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Liposuction is a cosmetic procedure that is used to remove unwanted body fat. It does this by targeting small, stubborn areas of fat, that are otherwise hard to lose through diet and exercise.  

The aim of a liposuction procedure is to improve the shape of the body, by sucking out fat, that is usually found on the hips, buttocks, thighs and belly.   

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How does liposuction work? 

Liposuctions tends to be carried out under general anaesthetic, although, when this procedure is carried out on lower parts of the body, an epidural anaesthetic may be used.  

To begin with, the surgeon will mark on your body the area where fat is to be removed. Then they will inject this area with anaesthetic and medicine to reduce blood loss, bruising and swelling.  

Using high-frequency vibrations from either a weak laser pulse or a high-pressure water jet, the surgeon will break up the fat cells. An incision will be made and a suction tube attached to a vacuum machine, will be inserted. Next, the suction tube will be moved back and forth to loosen the fat, before sucking it out. Any excess fluid and blood will be drained, while the treated area will finally be stitched up and bandaged.  

Does liposuction make you lose weight? 

Although, liposuction can help you lose weight, it is not typically considered to be an overall weight-loss method. If you are overweight, you have a better chance losing weight through diet and exercise, or even bariatric procedures, such as gastric bypass surgery, than you would with liposuction. 

Liposuction is more suitable for people who have excess body fat in a specific spot, but otherwise have a relatively stable bodyweight.   

How painful is liposuction recovery? 

After a liposuction procedure, you will be fitted with an elasticated support corset or compression bandages. This should be worn constantly for several weeks after the operation, as it will help to reduce swelling and bruising. There may also be the need to take antibiotics straight after the procedure to reduce the risk of infection, while most people also take mild painkillers to ease any pain and swelling. 

Determining how long it will be before you will be able to return to work will depend on several factors, including the type of job that you do and how much of your body was treated. 

Unless you had dissolvable stitches, after the first week, your stitches will be removed. To further aid recovery, for the first four to six weeks, you should avoid strenuous physical activity. Although, you are still okay to walk and go about your everyday life.  

It can take up to six months to fully recognise the results of the procedure, as it can take this amount of time for the swelling to go down completely.   

How much does liposuction cost? 

In the UK, liposuction can cost anywhere from £2,000 to £6,000. The price of your procedure will depend on which part of the body you are having treated, as well as the location of the clinic.