What is liposuction?

Liposuction is an operation to improve the shape of your body by removing fat from under your skin.

Is liposuction suitable for me?

Your surgeon will carry out a detailed assessment before deciding if surgery is suitable for you. Liposuction is not a substitute for losing weight.

What are the benefits of surgery?

Your body should have a better shape.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Improving your diet and doing more exercise can reduce localised fat deposits.

It may be possible to inject a solution that dissolves the fat.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is performed either under a general anaesthetic or under a local anaesthetic, depending on how many areas need to be treated. The operation usually takes 45 minutes to three hours.

For each area to be treated, your surgeon will make several small cuts. They will place a cannula (thin, hollow tube) through a cut and into the fat (see figure 1). The cannula is attached to a suction device that will remove the fat.

What complications can happen?

1 General complications of any operation

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Blood clots

2 Specific complications of this operation

  • Fat embolus
  • Skin burns
  • Damage to structures such as your bowel, kidneys or liver
  • Developing a collection of fluid under the skin where fat is removed
  • Injury to small nerves that supply your skin
  • Irregular body shape where fat has been removed
  • Changes to skin colour

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day or the day after, depending on how many areas were treated.

You should be able to return to work after two to three days.

Your new body shape will usually take several months to appear. The best results for you will happen if you keep to a healthy weight and exercise regularly.


Liposuction is an operation to improve the shape of your body. You should consider the options carefully and have realistic expectations about the results.


Author: Mr Eoin O'Broin MD FRCS (Plast.) and Mr Chris Theopold MA MRCS DM

Illustrations: Medical Illustration Copyright © Nucleus Medical Art. All rights reserved. www.nucleusinc.com


This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

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