Liposuction Surgery Cost and Procedure Guide

SUMMARY

Procedure time

60 to 180 mins

Overnight stay

0 - 1 night

Anaesthetic

General or local with sedation

Recovery time

6 months

Liposuction, also known as lipoplasty, liposculpture, or lipo, is a surgical procedure that removes stubborn pockets of fat from the body. It is not a weight-loss procedure. Instead, it is very effective at perfecting and sculpting so-called problem areas. It is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the UK every year.

Liposuction Surgery Overview

How Much Does Liposuction Surgery Cost?

Liposuction Surgery typically costs between around £4000 and £12000.

Prices can vary significantly depending on a number of factors. Each procedure is tailored to a patient’s individual wants and needs and has the opportunity to identify what they would like their procedure to include or exclude.

During the initial consultation with a surgeon, a patient can inform the surgeon of what they hope to achieve from the surgery before the surgeon will make suggestions on how best to achieve those goals. Some of the variables which may affect the cost of the procedure include:

  • Surgeon experience and anaesthetist experience
  • The complexity of the individual procedure (for example, how many areas are being treated)
  • Surgical techniques or combination surgeries (like, with the addition of a tummy tuck)
  • Which hospital or clinic is chosen for the procedure
  • The time required in surgery for each patient’s case

Once the variables have been decided upon, a final price can be determined. This will only occur after the consultation with a surgeon. But once the price is set it will cover:

  • Surgeon and anaesthetist costs
  • Highly rated CQC hospital costs
  • Overnight stays (if required)
  • Aftercare and follow-up appointments

Liposuction Surgery Candidates

Wet, dry or ultrasound-assisted lipo might be a good option for patients if they struggle with areas of stubborn fat that have not changed even after lifestyle changes.

This guide details wet and dry lipo. Learn more about VASER liposuction

Patients may be a suitable candidate for wet or dry liposuction if they:

  • Have had no results from other fat removal methods and lifestyle changes
  • Are at a stable weight and are in overall good health
  • Have skin that is firm and elastic in the area where they want fat removal
  • Have reasonable expectations for lipo results

What Liposuction Can't Achieve

No, liposuction is not a good way to lose weight.

In fact, fat removal is limited to 3 litres per liposuction surgery in the UK. The likelihood of complications developing increases when fat removal is greater than 3 litres. Too much fat removal at once also increases the chance the patient will be left with sagging skin. This is because the skin cannot usually shrink to fit the area after a large amount of fat removal.

If the patient's goal is to lose weight, they may be a much better candidate for true weight loss surgery like gastric band surgery rather than liposuction.

Areas on the Body Liposuction can be Performed

Liposuction works for fat removal across the body with limited exceptions.

Multiple areas are often treated during one surgery to optimise your results. Patients should be aware that the more areas treated, the higher your liposuction cost.

The most popular locations for lipo are:

  • Abdomen
  • Flanks (side of the torso)
  • Outer thighs
  • Upper thighs
  • Upper arms
  • Chest
  • Chin
  • Neck
  • Buttocks

The areas highlighted in blue in the image below are all the areas surgeons offer available lipo locations are highlighted in the image below.

Can Liposuction be Combined with any Other Plastic Surgery Procedures?

Yes, liposuction is frequently combined with other procedures. Other surgeries, especially those that removing excess skin are excellent additions to liposuction.

It is good to keep in mind that adding another procedure will increase the liposuction cost. However, combination procedures often provide excellent results because of the fat removal and skin tightening benefits that are combined.

Commonly, liposuction is combined with:

Fat transfer procedures like fat transfer breast enlargement or cheek enhancement also use liposuction to harvest the fat that is then transferred to areas lacking volume.

The Liposuction Surgery Consultation

Surgeon consultations for lipo in the UK usually take anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour to complete. The consultation is the first time patients and their prospective surgeons meet each other. Together they will discuss:

  • Medical history and overall health
  • Expectations and goals for liposuction
  • The general procedure for lipo
  • Any other questions

What to Expect During a Liposuction Consultation?

The surgeon will ask questions about the patient to learn about your health and medical history. By the end of the appointment, they will decide if lipo is right for the patient and create a treatment plan specifically for their needs and goals.

The questions they ask will likely cover these topics:

  • Any previous surgeries
  • Any medical conditions
  • History of weight loss
  • Any medications, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications or herbal supplements
  • Motivations and expectations for liposuction
  • Any smoking or alcohol, nicotine or recreational drug use

The best way to ensure patients have the best experience possible is to always be truthful with the surgeon.

The Liposuction Surgery Procedure

Liposuction takes from 1 to 2 hours to perform on average. The patient will be put under either general anaesthesia or local anaesthesia with sedation during the surgery. General anaesthesia puts the patient into a deep, dreamless sleep with medication. Local anaesthesia with sedation is also called twilight sedation. For this, numbing medication is injected into the skin then the patient is given a sedative that helps them remain relaxed during surgery.

