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Liposuction: what you need to know

The first thing you need to know about liposuction is that it isn’t a cure for obesity; instead it removes stubborn fat deposits from healthy people who are close to their goal weight. Problem areas targeted by liposuction include the chin, stomach, thighs and chest and even ankles, knees and arms. Men favour liposuction on their sides (love handles) while women favour procedures that target the tummy, buttocks and thighs.

In the UK, liposuction surgery costs roughly between £1,550 and £5,000, depending on the type of procedure, surgeon and clinic. Procedures include: • Tumescent liposuction: fluid is injected into the target area to separate muscle and fat and make it easier for the cannula (suction tube) to remove fat.

• Laser liposuction: uses thermal energy to induce lipolysis (transformation of fat into fatty acids and glycerol).

• Ultrasound liposuction: uses a specialised cannula to transmit ultrasound vibrations which burst fat cells and make it easier to suck out fat. Vaser Lipo is favoured over previous ultrasound liposuction methods as it minimises tissue damage.

Liposuction procedures last between 30 minutes and several hours, bruising and swelling last for 2-4 weeks; recovery time varies. Most patients return to work after a few days, although some doctors recommend at least 10 days off.

You may start to see results within a few days, but it will take at least three months for the full effects to become visible. The last thing you need to know about liposuction is closely related to the first: it isn’t a cure for yo-yo dieting and chronic weight gain, expectations need to be realistic.