Mr. R. James Colville Consultant Plastic Surgeon

BSc, MSc, FRCS, FRCS (Plast)

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Telephone: 07772 841078



Liposuction is a surgical procedure used to remove or reduce localised fatty deposits, which will not respond to diet or exercise. Contrary to popular belief, liposuction is not a treatment for obesity, or a method for losing weight.

Liposuction is one of the most successful plastic surgery procedures, the incisions are tiny and well hidden, the recovery is relatively quick, the complication rate low and the results are mostly predictable and satisfactory. .


Liposuction is best suited for healthy individuals who are around their ideal weight for height (BMI less than 30), and who have good quality, elastic skin. Although liposuction can tighten skin to a degree, it will not correct gross skin excesses. Patients with skin excess usually require skin excision as well as liposuction (dermolipectomy), as part of an armlift or a tummy tuck. 

In women, the most common areas treated with liposuction include the thighs, hips, buttocks and tummy, with the ‘saddlebag area’, ‘love handles’ and tummy all responding well. Other areas include breasts and arms. Although the inner thighs do not respond as well to liposuction, some improvement can still be achieved here.

In men, the most common areas are the chest, tummy and ‘love handles’. No specific diet or exercise programme is required prior to surgery although the closer you are to your ideal weight, the more satisfactory the outcome is likely to be.

The initial consultation

I will ask you to explain what problems you are experiencing and what you wish to change about your appearance. it is important to have realistic expectations.

I will also take a full medical history including any previous surgery, regular medication and allergies and whether you smoke. i will you ask you why you want the procedure and your goals and aspirations.

The examination will concentrate on your proposed areas of treatment, but will also assess your general fitness and suitability for surgery. Routine photographs will be taken.
 I will discuss the available options and advise you about what is likely to work best for you and risks and possible complications will be discussed. It is usually done as a day case under a general anaesthesia. You should buy a pressure garment that will cover the surgical area(s) and this may be bought from a sports shop or from macom online

The Surgery 

Under an anaesthetic, i make the incisions and put sterile fluid into fat, which contains adrenaline to reduce the blood loss and local anaesthetic to reduce the pain. It lasts for about 10-12 hours after surgery. I will then liposuck until i have removed enough fat to create a good contour, but when there is a lot of blood in the aspirated fat, I stop sucking in that area and go to the next area. I put dissolvable stitches in the wounds, a dressing on top and finally the compression garment is applied.


If performed by a fully qualified and accredited Plastic Surgeon in a proper operating theatre under sterile conditions on a relatively fit and healthy patient, liposuction is a safe procedure.

Nevertheless, surgery carries risks which are listed below.

Pain immediately after surgery is common and this may continue for 2 weeks . It is often more uncomfortable if there is extensive bruising. 

Bleeding after the surgery can occur and bruising is almost inevitable.

Seroma is a build up of clear fluid coming from the underlying muscle and can occur after large volumes of fat have been removed.

Wound breakdown is very unlikely becuse the wounds are about 0.5cm long

Wounds may be slow to heal and part of the skin can die if very agressive liposuction has been done. It may need dressings or in extreme cases may need skin grafting. 

Infection is rare and usually occurs 7-10 days after surgery.

Sensation in the skin is likely to be reduced or numb and this is likely to be temporary but seldomly is permanent

Scars may become thickened or widened but are usually well hidden. 

Shape and symmetry This cannot be guarenteed but the liposuction volume is recorded on each side (for instance) in arm reduction to try to achieve as much symmetry as possible. 

Contour defect this may occur if too much fat is removed especially if close to the skin. it is very diffcult to correct and may need fat transfer at a second surgery. 

Swelling- this will be case after surgery, because of the fluid injected but most of the excess fluid will leak through the incisions over the next few days making the dressings damp. Rarely, the swelling can be permanent. 

Preparation for surgery. 

Your BMI should be less than 30 and you should mentally and physically fit. You should stop smoking 6 weeks before surgery and can start again when the wounds have healed at 2-4 weeks. Please do not take aspirin, naproxen for 10 days before surgery. You should have a shower the night before or the day of surgery. I will have emailed you a consent form, which you should print, read and sign and date the bottom of each page and bring the full document with you on the day of surgery, so that we can sign the last page together.

What to bring with you

Toiletries , and regular medications and dont forget the pressure garment. You should have bought 2, so that one can be washed.  These can either be bought from a sports shop or from MACOM online, but ensure they will be the right size before ordering,

The Surgery 

In the ward, i will check with you again which areas you would like to have liposuction. I will mark these and also discuss the incisions that i will need. Each cut is about 0.5cm long and i try to hide these in the groin or under the breast but this is not always possible. I may need to make other incisions on table but i will discuss this with you. The wounds are closed with dissolvable stitches and i put a water proof dressing over it. The compression garment is then applied. 


You should be almost pain-free immediately after the operation because of the local anaesthetic in the fluid, but you will be given painkillers to control any pain over the next few days if required. Bruising subsides quickly from day two or three and usually resolves by 14 days after your operation.

A wound check will be arranged at one week with the nurses and i will see you the following week and i will remove the stitches . The wounds take about seven days to heal. 

Depending on the amount of liposuction you have had and your job, you should be able to return to work 1-2 weeks after surgery. 

The compression garment is applied at the end of the operation and it is advisable to wear it  continuously for six weeks.

You should not fly for 6 weeks after surgery.

The Results

It will take 6-12 months to see the final results and these may last for 10 years. This longevity however can not be guarenteed and is dependent on skin quality, change of weight, pregnancy and smoking.

If you are worried post operatively 

Please call the hospital ward you were on or Jan Richards 07722841078 9am-2pm Monday-Friday.

In an emergency, you may need to seek advice or attend your local hospital Accident and Emergency department.


These can be made directly through the hospitals, via my PA Jan Richards or completing the form in the 'Contact' link above.