Liposuction Incisions & Scars

The incisions necessary for fat removal are usually no larger than 1 centimetre long. The surgeon will place these incisions in the most discreet places possible so they are hidden by clothing or obscured by natural folds in the skin.

Wet Liposuction

This is also called tumescent liposuction. As the name suggests, it uses a tumescent solution of sterile saltwater called saline, an anaesthetic that numbs the skin and a chemical that reduces blood flow to the fat. This solution reduces the likelihood of excessive bleeding during the procedure while helping to control pain, bruising and swelling after surgery.

Wet lipo is performed as seen in the image above:

  1. The surgeon begins by making a small incision near the treatment area
  2. Through this incision, the tumescent solution is injected into the fat
  3. The surgeon then uses a thin hollow surgical tool called a cannula to break down the fat and separate it from the other tissues in the skin
  4. Saline solution and fat are removed from the body with the cannula via suction
  5. The area now has fewer fat cells and gives the patient a more contoured silhouette

Wet lipo is a less invasive fat removal procedure with less likelihood of complications when compared to dry liposuction. However, wet lipo may take longer to perform than dry liposuction.

Dry Liposuction

Dry liposuction was the first type of lipo invented. This method relies on suction and movement of the cannula to break down and remove

Dry liposuction is performed as seen in the diagram above:

  1. An incision is made at the treatment area
  2. The cannula is inserted into the area and moved backwards and forwards to break apart the fat under the skin
  3. A powerful vacuum is attached to the cannula to suction the fat cells out of the area
  4. The patient is then left with much less fat and a more defined look at the treatment area

Dry lipo allows your surgeon to more quickly remove fat from larger areas of the body than wet lipo. It is, however, more invasive and carries a higher risk of bleeding, bruising and swelling. For this reason, it is performed less commonly than wet liposuction.

Liposuction Recovery & Results

Generally, liposuction patients are able to return home the same day as their procedure. However, the surgeon will decide if this is safe for the patient after surgery depending on how they recover.

The surgeon will likely recommend patients wear a compression garment on the surgical area for at least a few weeks after the surgery. This garment helps reduce swelling and may speed up liposuction recovery. The area will likely look much slimmer immediately after surgery. However, it can take up to 6 months for final results to show as any underlying swelling goes down.

Liposuction Surgery Risks & Complications

No matter how unlikely, patients should always be aware of the possible side effects of liposuction before agreeing to have surgery. The surgeon will always discuss these risks before patients have the surgery/

The risks and complications associated with liposuction include:

  • Complications or allergic reaction to anaesthesia
  • Allergic reaction to other surgical elements such as tape or latex gloves
  • Bleeding
  • Temporary bruising
  • Temporary swelling
  • An altered sensation at the treatment area
  • Temporary fluid balance issues (only for wet lipo)
  • Unwanted or keloid scarring
  • Unwanted lumps or bumps at the treatment site

Liposuction Surgery Preparation

How to Prepare for Liposuction Surgery?

Preparation is vital before any elective or cosmetic surgery. Preparing well for the operation will also help you during recovery. The surgeon will give specific pre and postoperative advice which patients should follow. Below, there is some general advice which may be useful to consider when doing any liposuction preparation:

Driving

On the day patients are sent back home after surgery, they will not be able to drive. Patients must, therefore, organise for someone to take them home after the operation. Furthermore, the surgeon may advise that patients will not be able to drive for a period of 5 days to 2 weeks after the procedure.

Sleeping

Although you should take time to rest after your procedure, you should not stay in bed all day. You should try your best to take light, short walks around the house. This is so that you reduce the risk of developing any blood clots in your legs.
When you are sleeping, it may be useful to have extra pillows on your bed so that you can sleep propped up after surgery. Sleeping in this position may help reduce the swelling from the procedure.

Household Chores

When patients get home, they certainly do not want to worry about doing all your household chore. It is therefore handy to do things like cleaning the house, doing the laundry and taking the bins out before having the operation. This means patients come back home ready to put their feet up and recover. Finally, as patients do not want to strain themselves by reaching up to grab cupboard items, patients might want to put all mugs, crockery and dry food on a kitchen counter so they are easy to access.

Shopping & Food

Patients may want to pre-cook some meals and leave them in the freezer so that they are ready for them when you get home. The surgeon may also instruct patients not do any heavy lifting for a few weeks after having liposuction surgery. If this is the case, patients may want to do a big food shop before having the operation.

Children & Pets

If patients have any young children or pets at home, it's advised that they get a family member or friend to assist in taking care of them for a few days whilst in recovery.

