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What are liposuction side effects?

Liposuction side effects are limited due to the relatively straightforward nature of the procedure. That said, liposuction side effects and risks do exist and it is important to be aware of them before going ahead with surgery.

Tagged: Recovery & Aftercare

Author: Mr. Bryan Mayou, MB ChB FRCS

Date: 11th December 2020

Medically Reviewed by:  Mr. Bryan Mayou (GMC: 1414396)

Last reviewed: 1st February 2024

Liposuction side effects are fortunately limited due to the relatively straightforward nature of the procedure. However, Liposuction risks and complications do exist and it is important to be aware of them before going ahead with surgery.  

Liposuction side effects and risks include (but are not limited to): 

  • Numbness 
  • Infection 
  • Embolism 
  • Edema 
  • Allergic reaction 

We have over 40 years of experience in Liposuction at the Cadogan Clinic and our consultant surgeons will carefully manage and assess the after effects of Lipo for your procedure. 

Our 24/7 nursing on-call service is available for anyone who experiences Liposuction side effects following surgery.  

What are the more common side effects of liposuction?

Before you decide to have Liposuction at the Cadogan Clinic, it is important that you understand there are common side effects you may experience. 

These include: 

  • Bruising and swelling (which may last up to six months) 
  • Numbness (which should go away in six to eight weeks) 
  • Scars 
  • Inflammation of the treated area, or the veins underneath 
  • Fluid coming from the incisions 
  • Swollen ankles (if the legs or ankles are treated) 

What are the less common side effects of liposuction?

Very occasionally Liposuction can cause: 

  • Lumpy and uneven results 
  • Bleeding under the skin 
  • Persistent numbness that can last for months 
  • Changes in skin colour in the treated area 
  • A build-up of fluid in the lungs 
  • A blood clot in the lungs 
  • Damage to the internal organs 

Any operation also carries a risk of excessive bleeding, developing a blood clot in a vein, infection or an allergic reaction to the anaesthetic. However, the risk of any of these happening during your treatment is small. 

Your consultant will discuss all the risks with you comprehensively at your consultations before you undergo your treatment. They will also assess your personal level of risk for any complications occurring and will ensure you know how to prepare to mitigate this. 

How long is recovery for liposuction?

At the Cadogan Clinic, Liposuction procedures can be carried out under general or local anaesthesia, depending on the area and as a result, puts your body under relatively little stress. It’s always done as a day case procedure and you should be reasonably mobile straight after your surgery. 

After a week you should be recovered enough to drive and return to work. Restricted sexual activity can be resumed after four weeks. 

You can expect a full recovery from surgery in two weeks depending on the extent of your surgery. However certain activities, such as exercise and going to the gym, should be avoided for up to six weeks. 

You will need to wear a compression garment for six to eight weeks after surgery to control swelling, and maintain your surgical result. 

You can read our comprehensive article on Liposuction Recovery


What is the safest liposuction procedure?

All approved surgical Liposuction procedures are safe and have been developed over 40 years of practice since our founder Mr Bryan Mayou introduced the practice in the UK. 

We carefully evaluate all available Liposuction techniques and are able to offer different kinds at the Cadogan Clinic, depending on your specific condition and needs. 

We currently offer Traditional Liposuction, MicroAir, BodyJet and MicroLiposuction techniques. We also offer SmartLipoMPX, which is liposuction done via laser technology. 

What happens to your body after liposuction?

Up to 10 pounds of fat cells can be removed during the procedure. However, you will experience fluid retention and swelling, which can make you look temporarily bloated. This swelling will soon go down and you will be able to see the results. 

Liposuction may leave you with loose skin in the treatment area, but this can firm up over time. You should also expect to see some bruising following the procedure. 

Once the swelling has settled, your targeted region(s) should look more sculpted, more toned, and firmer to the touch. Your surgeon may recommend combining Liposuction with another procedure such as Abdominoplasty, or a Fat Transfer procedure. 

Our consultant surgeons have performed many Liposuction procedures and have a huge collection of Before and After Liposuction photos. 


Words From Our Founder

Mr. Bryan Mayou

Following Liposuction, it's normal for patients to experience side effects such as swelling, numbness, and bruising. While these typically subside within 2 weeks, our commitment to patient care extends beyond the procedure itself. Having introduced Liposuction to the UK 40 years ago, we continue to prioritise improving recovery and aftercare solutions. Our clinic remains dedicated to exploring innovative methods to minimise side effects and enhance the overall experience for individuals undergoing Liposuction, ensuring they achieve the best possible outcomes with minimal discomfort and downtime.
Mr. Bryan Mayou

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