Liposuction, otherwise known as fat removal, is a minimally invasive procedure to help patients remove areas of stubborn fat that have resisted dieting and exercise. Also known as lipoplasty (fat modelling) or simply as lipo this treatment is not to be seen as being a "quick fix" option for losing weight and can be an extremely effective means of permanently reshaping a wide variety of problem areas around the body.
Here you'll find information and advice on every aspect of treatment, from recovery tips to how to go about finding the best clinic in your area. If you have further questions then you can also refer to our Liposuction FAQ section where you'll find the most common questions that crop up when enquiring about surgery.
When calculating the potential cost of liposuction potential patients should take in to account a variety of different factors. With regards to the patient themselves their current weight, the amount of fat being removed and are being treated all have a deciding influence on the price of the treatment. Various other factors including the location and reputation of the clinic where the procedure is being performed as well as the skill, experience and quality of the practitioner performing the procedure also plays a large part in determining the final cost of the treatment.
On average potential patients can expect to pay anything from £1500 to upwards of £4000 to treat one area.
The best way to estimate the cost of your liposuction procedure is to shop around the internet and visit comparison sites such as Clinic Compare, who can do the leg work for you by shopping around to find you the best possible deal that suits your specific requirements.
The majority of liposuction providers offer a variety of different finance options to help potential patients take advantage of the variety of treatments available. These include "buy now pay later" schemes, 0% interest loan and even specifically designed monthly payment plans to help a prospective patient fund their procedure and spread the cost of their surgery. Depending on their financial circumstances clinics may be willing to offer patients anything from £1000-£3000 to cover the cost of their procedure.
Liposuction can be used in any area of the body where fat builds up. It is most commonly used to remove fat that has built up around the abdomen, hips, thighs and buttocks.
It is also possible to use liposuction to remove fat from the breasts, which is a great way to perk them up and achieve a younger, firmer look. This form of liposuction is particularly popular with men who find it difficult to lose fat from their breast area and achieve a toned effect in this part of the body.
Liposuction can also be used in other areas such as the legs. People often find it difficult to lose weight from their hips and thighs, so these are commonly treated. However, liposuction is also possible for the knees, ankles and calves. Many use it for their arms too, in particular their upper arms.
Liposuction normally only removes small quantities of fat using a cannula or a laser or even ultrasound, in particular areas of cosmetic significance and the positive effects to the bodily form can be excellent. It is normally safe to remove no more than 6 to 8 pounds or 3 to 4 liters of fat during any liposuction procedure.
The more fat that is removed during a liposuction procedure, the greater the risk of complications. If a patient wishes to remove more than the recommended amount of fat, then separate procedures will normally be scheduled with breaks of 3 to 4 weeks between each liposuction procedure.
Also known as liposculpture or lipoplasty, this procedure has been in application since the 1970’s when doctors Giorgio and Arpad Fischer invented the procedure in 1974. 30 years of surgical and medical developments and enhancements have meant that more fat cells can more easily be removed, with less blood loss, less discomfort, and less risk throughout the procedure. However risks are part and parcel of any cosmetic surgery and those with diabetes, any infection, and heart or circulation problems will not qualify for surgery due to these potential patients being at increased risk of developing complications.
The procedure generally lasts between 30 and 90 minutes depending on the area(s) covered. The most popular treatment areas include buttocks, neck, chin (submental), face, arms, abdomen, thighs, hips, love handles (flanks).
Traditionally the treatment involves removing fat from various locations of the body via a cannula, a hollow tube, and a suction device called an aspirator. Liposuction surgery can also be used to reduce breast size in men suffering from gynecomastia, or can be performed to remove fat tumours (lipomas) in both men and women.
Due to advances in technology there are now several different techniques available including:
Aqualyx is a new “fat dissolving” injection developed by Professor Pasquale Motolese, Vice President of the Italian Society of Aesthetic Surgery and Medicine. Treatment involves a course of injections (one session per month) that work to remove stubborn fat deposits that are resistant to diet and exercise. A typical course of Aqualyx treatment involves one injection per month for around three to five months making it a fast and effective way to target your problem areas. Furthermore, as a non-invasive procedure, side-effects and recovery are minimal making it a quick and easy alternative to other, more invasive surgical procedures.