Clothing

As patients want to be as comfortable as possible during recovery at home, it is recommended that patients wear loose and comfortable clothing. For example, this can include, baggy trousers, tops that easily fasten from the front or back and slip-on shoes. The surgeon may also give the patient a compression garment to wear after the procedure, which will help reduce swelling.

Alcohol, smoking & drug use

Another important aspect of liposuction preparation is following the surgeon’s advice on alcohol, smoking and drugs. Drinking large amounts of alcohol and using recreational drugs can increase the risk of complications developing during and after the surgical procedure. Smoking, in particular, is quite worrisome for surgeons as it can increase the time it takes wounds to heal. The longer it takes the wounds to heal, the higher the chance of them developing an infection. It is therefore vital that patients stop smoking and using all nicotine products for at least 6 weeks before and after the procedure.

High BMI

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is an important factor for surgeons when considering if patients are suitable for surgery. Patients can calculate their BMI using height and weight. Many surgeons have a maximum BMI limit that they will accept, usually, this is 30. This means that if you have a BMI that is greater than 30, the surgeon may not perform the procedure on the patient and may advise that patients reduce their weight before they can go ahead.

Medications

Certain prescription, over the counter and herbal medications can also increase the risk of complications during and after surgery. It is important for patients to mention if you take any medications or herbal remedies. Some homoeopathic medications can increase the risk of bleeding and bruising, and some surgeons, therefore, advise that patients stop taking these at least 2 weeks before the procedure. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Preparations that contain ginger or gingko
  • Cod liver oil
  • St John’s Wort
  • Multivitamin preparations.

Making sure to follow all the surgeon’s liposuction preparation advice will reduce the risk of any complications occurring and help during recovery.

Liposuction Surgery Aftercare

What to Expect After a Liposuction Surgery?

It is important to consider what the recovery process will be like after having the liposuction procedure. The BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeon will give specific and individual instructions that patients should follow. Their instructions include timeframes for when patients can return to work, driving, and exercise. Patients can, however, find general guidelines for liposuction aftercare listed below.

Post-Operative Appointment

The surgeon will arrange a post-operative appointment to check how recovery is going after the procedure. They will use this time to examine the treatment area, change any dressings and address any complications that may have arisen.

Returning to Work

The time patients will need to take off work will depend on the surgeon’s advice and on the type of job they have. If the job requires patients to do a lot of physical activity, the surgeon may recommend that patients take more time off work. In general, patients should be able to return to work after 7 to 10 days.

Diet

A liposuction procedure is not a weight-loss procedure. Although the surgeon will remove fat in certain parts of the body, patients can still gain weight after they've had the surgery. Therefore, to avoid reversing the results of the liposuction, it is important that patients maintain a healthy diet and a stable weight.

Try to eat foods that are low in sodium and sugar, but high in protein. Be sure to try and eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and drink lots of water to maintain a healthy weight.

Exercise & Sport

The surgeon will give some specific timeframes for when patients can start doing regular exercise and sport. The general guidelines are as follows:

Week 1

Do not do any exercise in the first week after the liposuction surgery. Even minor forms of exercise can increase swelling and affect the final results.

Weeks 2 to 4

During this time, patients may slowly begin to resume light cardio activity such as walking on a treadmill. After 3 weeks, patients can do more vigorous activities such as cycling.

Weeks 4 to 6

After 4 to 6 weeks have passed, patients should be able to resume all sports and activities including heavy lifting and contact sports.

Compression Garment

The surgeon may give a compression garment to wear after the liposuction surgery, this is an important part of liposuction aftercare. They may ask patients to wear this garment every day and night for the first 2 to 3 weeks of recovery, removing it only when bathing and showering. The surgeon may ask patients to wear this for a longer or shorter period of time, depending on their body’s particular needs. The garment will help reduce swelling and increase the chances of producing better results after the liposuction procedure.

Scar Care

There are a couple of techniques patients can use to help reduce the appearance of scars. Patients should only practice these techniques once their scar fully heals.

Scar Massage

Some surgeons may recommend doing gentle massage of the scar. Patients may use cream or oil when massaging.

Silicone creams, gels or sheets

It has been clinically proven that using silicone-based products can help reduce the appearance of scars. These usually come in the form of gels, creams or sheets can be applied over the scar. Patients can use these products for around 6 months to a year to help achieve the best results.

Final Results

Following all your surgeon’s liposuction aftercare instructions will help patients to achieve the best possible results from their surgery. Although patients may see a change in their body immediately after the procedure, it will take some time for the swelling to subside and for the body to completely settle. It can, therefore, take up to 6 months before patients can appreciate the final results, so do try to be patient.

Liposuction Surgery FAQs

Liposuction FAQs

It is important to get answers to all your questions before having liposuction surgery. This liposuction FAQs page answers some questions that patients often have regarding the liposuction procedure.

Liposuction Surgery FAQs

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