Liposuction is a technique used to remove fat through small incisions in the skin. It can be a good surgical treatment option when fat proves difficult to remove by sensible dieting and exercise. Liposuction is mostly performed under general anaesthetic (though very small areas can be performed under local anaesthetic) and the length of the operation is determined by the extent of the liposuction required. This is usually performed as a day case procedure or with 1 night stay. First, an injection of saline, adrenaline and local anaesthetic is given in the area to be treated. The fat to be removed is accessed through tiny incisions (cuts) positioned near the area to be treated. A hollow tube is placed through these cuts into the fat underneath the skin. The tube is then connected to a special suction pump which removes the fat. The small incisions are closed with a dissolving stitch and covered with steristrip tapes.
Liposuction should not be considered a treatment to lose large amounts of weight nor is it effective for cellulite, but rather is best suited to treating distinct regions of fat excess. Common sites amenable to liposuction include the abdomen, the flank region, the buttocks, thighs, hips and arms. Smaller sites of fatty excess can also be treated effectively using this technique, such as the front of the neck below the chin, where excess fat can contribute to the appearance of a double chin. It can be used in isolation or as a adjunct to other cosmetic procedures such as abdominoplasty (“tummy tuck”) or brachioplasty (arm reduction) or thigh reduction surgery.