Liposuction is used to remove excess subcutaneous fat from a number of areas around the body. The commonest sites treated include the stomach, flanks, inner and outer thighs and buttocks, although other areas may also be suitable such as below the chin or the knees. It produces particularly good results where the patient has good skin tone and the pockets of fat are well-defined.
Liposuction can also be utilized in combination with other procedures such as an abdominoplasty or bodylift to improve the appearance of associated areas such as the flanks, thighs and buttocks.
There are a number of different types of liposuction available and they are usually performed under a general anesthetic. Small (5mm) incisions are made and a range of suction cannulas inserted to remove the excess subcutaneous fat from the affected areas. The incisions are sutured with fine sutures and a compression garment applied.
Depending on the extent of liposuction the surgery is performed either as a day-case or an overnight stay. Dressings are changed at one week and the compression garment worn for 4 to 6 weeks to maximize the results of surgery. This helps to reduce the swelling and encourages the skin to conform to its new shape. Patients normally return to work at 10-14 days depending on the extent of surgery. Vigorous exercise should not be resumed until all bruising has settled which usually takes 3-4 weeks. At 4-6 weeks a good idea of the final result should be apparent but this continues to improve for 3-6 months as the skin and fat soften and become smoother.