Is Full Body Liposuction Available?

Full body liposuction is also known as large volume liposuction and generally involves the removal of fatty deposits from at least five areas of the body. These problematic areas can include the abdomen, buttocks, the back, the breasts, the waist and hips, arms and thighs. The procedure may also include liposuction of the neck and facial area. Undergoing full body liposuction tends to be more cost effective than having numerous separate liposuction procedures although the recovery time will be significantly longer and the procedure is far more complex than liposuction performed on smaller areas, removing 5 or more litres of fat and fluids from the patient.

What Is Full Body Liposuction?

Also known as large volume liposuction, full body liposuction is permanent weight loss surgery designed to remove 5 litres or more of excess body fat.

Suitable candidates for full body liposuction should be in otherwise good health, and therefore able to withstand the procedure and anaesthesia. They should also have realistic expectations of their weight loss. A surgeon will normally carry out a number of pre-surgery assessments to determine if you are a suitable candidate for this type of procedure. During the surgery itself, excess fat will be drained from the body using a long, slim metal tube known as a cannula. Fat will be removed from five different sites of the body, and your surgeon will remove over five litres of fluid in total, with approximately three of those being pure fat. Full body liposuction can remove up to six inches from the waist, and result in permanent weight loss from common problem areas such as the tummy, thighs, breasts and buttocks.

The surgery is carried out under general anaesthetic, and is an outpatient procedure, meaning patients can normally go home that day if there are not any complications. Patients are normally back to work and are able to resume day-to-day activities within four to six weeks of undergoing full body liposuction.

When Is Full Body Liposuction Not Recommended?

The full body liposuction procedure will not be carried out on anyone who is clinically obese and is more than 30 and 40 pounds overweight, on anyone with diabetes, on those with a poor or weak immune system, on anybody who suffers from heart problems or has problems with their arteries or anyone with a medical history of blood clots.

Who Is Suitable?

If you can find the right clinic and surgeon that is willing to carry out this operation there are things that you should consider before hand. If you are fit and healthy, exercise regularly and have a healthy diet you may be a good candidate for surgery. Is your skin elastic enough. Typically people under fourty have good skin elasticity. Ideally patients that have liposuction should be in good physical and mental health but with fatty areas that are resistant to exercise and dieting. Patients are expected to be non smokers also. If you are a yo-yo dieter you will not be considered suitable for the operation. Your medical background and that of your family is also important. People who have high or low blood pressure, heat or lung disease will not be allowed to have this treatment. The patient must be prepared to follow the post operative instructions they are given to the letter. Patients who do not continue with a healthy lifestyle after their operations have a much lower chance of the operation being a success. If you think you might be suitable take your time over the decision as liposuction of any kind is not to be undertaken lightly.

Questions To Ask Your Surgeon

full body liposuction removes a huge amount of excess body fat

If you are thinking about undergoing full body liposuction, there are a few essential questions to ask your surgeon before committing to the procedure:

  • Am I eligible for this kind of procedure?
  • What are the results likely to be?
  • Have you carried out this weight loss procedure before? If so, can you show me before and after images and/or provide me with testimonials? (These references are incredibly important, and should be made readily available to you).
  • What sort of anesthesia will be used?
  • How much will the procedure cost, and do you have any financing options to help me afford the surgery?
  • What is the expected recovery time? (Ask for both general statistics, and how long recovery will be in your specific case)
  • How many of your patients have undergone large volume liposuction and encountered complications either during the surgery or afterwards?
  • Who will be present and assisting during my surgery? (For example, specialist weight loss nurses)
  • If my target weight loss goals are not met, will you be able to carry out a corrective procedure? If so, at what cost, and how soon after my initial procedure am I able to undergo further liposuction?
  • Do you have any videos of the procedure being carried out in your practice, and if so, can I watch them? If not, is it possible to observe a patient undergoing liposuction during the surgery?
  • Have you ever been faced with a malpractice suit, or had your malpractice insurance revoked or suspended?

