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Liposuction – All you need to know

Posted on February 24, 2015

What is involved in the procedure, why has there been an increase in the number of people undergoing the surgery and how effective is it in the long-term?

According to recent figures released by The British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons (“BAAPS”), the number of liposuction procedures has increased by 7% for men and women combined and by 10% for women. It has become the 5th most common procedure performed on women in 2014 with 4,138 women said to have undertaken this surgery in 2014. But what is involved in the procedure? What are the reasons behind this increase? And how effective is it? MyBreast Cosmetic Surgery discusses this topic.

What is liposuction?

Liposuction is the removal of excess fat tissue, helping to reshape body contours and create a slimmer appearance. Common areas on which this procedure is undertaken are the tummy, hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, neck, upper arms and male breasts.

What is involved in the procedure?

The procedure involves a hollow tube, known as a cannula, inserted into fatty tissue through an incision in the skin. A machine then draws out the fat using a suction method. There are a number of techniques used in the process to inject fluid into the area.

Dry liposuction

No fluid is injected. This is not the usual method and is only used for very small areas.

Wet liposuction

A small amount of local anaesthetic solution is injected into the area which is of a less volume than the amount of fat to be removed.

Super-wet liposuction

The volume of fluid injected is the same amount as the volume of fat to be removed. This is the preferred technique for high-volume liposuction by many plastic surgeons.

Tumescent liposuction

The surgeon injects a large volume of solution into the subcutaneous fat to be removed.

Suction-assisted liposuction is the standard method where the surgeon carefully pushes and pulls the cannula through the fat layer, breaking up the fat cells and drawing them out of the body by suction. However power-assisted liposuction can also be performed, which is where a specialised mechanical cannula is used requiring the surgeon to make less manual movements.

Reasons behind the increased uptake

We must examine the reasons behind the increase in people contemplating liposuction. In a world where fast food outlets are on every corner and fizzy drinks and sweet treats are commonplace, there has been great concern over the rise in obesity. In the Foresight Report produced in 2007, the Government estimated that ‘half the UK population will be obese by 2050’. The National Obesity Forum in January last year said in a new report entitled ‘State of the Nation’s Waistline’ that it believed this to have been underestimated. Is becoming a heavier nation an underlying reason for the increase in fat-removing surgical procedures with people desiring and needing to lose weight?

Perhaps, but weight gain is not the sole reason for the increase. Mintel, a market research company, highlighted in its report, outlined in a recent article in the Daily Mail (, that the pressure to lose weight in the current celebrity-obsessed culture has contributed to the rise in cosmetic surgery and liposuction in particular.  Even with the incentive to get fit and healthy, sometimes it is hard to shift the last few pounds to meet your weight loss goal. Liposuction not only removes fat, but also reshapes the body contours therefore presenting a slimmer figure. This, in turn, boosts the self-confidence of the patient which is shown to be one of the main aims when undergoing cosmetic surgery.

As the aesthetics and cosmetic surgery industry has matured, there have been many developments and improvements, both in the effectiveness, efficiency and affordability of procedures. Liposuction today is a relatively quick procedure with operations taking as little as 45 minutes. The recovery time, with good aftercare being the key element, has decreased enticing people into seriously considering going down the cosmetic surgery route who may not have thought about it before. MyBreast advises that depending on the extent of the liposuction, clients can return to work from as little as two days after surgery. With the help of painkillers, compression bandages and the right post-surgery care, a client can resume their normal everyday routine from anything from several days to a few weeks afterwards. This demonstrates the exciting possibilities for people considering surgery and MyBreast prides itself on being able to offer affordable excellence; that is being able to provide excellent care throughout the whole process at a reasonable rate.

But how effective is the procedure?

Liposuction is not a cure for obesity, nor is it a way to embody your celebrity idol. However, it can offer help and a solution to part of the problem. It should be used in conjunction with proper diet and exercise and thus act as an aid in areas that are more resistant to weight loss. The British Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (“BAPRAS”) states that ‘the effects of the operation should be long-lasting, so long, as a patient’s weight remains stable’. However the procedure not only helps with physical weight loss, but also boosts a patient’s confidence as they see improvement in their appearance.

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