Medically Reviewed May 2022, by Mr Sankar - Chief Medical Officer for The Harley Medical Group
For a lot of men and women, losing weight, toning up and achieving the figure they want requires a combination of healthy eating and regular exercise. However, some can be left with stubborn pockets of fat that no amount of exercise or dieting can shift, this is where liposuction can help.
Liposuction surgery, also known as fat removal surgery, is designed to help remove these areas of fat and reshape particular areas of the body – remember it is not designed to be a quick weight loss tool!
What is Liposuction?
Liposuction is not a weight loss solution, it is instead a form of cosmetic surgery which removes unwanted body fat using suction as well as being able to contour the body to a more desired shape through targeted removal. The procedure is commonly carried out alongside other body reshaping procedures such as tummy tucks and breast reductions – you can talk to your expert consultant about the best options for your desired results.
The procedure can take 1-3 hours depending on the size and number of areas targeted. This will also affect recovery time and how long it will be until you are able to drive and return to work. Strenuous activities and contact sports will need to be avoided for 4-6 weeks post-op and after this time, you will likely be able to resume your normal activities. Having liposuction will result in bruising and swelling around treated areas and results will be visible around 6 months post-surgery after this it reduces.
Why Liposuction Surgery may be right for you?
If you are unhappy with your appearance after a diet and exercise regime has not led to the weight loss you want, liposuction could help you achieve your desired results. The most common benefits include:
- Less unwanted body fat
- Improved self-confidence
- The ability to wear clothes which you previously couldn’t
- A better proportioned body shape
The best results are achieved on people who are of a normal weight for their height (BMI analysis will be done during free consultation) and on areas of the body where the skin is tight.
At The Harley Medical Group we always aim to ensure that our patients get the right procedure for them which is why we offer traditional Liposuction as well as Vaser Liposuction
Before undergoing liposuction, it is important to understand all the stages so you know what is required of you pre and post-surgery. You should also understand the different types of liposuction surgery we offer so you can make an educated decision on which you would prefer.
Liposuction or fat removal surgery is performed either under general anaesthetic or under local anaesthetic with sedation, and is often treated as a day case, meaning you will not have to stay in hospital overnight. The procedure usually takes between one and two hours to complete depending on the area being treated and how much fat is being removed. Your surgeon will make a small incision in the area being treated before inserting a thin plastic tube called a cannula. The other end of this cannula is attached to a powerful vacuum device which removes the fat quickly and efficiently.
You will need to book in for a free consultation where a nurse will assess your BMI (body mass index) to ensure the procedure is suitable for you. If you are very overweight it is likely that you will not be suitable for liposuction as there are physical limits to the amount of fat that can safely be removed from the body. Liposuction is a procedure best suited for body sculpting rather than weight loss.
Types of Liposuction Surgery we Offer
There are two different types of liposuction surgeries offered by our expert surgeons. During your free consultation they will be able to help advise which would be best for you, depending on your desired results. The options include:
- Traditional Liposuction: This can be performed on most areas of the body including the abdomen, hips, inner and outer thighs, buttocks, knees, and chin. The fat cells in the targeted area of the body are broken up, a small incision is then made before inserting a thin plastic tube called a cannula. The other end of this cannula is attached to a powerful vacuum device which removes the fat quickly and efficiently. The procedure can take 1 to 3 hours depending on the size and number of areas targeted.
- Vaser Liposuction: Vaser liposuction, also known as Liposculpture, is a minimally invasive procedure, using state-of-the-art ultrasound technology to precisely target and remove areas of unwanted fat.
Why choose The Harley Medical Group for Liposuction?
As with all of our treatments and cosmetic surgery procedures, only the best liposuction experts will carry out your liposuction surgery. We are a trusted cosmetic surgery provider and are regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England and the Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW). The CQC and HIW are executive non-departmental public bodies which are part of the UK government’s Department of Health and Social Care. As part of our commitment to quality care, we have a Clinical Governance Board which is composed of medical experts and surgeons who work with us. All our liposuction surgeons and procedures are vetted by the Clinical Governance Board.
As well as working with us, many of our expert surgeons also hold substantive posts in the National Health Service (NHS) in cosmetic and other specialities. As our patients and the service they receive is of the utmost importance to us, you can be certain that all of our liposuction surgeons are the best in their field and will deliver the results you want.
