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What is Liposuction?

By Consultant Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon, Simon Mackey


Liposuction or liposculpture is a type of cosmetic surgery used to remove unwanted body fat. Liposuction permamently removes fat cells to change body shape and improve appearance. It can also be used to treat problems such as fat fractures, lymphoedema and asymmetry. Liposuction can’t remove cellulite or stretch-marks, isn’t a treatment for obesity, and is not an alternative to losing weight.

Many people find they can lose weight, and reduce fatty areas with diet and exercise. Liposuction can treat stubborn fat pockets in the neck, arms, chest, tummy, thighs, hips, buttocks and ankles.

Having cosmetic surgery including liposuction, is a big decision. Before having liposuction, your surgeon should discuss the procedure with you and decide which technique is most suitable. Liposuction can be carried out under general anaesthetic or local anaesthetic, and this should be discussed.

Liposuction can be “traditional” or “mechanically-assisted”, or use ultrasound microwaves or laser to “break-up” fat cells before they are removed from the body by suction. Some techniques have brand names, but all can be used to get great results.

After fat is removed, the skin shrinks to fit the new contour. If the skin has lost it’s elasticity, it will not shrink and liposuction will not work. In this situation, other surgical techniques such as abdominoplasty, face-lifting, thigh-lifting, arm-lifting may be more appropriate. After the operation, the treated area will be stitched and dressed, and you may need to wear a compression garment to reduce swelling. It takes about two weeks to recover, but it may take six months to see the final results.

If you decide to have liposuction, ask as many questions as you need to so you're fully aware of what the procedure involves, how it will be carried out, what the results will be, and whether there will be any after effects. Like all surgery, liposuction has risks including scars, bruising, infection, numbness and contour irregularities.

Check that your surgeon is on the GMC’s specialist register for Plastic surgery and a full member of BAAPS, and BAPRAS. This ensures your surgeon is adequately trained, safe, and provides high-quality and modern treatment.

Mr. Mackey meets these criteria and specialises in cosmetic surgical and non-surgical procedures for your face, body and breasts. 

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