Full Body Liposuction Procedures

Full body or large volume liposuction is the surgical procedure of removing fat cells via a hollow metal tube known as a cannula which is inserted beneath the skin and into the fatty areas through small incisions. The cannula is attached to a suction pump which sucks out the fatty deposits. There are three different full body liposuction methods, the Tumescent liposuction procedure, the Ultrasonic liposuction procedure and the laser liposuction procedure. Tumescent liposuction involves a mix of vaso-constrictive fluids, anaesthetic and saline, known as tumescent fluid, being injected into the fatty deposits. This special formula numbs the problematic area and restricts the flow of blood allowing the removal of large quantities of fat with the absolute minimum of blood loss. Ultrasonic liposuction uses a special ultrasonic probe through which ultrasonic waves pass to break down the fat cells which are then suctioned out. This method is probably the easiest of all full body liposuction procedures but can have some unpleasant side effects such as burns, nerve damage and fluid build up. Laser liposuction uses a laser beam to break down the fatty deposits which can then be suctioned out of the body. All full body or large volume liposuction procedures are normally performed under general anaesthetic.

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Post Full Body Liposuction

After your full body or large volume liposuction procedure you will more than likely be expected to stay in the hospital or clinic over night for observation and, although the results will be immediately noticeable, you can also expect some discomfort and a fair amount of swelling and bruising. The procedure can take anywhere between 1 and 2 hours depending on the size of the areas covered and you will need to allow around 4 to 6 weeks off work for recovery. During the recovery period you will have to wear a tight, surgical garment to help promote healing, reduce the swelling and encourage the drainage of any fluids that may build up. The dressings will need to be changed frequently but your specialist or Doctor will show you how to do this properly and you will also need to attend follow up examinations. During the recovery period you will need to take things easy and not do anything too strenuous and then all that is left for you to do is enjoy your beautiful new body.

How Long Will It Take To Recover?

Here, Mr David Floyd, Consultant Plastic Surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital, describes a typical recovery from a liposuction treatment:


Video Transcript

"Recovery for liposuction is pretty straightforward. The patients are usually in overnight if they’ve had a fairly extensive area of liposuction, for small areas it’s just a day case. They go home in a compression garment which is like a corset that I ask them to wear day and night for six weeks. You take it off to have a shower and put it back on again.

We see patients in a week to check their wounds and make sure everything’s okay and just give them some general advice. I ask them not to do any sport for a full six weeks to allow the area where we’ve done the liposuction to settle down and not get too sore.

It can take a full six weeks for the bruising and swelling to dissipate from liposuction so you don’t really know what the end result is until the six week time point. Even at that point there are some areas in the subcutaneous fat that feel a bit lumpy, and that is still residual swelling that can take up to three months to settle down completely.

That’s the full sort of recovery timeframe, at six weeks I usually allow patients to return to normal activities, and if anyone’s got a special event such as a wedding or event similar to that I usually make sure they have a full six to eight weeks from surgery to that event."

Mr David Floyd, Consultant Plastic Surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital


The Risks Involved

There are risks attached with any type of cosmetic procedure. Large volume liposuction requires that the patient has a general anaesthetic and this can take several days to wear off so you will need to stay in hospital. There are the risks associated with general anaesthetics to consider. Other forms of liposuction, when performed on one area alone, only require the patient to have a local anaesthetic. Large volume liposuction removes an awful lot of fat cells from all over the patients body and if your skin is not elastic enough then you will end up with loose skin that may require further surgery to rectify. There is a chance of developing pulmonary embolism within the first three days after surgery when fat that has broken off during your operation hits the lungs. Patients need to be completely honest with their surgeon about their medical history and that of their families for the operation to be a success. The surgeon himself will decide whether your can undergo this type of treatment. It is also vital that the patient follows post operative instructions to the letter. Most patients that have complications are the ones that have ignored their surgeon's advice. It is even more important with large volume liposuction, it is a major operation and it will take time and patience for your body to recover.

Read more: Liposuction for Lipomas

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