Liposuction sometimes referred to as “lipo” by patients, slims and reshapes specific areas of the body by removing excess fat deposits and improving your body contours and proportion.

Areas that can be treated with liposuction include:

  • Thighs, hips and buttocks
  • Abdomen and waist
  • Upper arms
  • Back
  • Inner knee
  • Chest area
  • Cheeks, chin and neck

Liposuction can be performed alone or along with other plastic surgery procedures, such as facelift, tummy tuck, arm and thigh lift.

What happens before surgery?

You will be asked to stop certain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen or herbal medicines that might increase the risk of bleeding during or after surgery.

If you are a smoker, you will be advised to stop smoking at least two weeks before and a similar length after surgery to reduce the chances of wound healing issues.

What does the surgery involve and how long it takes?

The surgery carried out under general anaesthetic and usually takes between 1-2 hours. The procedure is performed through small, inconspicuous incisions.

First, diluted local anesthesia is infused to reduce bleeding and trauma. Then a thin hollow tube, or cannula, is inserted through the incisions to loosen excess fat using a controlled back and forth motion. The dislodged fat is then suctioned out of the body using a surgical vacuum or syringe attached to the cannula.

Arm and thigh lifts take between 2-3 hours each depending on the extent of the work that needs to be carried out.

What happens after surgery?

You are advised to stay in the hospital overnight and go home the next day with simple analgesia and pressure garment over the treated area.

You will be seen 7 days after the procedure to assess if you have any collection of seroma fluid; which can be easily and painlessly removed in the consultation room. You can return to work usually 2 weeks after surgery but avoid heavy lifting, bending and exercise up to 4-6weeeks.

You will be seen 3 months after surgery to assess the outcome and your satisfaction.

What are the risks and complications?

Significant and major complication rates are very low in liposuction surgery but the following could occur:

Bruising and swelling: expect some bruising over the area you had liposuction. Bruising along with the swelling should settle within the first 2 weeks. Risk of significant bleeding is very low in liposuction. Sometimes the swelling may last longer.

Infection: wound infection rates are low. Routine antibiotics are not required. Occasionally, antibiotics are required to treat an infection.

Seroma: this is a collection of straw coloured fluid under the skin. You may feel a swelling that may become uncomfortable. At your one-week postoperative visit, you will be assessed for any seroma collection. If required, this fluid can be painlessly removed in the consultation room.

Wound healing issues: small incision site can sometimes come apart and form a scab (wound dehiscence). This problem is usually managed with regular dressing changes until healing takes place.

Numbness and nerve damage: expect some “fuzziness” or numbness over the area where you have had the liposuction; this will settle over time. Major nerve damage is very unlikely.

Uneven skin surface (contour irregularity): some patients may experience some areas of bumpiness over the treated area; which should improve once the swelling settles. Sometimes this unevenness may persist.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT):  this is a rare but potentially significant complication where clots are formed in the deep veins in the legs and can travel towards the lungs. Great care is taken to avoid this complication by wearing special stockings before and after surgery, moving around soon after surgery.  In theatre special compression devices are also used around your calf muscle to reduce the risk of clot formation.

  • Summary
  • Operation time 1-2 hours
  • Anaesthetic General Anaesthetic
  • Nights in hospital 1
  • Time off work 2 weeks
  • Return to exercise 4-6 weeks


If you have a question regarding a procedure or would like to find out if you are a suitable candidate, please feel free to get in touch.