The Harley Medical Group has performed thousands of liposuction procedures across our 16 clinics around the UK, including Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds and our flagship clinic on Harley Street in London, and regularly receives excellent feedback from patients.
What to expect before your Liposuction surgery?
Cosmetic surgery can be a life changing decision and we’re here to help you make the right one. You will always begin your liposuction journey with a free consultation between you and one of our friendly patient advisors. During this appointment your patient advisor will assess your BMI (body mass index) to ensure the procedure is right for you. If you are very overweight, the procedure will likely not be suitable as it is best used for body sculpting rather than weight loss.
Getting liposuction surgery requires some preparation, you may be advised to change your diet and lifestyle to ensure you maintain your target weight before surgery. During your initial free consultation your patient advisor will be able to provide you with further details of the preparation needed dependent on your surgery plan.
Your next consultation appointment will allow you and your surgeon to decide whether liposuction is the right option for you and which procedure type will be best. Your surgeon will also be able to answer any of your other questions about the procedure and be able to confirm the cost of your potential surgery.
Liposuction recovery and aftercare explained
As liposuction is a type of invasive surgery, a full recovery does take time. Following proper aftercare advice is important to help aid recovery and ensure you are left with your desired results.
After your liposuction procedure, you will be fitted with either a support corset or compression bandages. This is done to help reduce the post-surgery swelling and bruising, the corset will need to be worn consistently for up to three weeks post-op.
Recovery does vary from person to person, how long it will be until you are able to drive and return to work will depend on the number of areas targeted and the amount of fat removed.
Strenuous activities and contact sports will need to be avoided for 4-6 weeks post-op. After this time, you will likely be able to resume your normal activities.
Having liposuction will result in bruising and swelling around treated areas, you may also experience some numbness. Noticeable results will be visible around 6 months post-surgery after the swelling reduces.
A healthy lifestyle needs to be maintained post-surgery to ensure the results are permanent, weight gain can still occur, so it is important to keep up a healthy diet and exercise routine to maintain your desired results.
The potential risks of Liposuction
As with any surgery performed under general anaesthetic there are potential risks which should be considered before undergoing liposuction. These are:
- Organ puncture (this is especially a risk if your surgeon is not specially trained and experienced)
- Weight gain post-lipo can cause fat to deposit in different locations, potentially and dangerously around organs
- Lumpy and uneven body as the fat settles
- Numbness in the treated area which can last for months
All surgeries carry risk, which is why it is so important to only undergo surgery with a trusted expert surgeon regulated by the QCC. Our highly vetted liposuction surgeons are all very skilled and experienced in their field, so they can fully explain the procedure and its associated risk to you in detail during a free consultation.
Who will carry out your Liposuction?
From your very first Liposuction free consultation with one of our Patient Advisors, you will have a committed nursing team to talk you through liposuction surgery and to provide all the support you need. All our medically led team of expert Surgeons are registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) and the Cosmetic Surgery Nurses are NMC registered. Patient care is our number one priority, and that is why we insist on a minimum of two pre-surgery consultations, a full assessment of your current health and medical history, and ongoing post-operative care.
We are a trusted cosmetic surgery provider and are regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England and the Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW). The CQC and HIW are executive non-departmental public bodies which are part of the UK governments Department of Health and Social Care.
Liposuction Surgery Cost
Liposuction costs vary depending on requirements. Fees at The Harley Medical Group include:
- your surgeon consultation appointment
- pre-operative assessment
- your procedure
- hospital stay and aftercare.
There are no hidden costs.
At The Harley Medical Group, we have a number of payment plans available to suit individual budgets, including a 0% finance loan paid over 12 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Liposuction surgery is a cosmetic procedure to remove small areas of unwanted body fat. Lipo is performed on areas of the body that are prone to fat deposit build-up such as the stomach, thighs, hips and arms.
'How is Liposuction done'? Is a common, and understandable question. Liposuction is performed either under general anaesthetic or under local anaesthetic with sedation. A small incision in the area being treated will be made by your surgeon, a thin plastic tube called a cannula is then inserted. The cannula is attached to a powerful vacuum device which removes the fat quickly and efficiently.
Your surgeon will take you through the process step-by-step during your free consultation.
