Liposuction is one of the most popular types of cosmetic surgery with tens of thousands of procedures performed each year in the UK and London. For patients who are considering having a liposuction procedure, we have highlighted the most important aspects to help you be as prepared as possible for your procedure.
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What is liposuction?
Liposuction or Lipo is a body contouring procedure for the removal of localised areas of fat under the skin in unwanted parts of the body that are proven resistant to diet and exercise. Liposuction is not a method of weight loss and is considered the most effective technique for getting rid of fat that can’t be reduced with non-invasive methods such as reducing one’s intake of refined sugar and carrying out regular cardiovascular exercise.
What are the common liposuction areas?
Liposuction can be performed on most areas of the body, including:
- Neck and chin lipo
- Back of the neck, also known as a dorso-cervical fat pad or ‘Buffalo hump‘
- Abdomen and love handles
- Male chest
- Female breasts
- Upper arms also known as ‘bingo wings‘
- Stomach lipo
- Back lipo
- Bra rolls
- Thighs – both inner and outer thighs
- Calves and ankles
Liposuction can be carried out in more than one area, and the treatment plan will depend on your expectations, your lifestyle and your genetics as many people will be predisposed to accumulating fat in certain body areas compared with others. Once your plastic surgeon has carried out a full clinical assessment, including a physical examination, the best treatment option will be suggested.
Am I suitable for liposuction?
You will be an ideal candidate for liposuction if you are in a good state of health with no significant medical conditions. You are at or near your target weight, and you do not smoke. Liposuction is designed to remove areas of fat beneath the skin, also known as subcutaneous fat. The other type of fat found in the body is visceral fat which is commonly found around the internal abdominal organs such as the stomach and liver if you have an excessive amount of visceral fat, it will be recommended for you to lose weight first as liposuction is not a treatment for getting rid of visceral fat.
As part of the clinical assessment, your surgeon will judge the quality of your skin, including its elasticity, before recommending liposuction. Patients with good skin elasticity are ideal candidates for liposuction. If patients have significant amounts of skin laxity or loose skin, your surgeon may recommend a skin removal procedure such as a tummy tuck, as liposuction may worsen the appearance of loose skin.
Is liposuction good for weight loss?
Many people incorrectly assume they can lose weight with liposuction. Liposuction is the best treatment for people who are at or near their ideal body weight for the removal of localised areas of fat. The amount of fat that could be removed will depend on several variables, including your treatment expectations and your surgeon’s assessment of the anticipated result.
How to prepare for liposuction
Before your liposuction procedure, you will be given detailed preoperative instructions from our nursing team. On the day of your procedure, you will need a responsible adult escort to transport you to and from the day surgery facility and must be available to assist you with care for the first 24 hours after liposuction.
You will need to avoid certain drugs before the procedure, including medicines that may thin the blood, such as aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory medications. These medicines could increase the risk of bleeding complications during or after the procedure. If you are having liposuction in multiple areas, your surgeon may request certain blood tests to make sure you are not anaemic before surgery. If you are found to be anaemic, you may be prescribed iron tablets. On the day of your surgery, you should not eat anything for six hours beforehand and can have clear fluids up to 2 hours before the procedure.
How is fat removal surgery carried out?
Liposuction is a minimally invasive procedure which involves making small skin incisions to permit the insertion of aspiration cannulas into the area of excess fat. The cannulas are then moved back and forth to gently break apart fat cells before being sucked out with vacuum suction. Once the procedure is complete, the skin incisions will be closed with dissolvable sutures. There is no need to have the sutures removed at subsequent follow-up appointments as they will be absorbed naturally by the body. Here at Centre for Surgery, all of our liposuction procedures are carried out as an outpatient or day case, which means that you will be admitted and discharged on the same day, which will allow you to recover in the comfort of your own home.
What does liposuction recovery involve?
The vast majority of patients who have had liposuction can return to nonphysical types of work in approximately 48 to 72 hours. The recovery process takes anywhere between three days and four weeks, after which time you may return to all your normal activities, including going to the gym.
