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Does the skin become loose and flabby after liposuction?

Liposuction is a cosmetic surgical procedure to remove unwanted body fat, and involves sucking out small areas of fat that are hard to lose through exercise and a healthy diet alone.

Liposuction, or 'lipo', was brought to the UK 30 years ago by our founder, world-renowned plastic surgeon Mr Bryan Mayou. The Cadogan Clinic has a world-class team of surgeons and we treat more liposuction patients than any other clinic in London.

One of the common questions we are asked is whether the skin becomes loose and flabby after liposuction. This is highly unlikely to happen, but skin laxity plays a vital role. Here we will look at this in more detail.

Will my skin sag after liposuction?

Skin is unlikely to sag after liposuction unless large amounts of fat are removed and the skin is loose, such as the abdominal apron. In this instance, a combination of liposuction and skin excision may be the better option for the patient. This is similar to when a person loses a significant amount of weight, leaving a large amount of loose hanging skin.

Does skin tighten after liposuction? 

All techniques of liposuction tighten the skin, but it is not a solution for already sagging skin. The tightening will be more significant where the skin is thin, such as in the neck and arms. Elsewhere, where the skin is heavier, it will generally be sufficient to take up just the extra laxity due to the removal of fat.           

In areas where the skin is already hanging in folds, such as the hanging bottom or abdominal apron, these folds tend to remain, as liposuction cannot repair already significantly loose skin. However, where there are folds of heavy fat over the lower back, liposuction can make a very significant improvement. If a person’s skin has good elasticity at the time of the liposuction procedure, they will see immediate tightening results once the fat is removed.

How much skin retraction can I expect after liposuction?

The amount of skin retraction can vary from person to person. Following liposuction, any loose and sagging skin will continue to retract during the recovery time, meaning it could potentially take months for the body to show the final result of the procedure. However, if there is not sufficient skin elasticity, then the skin may not 'bounce back’ as effectively. A loss of skin elasticity is just another part of the ageing process. Other pre-existing skin issues, such as atrophy and stretch marks, can also affect skin retraction.

In order to help the body to recover after liposuction, it is vital a patient follows the aftercare instructions issued by our team of specialists here at the Cadogan Clinic. Compression garments or bras must be worn for six to eight weeks following surgery. Wearing a liposuction garment compresses a patient’s new figure and helps the body heal itself. This speeds up recovery while the skin adheres to tissues and avoids fluid retention. Wearing a garment reduces the risk of the skin becoming wrinkled and lax.

Patients should consider taking a week off work after liposuction, although we would recommend a longer break if the patient has a particularly physically strenuous job. Driving should be avoided for one week. A full recovery from surgery should be expected in two weeks.

However, there are a number of activities which should be avoided in order to help the recovery process. Patients should avoid sexual activity for two weeks post-surgery when restricted activity can resume. Our surgeon will be able to give you more guidance on this. We also recommend avoiding UV light for two to four weeks to aid the scarring process. This includes sunbed use.

Exercise, including the gym, can be resumed by four to six weeks following liposuction.

We recommend that patients sleep on their backs for two weeks post-surgery. 

Every patient who undergoes liposuction at the Cadogan Clinic will get comprehensive post-operative aftercare courtesy of our specialist cosmetic nurses included in the price of the treatment. Once home you will have access to our dedicated on-call nursing team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This team of specialists are dedicated to your comfort and pain control and are there to field any questions you may have in the immediate post-operative phase.

How do you fix sagging skin after liposuction?

Where large amounts of fat are removed and the skin is loose, such as the abdominal apron, or where there has been significant weight loss, a combination of liposuction and skin excision may be the better option. This could take the form of a tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty. For the right patient and with the correct planning, a tummy tuck and liposuction can be carried out simultaneously.

Alternatively, a body lift could be carried out, a procedure which involves other parts of the body such as the buttocks and thighs. Please note that we do not carry out Brazilian Butt Lifts at the Cadogan Clinic.

If you already have loose, saggy skin and are considering liposuction, it is worth noting that lipo is designed specifically to target fatty tissue, and will not significantly improve the appearance of loose skin. In this case, other body contouring procedures, such as a tummy tuck or body lift, may be better options for you. 

Other non-surgical options can be used to tighten the skin and improve quality.

Please get in touch to book an appointment with one of our specialists. At the consultation, you will be able to discuss with your surgeon what your hope to achieve from the procedure, as well as discuss in detail what may or may not be possible given your existing shape and skin and fat levels.

During your initial consultation at the Cadogan Clinic, your surgeon will go over all treatment options available to you for achieving your desired results. Whether it be non-surgical or liposuction, with or without skin excision, will be determined with your surgeon.

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