Times have changes since it was only film stars, celebrities and high society that could afford cosmetic surgery procedures to improve their appearance and defy the visible signs of ageing. Nowadays, many routine yet potentially life-changing procedures, including liposuction, are available to anyone and often at bargain prices thanks to websites that advertise daily deals from cosmetic surgery clinics.
Since liposuction was first introduced in 1974 the procedure has been successfully performed on countless patients, and whilst no surgery can be guaranteed entirely risk-free liposuction is one of the most popular and effective ways in which to improve the body’s appearance by removing areas of excess fat which have proven resistant to dieting and exercise.
Tempted by those liposuction daily deals? If you’d like to know whether the procedure could benefit you, here’s a brief beginner’s guide to liposuction.
What can liposuction do for me?
Firstly, liposuction is not a ‘quick fix’ alternative to dieting and exercise as a means of weight loss. In fact, the best results are achieved in patients who aren’t overweight. Liposuction is intended to remove areas of unsightly body fat where diet and exercise haven’t helped and is typically used to reshape the stomach, buttocks, hips and thighs, upper arms and neck. It is also an effective tool in the treatment of medical conditions such as lipoedema, gynaecomastia and lymphoedema.
What does the liposuction procedure entail?
Except in cases where a very small area is to be treated, a liposuction patient will be given a general or epidural anaesthetic.
The area for treatment will be marked out with a pen and this area will be injected with a solution intended to minimise swelling and blood loss. In some cases, high frequency vibration or a pressurised water jet may be used to break down fat deposits before the surgery begins.
Once the area for treatment has been prepared the surgeon will make a small incision which allows a suction tube called a cannula to be inserted. Attached to a clinical vacuum apparatus, the tube is used to loosen and suck out the fat deposits, after which any excess fluid and blood in the operative site will be drained off and the incision closed.
Depending upon the extent of the treatment required, a liposuction procedure may take between one and four hours to complete.
Am I a suitable candidate for liposuction?
The ideal candidate for liposuction, whether female or male, will be in generally good health. Smokers are advised to avoid smoking for at least a fortnight prior to surgery. A candidate should hold realistic expectations of the outcome of liposuction, and patients over the age of forty or whose skin has lower than average elasticity may find that the treated area is subject to wrinkling.
The regular use of blood-thinning drugs such as aspirin or warfarin or of any drug which may have an unwanted interaction with anaesthetic may make the procedure unsafe for some candidates so it is vital to have a full consultation before committing to surgery.
Is liposuction painful?
Because an anaesthetic is administered prior to surgery the procedure is pain-free. Depending upon the size and nature of the liposuction performed, after surgery the patient may experience soreness or tenderness in the affected area which may be managed with everyday painkillers and which will begin to subside after the first 48 hours, although the operative site may continue to be sore for between four and eight weeks whilst healing takes place.
The degree of bruising evident after liposuction will vary from patient to patient but this will typically disappear naturally over the two to three weeks following surgery. Swelling may take longer to subside but can be helped by wearing compression garments.
Are the results of liposuction permanent?
Whilst the results of any cosmetic surgery cannot be guaranteed permanent, the benefits of liposuction are generally immediately noticeable, and since the fat deposits removed during surgery will not automatically grow back, these results can be long-lasting provided that a healthy body weight is maintained.
How much does liposuction cost?
Because liposuction is typically used to improve appearance rather than restore health it is not generally available as an NHS treatment. The precise cost of liposuction will vary depending upon the clinic chosen and the type and extent of procedure required. Whilst liposuction costs are widely quoted as ranging between £1,000 and £4,000 many clinics offer significant reductions on their surgery via daily deals websites and as with any other major purchase, shopping around is advisable.