Dr Michelle Locke - Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon
Private Service, Plastic Surgery
A small cut (incision) is made, through which a narrow, hollow tube (cannula) is inserted. The tube is moved around to loosen the fat cells, which are then sucked out with a vacuum device. During the procedure you will lose a lot of fluid, so you will be given intravenous (injected straight into the vein) fluid to stop you becoming dehydrated. The procedure usually takes 1-3 hours and is carried out under local anaesthetic (the area being treated is numb but you are awake). You will probably be able to go home the same day but will need someone to drive you. However, if the procedure is more extensive and numerous areas are being treated at the same time, it may require general anaesthesia (you will sleep through it) and you may have to remain overnight in hospital.
The area treated will be swollen and bruised after the surgery and you may need to take pain relief medication for several days. You will be given an elastic dressing or support garment that you may have to wear continuously for 2-3 weeks. You will probably be able to return to work after 1-2 weeks.