What you need to know about liposuction in the UK

Liposuction or lipoplasty is a possible option of removing excess fat deposits in the body through cosmetic surgery. If you are thinking of liposuction in the UK, there are things you should know about the procedure before you make a decision. Liposuction is an invasive surgery involving risks and side effects so you might want to weigh the advantages and disadvantages before taking the plunge.

The process

Liposuction is the process of removing fat through surgery in places where it usually accumulates such as the legs, thighs, buttocks, breasts, and arms. Once surgery is elected, you will need to discuss with your GP if you decide to do liposuction in the UK. Your practitioner can refer you to a surgeon who will propose various methods of liposuction such as: wet, superwet, dry, ultrasound-assisted, laser-assisted or body jet liposuction.

  • The procedure

Depending on the area where liposuction will be carried out, anaesthesia will be applied before an incision is made on the skin. If large areas are to be treated, general anaesthesia will be used. Otherwise, localised anaesthesia will be applied on smaller areas with epidurals doing the trick for minor surfaces. A suction tube from a special vacuum machine will then be inserted where the incision is made to draw out excess fat. The area will be stitched and held by bandages afterwards. Compression bandages will also be prescribed to prevent swelling and speed up healing.

  • Side effects

Pain is a major side effect of liposuction as well as bruising, swelling, scarring, and post-operative weight gain. Complications may also arise such as allergy reactions, skin necrosis, burns, and infection.

  • Recovery

If anaesthesia is used during the procedure, an overnight stay is required. It will take 2 weeks for full recovery to take place and results may not be noticeable until after 6 months.

  • Efficacy

Liposuction is an effective method of removing limited fat in the body, but is only sustainable if a healthy lifestyle and strict diet are followed. Otherwise, the build up of fat continues and the same condition will be experienced.


Since the procedure is meant for aesthetic purposes, liposuction in the UK is not part of the NHS except for special circumstances. Liposuction for health reasons is available only if it is for reconstructive surgery or for treatment of medical conditions such as lipoedema (adipose tissue disorder). In such cases, you will need a referral from your GP if you are thinking of undergoing liposuction. There will also be psychological or psychiatric evaluations to see if liposuction will benefit your condition.

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