If you have decided to go for liposuction treatment to remove excess bulges that simply won’t respond to diet and exercise – or even if you are just considering the procedure – you are in good company because liposuction is now the most popular cosmetic procedure in the world.

You will probably be excited about the possibility of discovering a new and more contoured you, but also wondering exactly what liposuction involves. The reality is that in recent year’s advances in the medical equipment and techniques used to perform liposuction mean that nowadays it is a far less daunting procedure, and both recovery times and discomfort associated with the surgery have been greatly reduced.

When deciding to undergo liposuction, you need to make sure you are in tip-top health. Candidates for liposuction who are smokers, very overweight or have existing medical conditions may not be suitable for the procedure. This is something you can discuss with your surgeon before you proceed.

There are now a huge variety of different ways to perform liposuction including the popular tumescent, Smart (laser) lipo and Vaser lipo methods. You should discuss the method which is best suited to you with your consultant. The type of lipo you settle on will determine whether you are treated as an outpatient in a surgery or as an inpatient in a hospital, requiring an overnight stay.

The type of liposuction you opt for will again dictate the type of anaesthetic you receive – either local (in which case you will be awake during the surgery) or general (in which case you will be asleep whilst it is performed.) A third type of anaesthetic, conscious sedation is gaining popularity for less invasive procedures such as liposuction. It combines the advantageous of comfort and relaxation

during the procedure with a fast recovery, less nausea and no need to stay in hospital. Once again your consultant can advise on the details which will be specific to your personal circumstances.

Once you have checked in and are under anaesthetic the process can begin. First of all small incisions are made in the skin so that a cannula (a surgical stainless steel rod) can be pushed into pockets of fat between the skin and muscle. Excess fat will then be literally sucked out using a pump or syringe. Techniques to remove the fat will vary depending on the type of surgery you opt for but tumescent liposuction involves injecting a saline and drug based solution into the fat to make it easier to remove, reduce blood loss and give pain relief; whilst during Smart Lipo and Vaser lipo the fat is literally melted before being sucked away.

It is recommended that you bring a family member or friend when you undergo liposuction and that they stay with you for 24 hours following the operation. You will be glad of the company and support as you will need to get plenty of rest after the procedure has been completed. You will also need to make sure that you take any medication that has been prescribed for you. Just as important is making

sure you don’t take anything that is going to compromise your recovery times. There are a range of medications that need to be avoided following surgery (such as aspirin or anti-inflammatories which can cause bleeding and swelling) and you will need to check with your doctor about these.

As a general rule, if you have undergone liposuction you should (depending on the nature of your job) expect to be back at work within a couple of days. Exercise and other vigorous activities are, however, off limits for around three weeks whilst you recover fully, so no running or going to the gym or heavy lifting for a while.

You will need to return to your clinic to have a check-up a week after the procedure as well as to discuss how well you are healing. If you follow their advice recovery times should be minimal and you could be enjoying your new, slimmer self within a matter of weeks from the original surgery.