Liposuction, also known as liposculpture or suction assisted lipectomy, is a technique to remove unwanted fat deposits. It is performed to reduce and reshape areas of the body to give it better contour and proportion while producing only minimal scarring from the small incisions. Some patients have a hereditary predisposition to accumulate fat in certain areas of the body even with dieting and exercise. The most common areas patients seek for liposuction are the abdomen, flanks, thighs and hips. Other areas are the buttocks, back, arms and neck.

Liposuction is not a treatment for obesity or weight loss. It cannot take the place of proper dieting and regular exercise. Liposuction does not affect muscle or skin excess. Patients who have excess skin and fatty tissue are probable best treated by dermolipectomy (excision skin and fat).

During the initial consultation, patients will have the opportunity to discuss their goals and desirable results with the plastic surgeon. Every patient is different, therefore a specific treatment regimen is planned to suit an individual’s need.

Liposuction cannot:
  • Replace regular exercise.
  • Replace good eating habits.
  • Correct muscle or skin tone.
  • Correct obesity.
  • Remove hanging skin. In these patients a tummy tuck procedure would be a better option.

The procedure is usually performed under general anaesthesia especially if multiple areas are planned. It can also be performed under tumescent or local anaesthesia if the area to be treated is small and in certain individuals.

The surgeon starts by making small incisions in the areas to be treated. Tumescent fluid is injected through a cannula which is inserted under the skin into the area to be treated. This fluid contains local anaesthesia (pain relief) and adrenaline (reduce bleeding). Once the areas have been adequately infiltrated with the tumescent fluid, the suction cannula is inserted and vacuum is applied. The fatty tissue is removed into a container and the areas treated one by one.

Once the procedure is completed, the incision sites are closed with fine sutures and dressed with clean dressing. Patients are the advice to immediately wear the garments provided.

  • Generally healthy individuals with well controlled medical conditions such as hypertension or diabetes (if they have any).
  • Individuals with a stable body weight who are not obese and have reasonable skin tone.
  • Individuals committed to leading a healthy lifestyle including proper nutrition and fitness who are motivated regarding their physical appearance.
  • Individuals with clear and realistic expectations of their desired result.

Although serious complication from liposuction is uncommon,  potential candidates should understand that every  procedure comes with it a certain risk and has a recovery period (down time). Preoperative preparation and postoperative care will help to minimize their incidence.

The more common complications from liposuction are:
  • Bleeding (primary or secondary)
  • Uneven skin contours
  • Rippling or loose skin
  • Infection
  • Asymmetry
  • Skin discoloration or bruising
  • Poor wound healing (especially in smokers)
  • Scarring
  • Risk of anaesthesia
  • Pain or discomfort at liposuction areas
  • Fluid accumulation (cyst)
  • Change in skin sensation
  • Fat embolism
  • Possibility of revision surgery
  • Stop all non-medical supplements for at least one week before surgery.
  • Stop taking any anti-inflammatory pain medications, aspirin, blood thinning medications (anti-platelets, anti-coagulant) one week before the procedure.
  • All medical conditions (hypertension, diabetes etc.) needs to be optimized prior to surgery.
  • Smokers need to stop smoking well in advance.
  • Some individuals might require prior blood investigation or further medical assessment.

After the surgery there will be some swelling, bruising, discomfort, irritation or dry eyes for several days that can be controlled with oral medications, cold compression, eye drops and ointment.  The swelling and bruising usually last between 2-3 weeks but in some patients can last longer.

Oral antibiotics and analgesics will be prescribed to reduce the risk of infection and postoperative pain respectively. Stitches will be removed about 7 days after the surgery. The final result of surgery will appear within several weeks or months.

  • Cold compression with an ice pack the first day and night after surgery.
  • Compression garment should be worn for 3-4 weeks after surgery.
  • Avoid strenuous activities and swimming for 2-4 days.
  • Regular antibiotic ointment on the surgical wounds.