than changes in the number of fat cells. Liposuction acts by breaking down, then reducing the number of fat cells. Therefore it is very good at altering the distribution of fat at specific sites of the body, but the remaining fat will still be prone to change (weight gain). After liposuction the elasticity in healthy skin will allow it to take up its new shape. The benefits of liposuction will be maintained as long there is not general weight gain following the operation. If weight is put on, fat will be deposited in other areas of the body. A sensible diet and exercise will help to sustain its benefits.

Why have it?

Liposuction (or liposculpture) is now one of the most popular cosmetic procedures performed. It is used to remove unsightly, stubborn areas of fat that fail to be removed through exercise or diet, thus reshaping the body. It is not designed as a treatment for obesity in general, but is very successful in removing fat from areas of the body such as the upper arms, abdomen, buttock, thighs, calves, chin and neck. It is used in men and women alike, to reshape a disproportionate figure, and is now widely used to treat the condition of male gynaecomastia (noticeable breasts).

Reasons not to have it?

Liposuction is used primarily to reshape the body, with the ideal candidates being at or near their target weight. It is not in itself a procedure to lose weight, but is often used to complement other surgical procedures. There are physiological limits to how much fat can removed with liposuction. A thorough clinical assessment will be performed including the BMI (body mass index) as an indicator. Liposuction is also reliant on good skin tone for the body to take up the new shape effectively. Some contour irregularities and lumpiness can occur and if skin tone is poor, skin sagging can be an issue. Pressure garments need to be worn post operatively for at least 6 weeks.

For those seeking a large reduction in weight, rather than planning for immediate liposuction, advice on diet and exercise may be given, or if applicable, referral for weight loss surgery.

Smoking can increase the incidence of complications from surgery. It may be wise to delay surgery until smoking is stopped or cut down.

Aspirin increases the risk of bleeding by preventing blood from clotting. If you are taking aspirin, you will be asked to stop this for at least ten days before the procedure.

The Short Version

Removal of fat from target areas through key-hole incisions. Swelling, bruising and contour irregularities can occur and there is a limit to how much volume reduction can be achieved. Good for specific problem areas but not a substitute for diet and exercise. Pressure garments are needed post operatively.

Procedure Stats

  • General Anaesthetic
  • Overnight stay
  • Recovery 4-6 Weeks

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