Liposculpture is one of the most commonly performed plastic surgeries and is used to reshape the body by permanently by removing localized fat deposits. It is frequently performed on the hips, thighs, buttocks and abdomen, but can also be used to eliminate fatty deposits in other parts of the body. The goal is to create natural rounded curves while making the body slimmer and more athletic looking. This procedure is not a cure for obesity, or a substitute for dieting and exercise, however, it is very useful for removing bulges and fatty deposits that are hard to loose conventionally.

A tendency to accumulate fatty deposits in certain areas may be inherited, and these deposits are often resistant to diet and exercise. Often the overall proportions of the body may be unbalanced, and bulges in certain areas may prevent clothes from fitting well. In these cases, liposuction can successfully trim excess fat to bring better balance and symmetry to the body. Also, many patients become discouraged when their dieting and exercise regime fails to remove fat deposits in problem areas and liposculture can help to further motivate weight loss.

The procedure

The operation is usually performed under general anaesthetic and takes one and a half to three hours, depending on the extent of the procedure. Before surgery, the surgeon will mark the areas of the body where the fat is to be removed.

Large amounts of saline (salt water solution), mixed with drugs that help minimise bleeding, and local anaesthetic are injected into the areas that are to be operated on. Small incisions are made around the area to be treated and a cannula (a thin tube) is inserted through these holes. The fat cells are loosened and are then removed by suction, and this process is repeated until an adequate amount of fat is removed in all the desired areas. Careful attention is paid to ensure that the fat removal is even, and that the final result is smooth and aesthetically pleasing. Elastic stocking and garments are then fitted at the end of the procedure to ensure correct healing.

After your operation

If a lot of fat was removed then your fluid balance (urine output and intravenous fluids) will need to be monitored in hospital, however, you will probably be able to return home on the same day as your surgery if the procedure was more minor and less than two litres of fat was removed.

Immediately after the surgery, the treated areas can appear swollen and bruised but this usually subsides within 7-10. It is important that the compression garments are worn for three to four weeks following surgery so that the body heals in the correct shape. Strenuous activities should be avoided for several weeks as your body heals, and it is usually a good idea to take two weeks off work, however within 6 weeks you should be able to resume all normal activities.

The long term outcome

You should see the visible results of your surgery within two or three weeks, but the final results may not be evident for about four to six months. The speed of recovery will depend on how much fat has been removed, as your skin has to contract and change to fit your new body shape.

The fat cells are permanently removed by liposuction, so you will not regain weight in that area. However, it is still possible to gain weight in surrounding areas or in some of the remaining fat cells, thus it is important to exercise and watch your diet to maintain your new shape.

Risks and limitations

All surgery carries some risks, which include the possibility of post-operative infection, bleeding, excessive scarring and reaction to the anaesthetic. There are other risks that are more specific to this procedure, and it is important that you talk to your surgeon about the possible complications prior to surgery. Pre-existing medical conditions can alter the level of risk associated with any procedure, and it is important that you notify your surgeon and anaesthetist of any medical problems prior to surgery. It is also important to follow your surgeon's instructions both before, and after, surgery to ensure that these risks are minimised


The components that determine the cost of the procedure are the surgical theatre costs, hospital costs, anaesthetic fee and the surgeon's fee. Prices vary widely and depend on; the extent/complexity of the procedure, the physical attributes of individual patients, and the surgeon performing the operation. The cost for liposculture depends largely on the amount of fat removed and the extent of the operation, and for treatment of the hips, thighs and abdomen the cost is typically around $10000.

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