Liposuction and liposculpture

Liposuction or liposcultpure is considered by many patients who find that areas of fat deposition around the body can give a disproportionate appearance. This is particularly seen on the hips, abdomen and buttocks of women when genetic influences alter the distribution of body fat. Frequently, these ladies (and often men) find that even successful dieting and exercise do not achieve the results they are looking for. Indeed, sometimes loss of fat in other body areas can occasionally exaggerate the unwanted appearance.

Liposuction / fat removal by Mr Stephen (Steve) Hamilton in London UK

Frequently asked questions regarding liposuction and liposculpture


What can be done by liposuction or liposculpture ?
Can I use liposuction to lose weight ?

Will there be scars after liposuction surgery ?
How do I prepare for liposuction surgery ?
What does the liposuction surgery procedure involve?

What happens after liposuction treatment? What should I expect?

Is liposuction safe?
How do I arrange a consultation about liposuction / liposculpture with Mr Hamilton in London, UK?


What can be done by liposuction or liposculpture?

Liposuction or liposculpture are techniques where areas of unwanted fatty tissue are reduced using a special suction tube (the ‘canula’). Tiny incisions are made in inconspicuous areas to allow the canula to be passed into the fatty tissue which can then carefully be removed and re-shaped. Liposuction is also frequently used in combination with other surgical procedures such as abdominoplasty and facelifting to fine-tune the result of the procedure and improve the overall contour.

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Can I use liposuction to lose weight?

Generally, no. Liposuction is an ideal technique for treating problem areas and re-contouring. In those individuals who are significantly overweight weight loss by diet modification and exercise is usually the best approach, though liposuction may be useful after weight reduction to achieve a better overall balance to the body shape.

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Will there be scars after liposuction surgery?

Yes but only very small ones. The incisions are made in positions where they will be as hidden as possible after treatment. For example, on the tummy incisions are often placed inside the belly button where they are not visible after the procedure. In fact, the incisions are sufficiently small that they tend not to be noticeable after they settled whatever their position.

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How do I prepare for liposuction surgery?

Where possible, it is important to avoid aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Brufen) and diclofenac (Voltarol) for two weeks pre-operatively. These drugs reduce the ability of the blood to clot and can make bleeding more of a problem during and after surgery.

Smoking can increase the likelihood of wound problems in surgery and abstaining from smoking for at least 2 weeks preoperatively and postoperatively is a sensible precaution.

Patients taking the oral contraceptive pill should consider using an alternative form of contraception for a full cycle prior to surgery since the pill can vary slightly increase the risk of thrombosis (clot) forming in the veins of the leg.

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What does the liposuction surgery procedure involve?

You will be admitted to hospital on the day of surgery and Mr Hamilton will come to re-discuss the procedure and to plan and mark the exact areas of treatment. You will be seen by our consultant anaesthetist who will discuss the anaesthetic with you and answer any questions you may have.

What does the treatment entail?

With you asleep under general anaesthetic, local anaesthetic is placed in the area to be treated to reduce any postoperative discomfort. Mr Hamilton will then make tiny access incisions prior to removing the unwanted fatty tissue. The tiny incisions are then closed with dissolving stitches and our anaesthetist will then gently wake you before you are returned to your room on the ward.

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What happens after liposuction treatment?

Depending on the extent of the treatment, you may go home the same day or spend one night recovering in hospital. Mr. Hamilton will see you back in the consultation room 7-10 days after surgery to check that all is well and to reduce the dressing where appropriate. Depending on the area treated, Mr. Hamilton may advise that a supportive  “lycra” garment is used to reduce swelling in the early postoperative period. A final follow up visit is planned around 3 months after surgery.

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Is liposuction painful?

A degree of bruising and tenderness is normal, though this settles quickly. Strong painkillers are not usually required.

How quickly will I recover after liposuction?

The swelling and bruising will largely settle over the first week and the majority of patients can resume normal activities quite quickly. The exact recovery period depends on the area treated and the extent of the liposuction. With minor areas treated, patients can often return to work and normal activities almost immediately. With more extensive treatment, a period of convalescence may be more sensible.

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Safety and potential risks in liposuction surgery

The great majority of patients undergoing liposuction in the hands of an experienced surgeon achieve good results with a rapid recovery. However, in a small proportion some complications are a possibility:

  • Unfavourable scars – In some patients, especially those of Afro-Caribbean origin, scars can be thicker than expected or become raised. In the vast majority of cases, these settle spontaneously but occasionally other measures to improve the scar may be necessary. Most patients find that the scars settle well though all individuals are different and in some cases, scars can take many months to settle. Mr Hamilton will advise you on massage techniques to help speed up the rate at which the scars mature.
  • Infection – fortunately, infection is very rare in this type of treatment and the risk is minimised by careful surgical technique and the use of a dose of antibiotic before surgery commences.
  • Numbness – some numbness of the skin overlying the treated area is common after liposuction is normal but very quickly returns to normal. A feeling of “pins and needles” is normal as this sensation recovers.
  • Surface irregularity – in a small number of patients, some irregularity or “bumpiness” or the contour can be evident after treatment. In the majority this will improve as the swelling settles but just occasionally it can persist as minir dimpling of the skin. Careful surgical technique minimises the likelihood of this problem.
  • In more extensive procedures carried out under general anaesthetic there is  a small risk of postoperative chest infection (particularly in smokers) and of thrombosis of the veins of the legs (DVT or deep veinous thrombosis) and the concomitant risk of clot moving to the lung (embolism). Patients wear protective stockings during and after surgery to help minimise the risk of DVT and embolism which is stated to be less than 1 in 3500. Early mobilisation after surgery is an excellent way of reducing the risk we also use a compressive massaging device on the calf muscles in theatre to further reduce the small risk of this complication.

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Liposuction or liposculpture are very popular procedures which can give excellent results in appropriate patients.  The procedure needs to be tailored to your individual needs and Mr. Hamilton will be happy to give you a friendly and honest opinion on your suitability for surgery at your consultation.

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