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Liposuction may be an option for you if you have stubborn areas of fat that you cannot shift with weight loss or exercise.

Liposuction or liposculpture is a technique that removes fatty deposits in order to recontour one or more areas of the body. It can be handy for stubborn areas of fat which have not responded to weight loss or exercise. We have been using liposuction in Edinburgh for over 25 years and commonly use it to treat areas such as the thighs, hips, buttocks, abdomen, back, knees, legs, ankles and the neck (see facial liposculpture).


Liposuction overview



Local or General


1-2 Hours




1-2 weeks off work, 6 weeks before strenuous exercise

The procedure

A narrow tube (cannula) is inserted through tiny incisions and is used to vacuum the fat that lies in a layer between the skin and the muscles. The cannula is carefully passed (multiple times) through the fat layer, breaking up the fat cells and suctioning them using a  machine. Liposuction can be used on very localised areas (such as the hips/ outer thighs), or it can be used to suction broad areas of fat (such as the abdomen/ back). Depending on the extent of the procedure and patient wishes, it can be performed under local or general anaesthesia.

post-surgical tummy garment


The success of liposuction relies on several factors:

The technique is user dependent

A skilled surgeon is required to delicately ‘sculpt’ the areas being treated. When performed incorrectly, liposuction can leave the treated areas feeling lumpy and looking uneven.

Certain parts of the body respond to liposuction better than others

For example, the hips/ outer thighs respond much better than the inner thighs.

Another significant factor is the quality of your skin

Dramatic improvements can be achieved when the skin is of good quality (skin elasticity) and has not been overly stretched in the past. Skin quality often determines whether liposuction alone will suffice or whether a combined surgical procedure will be needed. For example, when the skin is of poor quality, and there is excessive skin, then abdominal liposuction often needs to be combined with a ‘tummy tuck’ procedure.

Your expectations are also crucial to the success or not of liposuction

Many patients are happy to accept some loose skin following liposuction if they have been warned about it and are keen to avoid a more involved surgical procedure.

What to expect

You will be counselled as to your suitability for liposuction and whether the procedure is worthwhile.

Liposuction is NOT a treatment for losing weight. The aim is to recontour certain parts of your body.

The visible differences in some patients may not be dramatic but will be more noticeable with clothing.

After 2-3 months, you should start to see and feel a difference in the area treated. The outcome may not be apparent for at least 6 months.


View before and after gallery
What to expect

What are the risks?

The risks specific to liposuction include:


Bruising is to be expected and can take 2-3 weeks to resolve fully


A variable degree of swelling is typical and can persist for several weeks.


Requiring intervention is very uncommon following liposuction.


Because the wounds in liposuction are tiny, infection is uncommon.


The scars following liposuction are small (around 5mm) and can be red and thickened. They usually settle well by 12-18 months. Initially, friction burns around the wounds can occur from the cannula rubbing against the skin. These usually heal without problems.

Irregularities and contour problems in your skin

Minor lumps and irregularities are common following liposuction. If the liposuction is performed too aggressively in one area, a contour depression (dip) can be caused.


You may have patches of numbness in your skin, and these invariably recover over time.

Developing a fluid collection (seroma)

Around 1 in 30 patients may form an accumulation of fluid under the skin. This is not serious and occasionally needs to be drained with a needle in the clinic.

Damage to underlying structures

There have been documented cases of injury to underlying structures such as the bowel or liver. Such cases are exceedingly rare, and there may be an increased risk if you have deep scars in the area being treated.


Not removing enough fatty tissues leaving you with a minimal change.

Unsatisfactory cosmetic outcome

This can occur as a result of any of the above problems or if your expectations have not been managed.

Liposuction aftercare

Read more about liposuction aftercare.

Explore Liposuction aftercare
quaba aftercare activities

Tummy tuck and Lipo

I had wanted tummy tuck for a time, after 2 pregnancies, had left a large volume of excess skin.
Mr Omar Quaba was excellent from my initial consultation, he was approachable and I felt reassured, all the way to aftercare. I am delighted with the results. I would definitely recommend this surgeon.


Realself Feb 2019