Liposuction (also known as lipoplasty) is a surgical procedure which removes fat from various areas of your body where fat tends to deposit and accumulate, by using a high-pressure suction technique. For instance the procedure may be used to remove fat from your abdomen, tummy, waistline, arms, neck, buttocks, thighs or hips. Liposuction may also help in sculpting and contouring these areas. Contrary to popular belief, liposuction is not generally considered an overall weight-loss technique to treat obesity or an alternative to traditional weight-loss methods. If you believe that you are overweight and you are unable to lose weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise, then you may wish to consider a bariatric procedure, such as a gastric bypass surgery, rather than a liposuction procedure. A liposuction procedure may be appropriate for you if you have excess fat in particular areas but otherwise have maintained a stable body weight.      ​

If you have gained weight, then fat cells would have increased in both size and volume. This procedure aims to reduce the amount of fat cells in a particular area. For instance, areas targeted may include:

  • Abdomen 

  • Tummy 

  • Waistline

  • Arms 

  • Neck

  • Buttocks 

  • Thighs 

  • Hips

  • Check and back 

As well as this, in some instances liposuction may be used for breast reduction purposes. This operation may also be used to treat a few medical conditions, such as:

  • Lipomas – benign fatty tumours

  • Gynaecomastia or pseudogynecomastia – the abnormal growth of the male chest

  • Lipodystrophy syndrome – complications with the metabolism of fat in your body

  • Axillary hyperhidrosis – your armpit area sweats more than normal 

  • Extreme weight loss – liposuction may be used in order to target problem areas after extreme weight loss. 

The results of a liposuction procedure are usually permanent, so long as you are able to maintain a healthy lifestyle and stable body weight.​

You may wish to consider a liposuction surgery if you are unable to lose weight through a healthy diet and exercise. This procedure is not for people seeking an overall body weight loss procedure, but it may be used to target “problem” areas that have not responded to traditional weight-loss efforts. 

If you are considering getting a liposuction surgery, you should consult a surgeon working with the GI and Surgery Service Line​ at The Aga Khan University Hospital and discuss your options extensively and thoroughly. ​

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here​ are some tips to help get you started.

Committing to a liposuction is a big decision, as it is a major surgery that can be expensive and may be a lengthy process. It is therefore very important to discuss your options in great length with your surgeon at the GI and Surgery Service Line​ at The Aga Khan University Hospital and ask any questions that you may have so that you have a complete understanding of the risks as well as the benefits of this procedure. 

During your initial consultation, you surgeon will start by reviewing your medical history. They may ask you about your past or current medical condition, whether you are taking certain medications, if you are allergic to any medications and if you may have undergone any other surgeries recently. Your surgeon will ask you questions about your dietary and exercising habits and about your general weight loss and gain. Your surgeon will also discuss your expectations and desired outcome of the procedure.

After reviewing your history, you will probably undergo a physical exam. During the physical exam, your doctor will examine your abdomen and may take pictures in order to maintain a medical record and for a reference of what you looked like before the operation. 

Your surgeon will then be able to determine whether you are a suitable candidate for this surgery or not. To be a good candidate for this surgery, you should be generally healthy and not be diagnosed with conditions that could jeopardize the surgery, such as coronary artery disease or diabetes.  

You may be considered a suitable candidate if you fall under one of the following categories:

  • You are considered of normal-weight or only slight overweight

  • If you have firm and skin with normal elasticity. Although age is not a major consideration, people who are older may have diminished skin elasticity and therefore will possibly not have the same results as those with tighter skin.  

  • Particular areas of your body have pockets of extra fat

  • You are physically healthy, and are psychologically fit for a major surgery and recovery 

  • You are completely aware of the risks and have realistic expectations about the final outcome of the surgery​

The liposuction procedure targets problem areas and removes fat from them by using a high-pressure suction technique. During the procedure your surgeon will make tiny incisions and will insert small cannulas, which are thin, blunt-tipped tubes. The surgeon will manoeuvre the tubes under your skin in order to target particular areas with excess fat deposits, and suction out the fat. This will reduce the number of fat cell in that area. The amount of fat that will be removed is dependent on the volume of fat in targeted area and on how it looks.  After the fat has been removed, the resultant shaping and contouring are permanent, so long as you are able to maintain a steady weight. Most liposuction surgeries take between one to three hours. 