Liposuction is generally performed on any part of the body that is prone to fatty deposits. The post popular body areas for Liposuction are:
Thighs (inner and outer) - the most common area of the thigh to have Liposuction is on the inner thigh to address the complaint of the inner thighs rubbing together. We often recommend considering having Liposuction to the inner knee for symmetrical reasons. Liposuction to the outer thigh is often performed along with treatment to the hips and flanks.
Calves - Liposuction to the calves is generally performed on the inner calves around the knee area. Calves are a notoriously difficult area to treat as much of the bulk is caused by muscle rather than fat. Also, Liposuction around the calves can change the profile of the entire lower leg. yet subtle Lipo-sculpting can create a curve from the calf to the ankle creating a tapering effect.
Flanks (also known as ‘love handles’) - this is the area found on the lower back above the buttocks. Liposuction for love handles is a very common treatment area for both men and women as there are very few exercises that work this area, which would enable you to burn the excess fat deposits. Hips and flanks are often treated together.
Hips - the hips are a difficult place to target with exercise alone. Liposuction to the hips has become increasingly popular following the growing trend for an hourglass figure. For many Liposuction removes small pockets of stubborn fat creating a more streamlined silhouette.
Face, neck and chin - Liposuction to the face and neck removes excess fat deposits to create a more rejuvenated appearance, which results in a subtle and natural full face lift with fewer scars. We often recommend pairing face and neck Liposuction with facial skin tightening treatments and Skin Peels to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Arms (also known as bingo wings) - arms are one of the most visible parts of the body, which is why Liposuction on the arms is a popular procedure to help reduce the appearance of loose, aged skin and remove any excess fat. When Liposuction to the upper arm area is combined with skin tightening the results can give you an overall thinner and more youthful appearance.
Stomach - even with exercising it can be difficult to get a flat stomach, particularly following pregnancy, which is why Liposuction to the stomach and waist is one of our most popular areas for Liposuction surgery. Depending on the type of Lipo undertaken, the results can vary from a giving you a flattened stomach to an intricately sculpted and defined look.
Some areas of the body are only treated with Vaser Liposuction or Promax Laser Liposuction due to the size of the area or level of definition required.
Significant fat loss will be noticeable immediately following a Liposuction procedure, and these results will continue to improve as the swelling goes down.
There will be considerable swelling, which is managed with a specially designed compression garment, for the first week or two following the procedure, as the swelling subsides more dramatic results will be discernable.
There is then gradual improvement until final results are evident, approximately three or four months after surgery.
We are often asked is Liposuction surgery good for weight loss and how much weight is lost with it? At The Harley Medical Group we think it is very important to understand that Lipo surgery is not a weight loss tool. Liposuction should only be used to treat resistant areas of fat that healthy eating and exercise alone cannot remove.
The follow-up question is often how much fat can be removed? This depends entirely which part of the body is being treated and how much fat there is to be removed. Please be assured that your surgeon will remove enough fat to get the ideal results.
During Liposuction surgery, fat cells are permanently removed from the treated area to create a new body shape. Once the excess fat cells have been removed, they do not grow back. This means that the results are more or less permanent if a healthy lifestyle, including a good diet and exercise is maintained.
If a moderate amount of weight is gained following Liposuction then the figure will simply be a larger version of the new body shape. However, there is evidence that if there is a more significant increase in weight after fat removal the body will redistribute any excess fats between the remaining cells. For example, if Lipo surgery was performed on the stomach and there was considerable subsequent weight gain, the stomach would remain relatively flat but fat cells in the thighs and flanks may increase to compensate.
All surgical procedures carry some degree of risk and Liposuction is no exception. Generally, when the treatment is performed by a specialist cosmetic surgeon classically trained in Liposuction and Lipo-sculpture and is performed within a fully equipped hospital, Fat Removal surgery is widely regarded as a safe, low risk operation.
If the surgeon is not specially trained there is an increased risk that an internal organ is punctured by the cannula causing post-operative complications.
Long-term risks are related to weight gain. Following the removal of fat cells, an increase in weight can cause your body to store the new fat in a different location, this new fat can grow deep inside your body and around your organs, such as your heart or liver.
No, we are unable to offer any surgery while you are pregnant or breast feeding. However, please contact us 6 months after giving birth or after breast feeding and talk to our friendly advisors to discuss next steps.