The speed of your recovery will be dependent on how your body heals with some patients able to carry out any type of exercise for seven days while other patients may need four weeks or more. Your liposuction recovery will also depend on where that has been removed from. 360 liposuction may be associated with a longer recovery period compared with liposuction carried out in a single area, such as the upper arms.
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Liposuction recovery timeline week by week
Recovery time after liposuction can vary depending on the extent of the procedure and the individual’s healing process. Here is a general outline of what to expect during the recovery process, week by week:
Week 1: After the procedure, the treated area will be swollen and bruised. Patients may experience pain and discomfort, which can be managed with medication. It is important to wear compression garments as directed by the surgeon to reduce swelling and help the skin conform to the new contours of the body.
Week 2: Swelling and bruising will start to subside but may still be present. Patients may start to feel more comfortable and be able to resume light activities.
Week 3: Most of the swelling should be gone, and patients may be able to return to work and other normal activities. However, patients should still avoid strenuous exercise and heavy lifting for several more weeks.
Week 4 and beyond: Most patients will have fully recovered and be able to return to normal activities, including exercise. However, it can take up to 6 months or longer for the final results to be visible as the skin continue to adjust to the new contours.
It’s important to follow the postoperative instructions provided by the surgeon in order to ensure the best possible recovery. Additionally, it’s important to note that healing time can vary greatly from person to person, and some patients may have a faster or slower recovery.
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Top tips for better recovery after liposuction surgery
Recovering from liposuction surgery requires proper care and attention. Here are some tips that can help you achieve a better recovery:
- Follow your plastic surgeons’s instructions: Your doctor will provide you with specific instructions on how to care for the treated areas, what activities to avoid, and when to resume normal activities. It’s important to follow these instructions carefully to promote healing and avoid complications.
- Wear the compression garment: Wearing a compression garment as directed by your doctor can help reduce swelling and improve the final results of the procedure.
- Get plenty of rest: After liposuction, it’s important to get plenty of rest to allow your body to heal. Avoid strenuous activities and avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time in the first few days after the procedure.
- Avoid alcohol: Alcohol can interfere with the healing process and increase the risk of bleeding and swelling. Avoid alcohol for at least the first week after the procedure.
- Eat a healthy diet: A healthy diet can help promote healing and reduce swelling. Focus on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.
- Stay hydrated: Staying hydrated can help reduce swelling and promote healing. Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine and sugar.
- Take care of the incisions: Follow your doctor’s instructions for wound care, including keeping the incisions clean and dry, avoiding soaking in a bath or pool, and avoiding exposure to the sun.
- Avoid smoking: Smoking can interfere with the healing process and increase the risk of complications. If you smoke, it’s important to quit or at least avoid smoking in the weeks following the procedure.
- Avoid aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Aspirin and other NSAIDs can increase the risk of bleeding and swelling. Avoid these medications for at least the first week after the procedure.
- Attend all follow-up appointments: Regular follow-up appointments are important to monitor your progress and address any concerns or complications.
Remember, everyone’s recovery is different, and it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions and attend all follow-up appointments to ensure a smooth recovery. If you have any concerns, be sure to discuss them with your doctor.
Liposuction recovery do’s and don’ts
- Have a responsible adult escort you home after surgery
- Make sure to get plenty of rest during the first two weeks after surgery
- Where loose-fitting clothes
- Sleep on your back
- Keep well hydrated by drinking plenty of water
- Eat healthy foods
- Follow your surgeons, post-operative instructions
- Take your prescriptions as directed
- Avoid strenuous exercise
- Attend your post-operative review appointment
You must avoid the following:
- Sleeping on your front or sides
- Getting your incisions, wet or dirty
- Drinking excessive alcohol in the early recovery period
- Smoking, vaping, or inhaling passive smoke
- Carrying out, strenuous exercise too soon after surgery
- Wearing tight fitting clothes
When to seek medical attention during recovery after liposuction?
If you experience any of the following symptoms, get in touch with our clinical support team as soon as possible:
- Severe pain
- Shortness of breath
You should also contact us if you feel your healing is not progressing as intended.