Recent developments have made the liposuction process easier, safer and less painful. The advancements include:

  • Tumescent liposuction – During the procedure, a local anaesthetic is applied to the fatty area that will be operated on and tubes will be inserted. After this, your surgeon will inject a large quantity of an anaesthetic solution into the fatty tissue before the operation in order to numb the area and shrink the capillaries to avoid blood loss and bruising. Then a small incision will be made on your skin and a tube which is attached to a vacuum will be inserted into the fatty pocket. This fat will then be suctioned out. After the fat has been suctioned out, your surgeon will use small drainage tubes in order to drain any excess fluid and blood. 

  • Ultrasound-assisted liposuction – This liposuction method uses a tube that produces an ultrasound which targets areas of fat which breaks down and liquefies it. This fat will then be suctioned out. This method may be particularly effective in eliminating fat from your upper abdomen, sides and back.  

  • Laser-assisted liposuction – This method utilizes low-energy waves in order to dissolve fat, which is then removed through a small cannula (tube). This method results in less bruising and requires less time for healing.

Liposuction is usually conducted as an outpatient procedure. Unless the surgery is used to remove very large quantities of fat, it typically does not require staying overnight following the procedure.  In some cases, you may receive a local anaesthetic. You may also be given a sedative in order to help you relax. In cases where a large amount of fat is being operated on, you may be administered general anaesthesia or a deep sedative as well as a local anaesthesia, in order to put you to sleep for the duration of the operation.   

Following the surgery, your skin will set into the new contours of the operated areas. Skin with good elasticity will appear smooth and toned. Skin with less elasticity may appear slightly looser. Liposuction is not intended to treat cellulite dimpling, stretch marks or improve the appearance of other skin surface irregularities. ​

Please click here​ for some guidelines on “what to do before your surgery”.
Please click here​ for some guidelines on “what to do on the day of your surgery”.

All surgical procedures carry a certain degree risks and possible complications. With major surgeries, there is the risk of rare complications causing bleeding, blood clots, infection and a negative response to anaesthesia. Liposuction is generally considered a low-risk and safe procedure, however some possible complications are:

  • Lumpy and irregular skin – there is the possibility that your skin may appear baggy, bumpy and irregular. This may be due to uneven fat removal, improper healing or reduced skin elasticity.   

  • Spotty skin appearance – in some cases the thin cannula may cause some damage beneath your skin during the procedure, causing that area to have a permanent spotted look. 

  • Haematoma – this describes bleeding under your skin 

  • Numbness – you may experience some temporary or permanent numbness or nerve irritation in the areas that have been operated on for a few months

  • Irritation or minor scarring – the incision site can lead to slight scarring and may become irritated.

  • Infection – in rare conditions, you may develop a skin infection. This can be quite critical if it develops to a severe stage.

  • Changes in colour of your skin – your skin may appear slightly discoloured if the targeted area has been treated using ultrasound. 

  • Loss of normal feeling – you may also experience some loss of feeling in the treated area if it has been treated using ultrasound.

  • Pulmonary oedema –  the injection of fluid into your body for the surgery may cause the accumulation of fluid in your lungs

  • Thrombosis – the flow of blood in your blood vessels may be obstructed or stopped due to blood clots that may form

  • Damage to the internal organs – although rare, there may be damage to your internal organs due to a puncture caused by a cannula during surgery. This may necessitate an emergency repair surgery. 

  • Pulmonary embolism – if a blood clot forms and causes a blockage in your lungs, it could be potentially fatal  

  • Kidney and heart problems – It is possible that the injection of fluid during surgery my alter your fluid levels, which may cause kidney and heart problems that could potentially compromise your recovery​​

Please click here​ for some guidelines on “what to do after your surgery”

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.​

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

​The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.