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How long does it take to recover from liposuction?

29th November 2017

Liposuction fat removal - also known as liposculpture or lipoplasty - involves the removal of fatty deposits, typically using a cannula and vacuum.

Popular areas to target with liposuction include:

  • Abdomen

  • Thighs

  • Hips

  • Knees

  • Chin

Liposuction can also be performed alongside other surgical procedures, including:

Am I suitable for liposuction?

Liposuction can be performed on virtually any area of the body, including the face.

Before undergoing the procedure, you should ensure:

  • You are in good general health

  • You are within 10 - 15% of your ideal weight

  • You have realistic expectations of the outcome of the procedure

While liposuction can result in substantial improvements, it is rare for the results to be perfect.

You may not experience optimum results from liposuction if:

  • You are not in good health, as this may result in an increased risk of surgical complications

  • If you take medication which increases the overall risk of bleeding, such as aspirin, NSAIDs or anticoagulants such as Warfarin

  • You expect liposuction to be an effective means to permanently lose weight

  • Your skin lacks elasticity, as you may be left with some creping or wrinkling of the skin

  • You wish to reduce or remove cellulite, as the procedure alone will not achieve this

Your suitability for the procedure will be determined in your clinic consultation, in which the most suitable method will be chosen, from:

  • Tumescent technique

  • Ultrasonic

  • Power assisted lipoplasty (PAL)

  • SmartLipo

The procedure is suitable for both men and women of all age groups, except those aged under 18.  

What does liposuction involve?

The procedure will be carried out under general anaesthetic or local anaesthetic under sedation. It will take between 30 minutes and 2 hours to complete.  

  1. A number of small incisions (measuring 3 - 4mm each) are made in the skin, in inconspicuous locations

  2. These incisions are injected with tumescent solution (a mixture of local anaesthetic and adrenaline) which is left for 10 - 15 minutes to diffuse and take effect. This solution numbs the area and reduces bleeding

  3. A suitably sized cannula is inserted into the incision

  4. Using a back and forth motion, the cannula moves through the fat, loosening it before it os removed using a vacuum pump

  5. A thin, smooth layer of fat is left attached to the skin to minimise the possibility of any rippling of the skin

What happens after liposuction?

You will be fitted with a compression garment, which must be worn over the treated area to help your skin shrink to its new shape. It also controls any post-operative swelling and bleeding.

You will be able to go home on the same day as your procedure or, if you wish, you can stay in the clinic overnight.

You will not be able to drive following liposuction, so you will need someone to drive you home.

What can I expect after liposuction?

You should allow at least a week’s downtime following the procedure. Ensure you get plenty of rest, as this will help you to recover.

Bruising, swelling and even initial lumpiness or unevenness in the area which has been treated is common and this will settle over the course of a few weeks.

Numbness or tingling is also normal, due to nerve irritation. This should subside within 6 months after the procedure.

Will I have scars after liposuction?

Scarring after liposuction is usually minimal, as the incisions are so small and are located on a area of the body where they will not be easily seen.

The level of scarring will depend on your own scarring tendency, although most scars will fade and disappear over time.

When will I see results?

It may take 6-9 months to see the full results of liposuction.  


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