Liposuction is a popular vacuum pump technique for getting rid of excess body fat and can help improve your body shape when diet and exercise have failed.
For men it is commonly used to permanently remove fatty deposits around the stomach, chest and chin.
At Sussex Premier Health you will meet with your Consultant Plastic Surgeon in one of our private consultation rooms, during this time you will be able to discuss your medical history.
Your Consultant will discuss with you what you want to achieve and whether liposuction is suitable, but you should have changed your diet and lifestyle to lose some weight before we will consider whether liposuction is a good option for you.
If you decide to go ahead with the procedure, we’ll give you at least two weeks between consultation and operation date. This is because we want you to be really happy and confident with your decision.
On the day of your operation, our ward staff will show you to your own private room. Your private room will have an en-suite bathroom and TV and Wi-Fi facilities.
There are two main types of liposuction techniques – wet and dry. Both are normally performed under general anaesthetic and your surgeon will agree which one is most suitable with you beforehand. If you are only having a small amount of fat removed, occasionally a local anaesthetic can be used instead.
After your operation, the treated area will be bandaged and stitched and we will give you pain relief medication. You may need to wear elastic compression clothing and a compression bandage for the next two to three weeks to reduce swelling (only taken off to clean and shower).
You might need to stay in overnight if you have had a general anaesthetic.
Once you’re ready to be discharged from hospital, you’ll need to arrange for a friend or family member to take you home as you won’t be able to drive.
For guidance on pain relief and your recovery time, please see our patient information sections below.
Don’t think of liposuction as a treatment for obesity or being overweight. It is a way of getting rid of stubborn fat that will not go despite your efforts to improve your lifestyle.
It will not remove cellulite or loose skin but can be used to reduce male breasts (gynaecomastia) and excess fluid. (source: NHS Choices)
The operation usually takes from 1 to 3 hours and is carried out under general anaesthesia so you will be asleep throughout. If the treatment is on the lower body, an epidural anaesthetic may be used.
Sometimes, you might have a local anaesthetic (where only one area of the body is numbed and you’re awake) if the liposuction is performed on a very small area of the body.
At Sussex Premier Health, your consultant will be with you every step of the way: from giving advice at your first consultation through to offering ongoing support after your treatment.
A cosmetic surgeon’s reputation qualifications and experience are vitally important so we only work with consultant grade specialists. These are highly experienced consultants who have completed years of medical training. All our consultants are on the specialist register of the General Medical Council (GMC) and many are also members of the UK’s leading cosmetic and plastic surgery associations.
Liposuction can be carried out as a single procedure, or in conjunction with another cosmetic procedure. When carried out as a stand-alone procedure, we have limits on the volume of fat and fluid that can be removed, depending on the facilities at your hospital – your surgeon can confirm this. We have an absolute limit of 5 litres of aspirate, only to be removed in centres where we have high dependency or intensive care facilities.
Where liposuction is performed in conjunction with any other cosmetic procedure, our policy is that we will remove no more than a maximum of 2000ml of aspirate (fat and fluid) from all areas combined. With the Fleur-de-Lys abdominoplasty (where a vertical as well as a horizontal incision is made), no liposuction can be performed.
Your surgeon will inject a fluid mixture made up of a salty solution, local anaesthetic and adrenaline to help reduce bleeding, bruising and swelling. It also makes it easier for the fat cells to be removed.
A small incision is made in your skin to allow a narrow metal tube (microcannula) to be inserted. This is attached to a strong vacuum pump that is drawn back and forth within the area of excess fat to remove it. The cut is then closed with stitches. Several cuts may be made if the area you are having treated is large.
The dry liposuction method is similar but does not use an injection of fluid. Dry liposuction can result in more bruising after the operation. Your surgeon will discuss the best option for your needs.
The process removes fat but leaves your small blood vessels and nerves intact.
After the fat has been sucked out, your surgeon will drain any excess fluid and blood using small tubes.
We’ll give you pain relief medication immediately and when we discharge you, as this type of operation can result in discomfort and swelling for a few days. If you need them, continue taking painkillers as advised by the hospital. You might also be given antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection.
We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you’ve left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.
Some of the side effects of liposuction are bruising, swelling and inflammation of the treated areas.
If you had a large area treated you should take about 10 days off work to recover and avoid strenuous activity for up to four weeks.
Any numbness that you might feel should go away in six to eight weeks. Continue to use painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve pain from bruising or swelling.
When we discharge you we’ll talk to you about whether your stitches and dressings need to be removed and we’ll make an appointment to see your consultant again before you leave the hospital.
At your follow-up appointment, your surgeon will advise you when you can resume your normal activities.
It will take you around two weeks to recover from the operation and as much as six months to see noticeable results as the treated area settles down.
After you’ve left hospital, we’re still here when you need us. Your consultant is likely to want to see you after your operation, a follow up appointment will be made for you before you leave the hospital.
On rare occasions, complications following liposuction can occur. The chance of complications depends on the exact type of operation you are having and other factors such as your general health.
Your consultant will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.
If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery you can call and speak to a member of the nursing team at any time, please call 01424 757459.