What do liposuction scars look like?
The width of the incisions is just long enough to allow the insertion of the small-diameter liposuction cannulas, and these are often no more than 3 to 4 mm. The resulting liposuction scar is barely noticeable, and the number of scars you have will depend on how many areas of liposuction you have carried out. The appearance of scars will also vary depending on how old you are and your level of skin elasticity. Many patients have virtually no visible scarring, while other people may have more obvious scars, especially in darker skin types. It is important to remember that incisions result in some degree of scarring. The only way to avoid liposuction scars is not to have liposuction surgery.
What liposuction results can I expect?
All patients should have realistic expectations of what to achieve with liposuction, and this will allow them to form an accurate idea of potential liposuction results. After the procedure, it is common to have bruising and swelling, which will settle down after two weeks. You may also have loose skin, which will take time to improve over the first few weeks. Final liposuction results take approximately six weeks and three months to appear. It is important to be patient throughout the liposuction recovery period and follow your surgeon’s postoperative instructions in full.
SEE ALSO: Liposuction Before And After Photos
Are liposuction results permanent?
Fat cells that have been removed from the body with liposuction are gone forever and do not return. However, patients who continue to eat a healthy diet can still gain weight in other areas which have not had liposuction. The best way to maintain your results is to eat a healthy diet and carry out regular physical exercise to ensure you get the very best long-term results.
SEE ALSO: Are there any alternative treatments to liposuction?
How long does it take to recover from liposuction?
Liposuction recovery takes several weeks. Initially, it is important to take it easy during the first two weeks. Most people can return to work after one week. It can take up to 3 months to recover fully after a liposuction procedure.
Is liposuction recovery painful?
Liposuction is not associated with significant pain or discomfort. Any mild discomfort will improve after the first week and can be easily controlled with over-the-counter painkillers.
Will I need drains after liposuction?
Liposuction does not involve inserting wound drains, so you will not have to have these removed at a postoperative appointment.
What should you avoid after liposuction?
You should avoid smoking or vaping. Alcohol should be avoided for the first two weeks after surgery. Strenuous physical exercise should be avoided for up to 6 weeks. You should avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes.
How soon can I walk after liposuction?
Light walks around the home are actively encouraged during the first few days after surgery to encourage blood circulation to the legs and enhance healing.
What happens if I do not wear a compression garment after liposuction?
If you do not wear the liposuction compression garment, there is a risk of prolonged swelling. The skin may not retract fully, and this could affect the final results of the procedure.
When can I exercise after liposuction?
You may carry out most forms of exercise after six weeks. Vigourous exercise should be avoided during the first four weeks after surgery.
Should I get lymphatic drainage massage after liposuction?
Lymphatic drainage massage is considered optional after liposuction. Patients who have lymphatic drainage massage may find that healing occurs quicker and will therefore see their final result sooner.
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How long should I wear a compression garment after liposuction?
You should wear a compression garment after lipo for a minimum of six weeks, continuously day and night.
RELATED: How to choose the best compression garment for liposuction
How long does Lipo swelling last?
Liposuction swelling will January disappear after four weeks, although they may be mild swelling which lasts up to three months after surgery.
When can I sleep on my side after liposuction?
You should avoid sleeping on your side for the first four weeks after liposuction.
Does liposuction permanently get rid of fat?
Liposuction is considered a permanent method of fat removal. Once the fat cells have been suctioned out, they do not grow back. However, you should maintain a stable weight to prevent fat from forming in other areas of the body.
Will I see liposuction results immediately?
Liposuction produces permanent results, but results will not be visible immediately due to swelling and bruising, which will take up to 6 weeks to disappear.
Book your London liposuction procedure today
Centre for Surgery is a specialist plastic surgery clinic and is considered one of the leading centres for liposuction surgery in the UK. We carry out hundreds of liposuction procedures at our state-of-the-art Baker Street clinic in Marylebone each year. Once you have made up your mind and are ready to take the next step, get in touch with us today at 0207 993 4849 to book a face-to-face consultation with an expert liposuction surgeon in London.