When we eat, our body breaks down the fat in our diet by producing chemicals called bile acids. Aqualyx is made from a modified version of these bile acids which, when directly injected into stubborn fat deposits, breaks down fat cells allowing the fat to be eliminated from the body. Because it is so precise and targeted, Aqualyx is really effective at reducing problem fat deposits. You will see a reduction in fat after just one session, but optimal effects are seen after an average of between three and five sessions.
Laser lipo involves using thermal energy to dissolve specifically targeted fatty deposits (Lipolysis). Once these cells have been broken down subsequently removed naturally using the body's lymphatic system or extracted with a gentle suction via a fine cannula which is inserted in the same incision.
The introduction of the Advanced Laser Lipo in many clinics as a lipo sculpting technique has the additional benefit of giving the option of the surgeon re-introducing the laser in to the area being treated to trigger skin contraction with the aim to provide a firm and even final result.
Ultrasound-assisted liposuction involves using a specialised cannula that emits ultrasound vibrations inside the body to disturb and emulsify fat cells. These emulsified fat cells are then easily removed using a specially designed cannula.
In recent years medical developments have led to non-surgical procedures in fat modelling. They provide options for patients to take advantage of cheaper liposuction as techniques are not invasive and involve using the very latest ultrasound and radio-frequency (RF) technology as well as shapewear garments to help contour their body.
Approximately two weeks before the liposuction is carried out it is normal to have blood tests and body measurements taken together with photographs of the parts of the body to be treated. The doctor carrying out the procedure may request an Electrocardiogram and clearance from your normal doctor before treatment is carried out. It is also necessary for any anti-inflammatory pain relieve to be stopped for at least two weeks before the liposuction is carried out.
If the treatment requires you to undergo a general anaesthetic then the patient will be requested by your surgeon to refrain from eating or drinking for around 6 hours prior to surgery. A surgeon will then talk the patient through the procedure itself, what to expect before, during and after and any pain or discomfort that may occur. The surgeon will also give the patient the opportunity to pose questions regarding the treatment and help allay any uncertainties.
Next the surgeon and patient will talk through the areas that the prospective patient would like treating, marking out on the patients body the areas that will be targeted. This will hopefully give the patient a realistic understanding of what can be achieved.
Each person will recover from liposuction in a different way and recovery will depend on the type of liposuction procedure undergone. It will take less time to recover from liposuction on somewhere such as the legs and arms than it will if the procedure is carried out on the face. Recovery time will also depend on the amount of fat that is removed and the size of the area being treated. Once the procedure has been done it is necessary to avoid any physical activities to allow the body to rest and recover.
Post treatment the targeted area will be securely wrapped in compression garments in an attempt to both improve the shape of results and reduce the swelling. If the patient has undergone a general anaesthetic then they will be required to rest and refrain from driving, operating heavy machinery, drinking alcohol for 24 hours.
A nurse will advise patients on after care and some mild pain killers may be prescribed to treat any discomfort.
Liposuction is considered a safe treatment, however it is important to realise that it is a medical procedure and that there are potential risks. It is a form of surgery, so the decision to undergo this procedure should not be taken lightly.
Most liposuction is carried out under local anaesthetic, but some procedures are carried out using a general anaesthetic, and some people can react badly. Embolisms are also a risk associated with all surgical procedures. With liposuction, some of the embolisms may be made up of fat.
Surgery also carries the risk of infection. For this reason, it is vital that you choose your clinic carefully. The risk will be negligible provided you use a clinic with good hygiene standards and remember to follow good wound care procedures once you get home.
Rarer side effects include burns (for ultrasound assisted liposuction) and loss of sensation in areas where nerves are present. Occasionally, areas of skin above the treated area can die off. The skin sloughs off and eventually renews itself, but it can result in long term skin discolouration.
In younger patients skin is more elastic, therefore, once the procedure has finished, skin can tighten up around the treated areas. This result is common place in liposuction in the arms and stomach areas where skin is known to tighten to its genetically predetermined position.
In older patients however, skin elasticity is not what it is in younger patients. Due to this, other cosmetic procedures, such as abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), rhytidectomy (facelift) and mastopexy (breast lift) are recommended as they will remove any excess skin left over from the surgery to help improve the results.
Liposuction is not normally available on the NHS because it is mainly seen as a cosmetic procedure. However, occasionally it will be paid for when dealing with a medical issue that cannot be tackled in any other way. Such conditions include lymphedema, lipoma and lipodystrophy syndrome.