Liposuction: what are the realistic expectations?

Written by: Mr Navid Jallali
Edited by: Cal Murphy

Liposuction is a popular procedure to remove fat, with patients often choosing it for aesthetic motives. However, there are some misconceptions about liposuction and managing expectations is important before any surgery. We asked expert plastic surgeon Mr Navid Jallali the questions that anyone considering liposuction needs the answers to.

Why opt to have liposuction?

Liposuction is a surgical procedure in order to remove areas of stubborn fat. It must be appreciated that liposuction is not a method of weight loss, but is very useful for patients who have a stubborn area of fat and find that they cannot shift it with exercise and weight loss.


How much fat can be removed and why?

There is generally a maximum amount that can be removed in any one procedure. This is usually around 5-6 litres of fat. Beyond this point, there are fluid shifts and blood losses that make it unsafe for patients to have any further fat removed. Therefore, we generally tend to advise patients that no more than six litres of fat should be removed in any one go.


Are there any requirements for an ideal patient?

As explained earlier, liposuction is not a method of losing weight. It generally works better in patients who are non-smokers and have good skin quality and want to remove an area of stubborn fat, rather than wanting to lose weight.


What are the realistic expectations a patient can have if they choose liposuction?

Liposuction is very good at removing areas of stubborn fat, but the amount of skin retraction, is a variable. Some patients have good elastin quality, which means that the skin will retract very easily, whilst others find that they may be left with some areas of loose skin. In general, most patients achieve a very good result, and it is really in extremes of age or patients who are smokers that there might be problems in terms of skin laxity.


What happens if I gain weight after liposuction and where does it go?

Liposuction does not remove all the fat cells in an area. Therefore, there is the possibility that if there were severe weight gain, then the areas that had had liposuction would also deposit fat. In general we tend to advise patients to keep their weight steady after liposuction in order for the fat not to return.


What can I expect if I get pregnant after liposuction?

There is no contra-indication to falling pregnant after liposuction. In general, the outcome will really depend on the area that has had liposuction. If a patient was to have liposuction on the abdomen, there would be significant changes post-pregnancy, but other areas may not be affected so dramatically.


Visit Mr Jallali’s Top Doctors profile to book an appointment.

By Mr Navid Jallali
Plastic surgery

Mr Navid Jallali is a highly respected plastic surgeon who has been practising for over 20 years, specialising in breast augmentation and reduction, facelifts, rhinoplasty and tummy tucks. He is based in London, attending to patients at The London Welbeck Hospital. He is a consultant cosmetic and reconstructive surgeon and former head of plastic surgery for Imperial College London NHS trust.

He graduated, with honors, from the University of Bristol and was awarded an MD for his groundbreaking research on tissue engineering. He has received Imperial College London's prestigious Suple prize for both Surgery and medicine.  

Mr Javali is one ok the UK's most experienced microsurgery specialists, favouring this method for the reconstruction of the head, neck and breasts. He is also a reputable surgical tutor and has trained numerous surgeons who have gone on to become consultants in the UK, Sweden, Greece and Holland.

Dedicated to his profession, he and his team have served hundreds of patients with the utmost of care. He is also a well-published research author, a member of the Royal Society of Medicine, has won numerous awards, and has even appeared on and advised for television productions. He can be found in both his private clinic and NHS practice.

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