‘What’s Up Doc’ is a health column in association with The Crawley Observer, which gives you the opportunity to ask questions regarding general health and wellbeing.
Answers are provided weekly from our specialist consultants at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital, Surrey. If it’s a long-standing illness or simply a worry which you would like to get off your mind then we would like to help.
This question appeared in The Crawley Observer on Wednesday, to readers across Surrey and Sussex. The question and answer is below, as it appeared in the newspaper. If you have a question you'd like featured please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the response by Mr Balj Dheansa, consultant plastic surgery:
Mr Dheansa's consultant profile
Hello I have struggled for years with a flabby tummy despite weight loss and exercise. I am now considering liposuction and would like to know a little more about the procedure. Please can you advise me? Kind regards, Nancy, Horsham
Mr Dheansa's response:
Liposuction is a very useful procedure for improving the shape or contour of areas that do not change with weight loss or exercise. However, to get the best possible results the overlying skin should be of good quality and you should be at a stable weight. If there is loose skin then liposuction may make things worse. Liposuction is most effective when people are at a stable weight and some areas are more effectively treated than others. If you have loose skin or stretch marks then liposuction may not be the best approach as there is a higher risk of ending up with more loose skin.
Although there are several ways of performing liposuction the most effective method is still the traditional suction technique. Depending on the areas to be treated it can be performed as a day case and is most often performed under a general anaesthetic. You will be required to wear a compression garment after surgery to help reduce the swelling and stretching of the skin. These garments are also useful to help prevent loose skin developing after liposuction and are worn for a month. Patients notice the difference straight after surgery but it may take a little time for everything to fully settle.
After surgery you should avoid driving for approximately 1-2 weeks, dependant on the areas that have been treated. Equally, you should avoid strenuous activity/sport/fitness for a similar period of time. You should expect to feel bruised, sore and swollen for the first week after surgery and this will gradually improve. The treated area will go through many changes before arriving at the final result. This is a gradual process and will take 3-6 months.
If there is too much loose tissue to consider liposuction then an alternative approach would be to consider a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) as this can remove excess tissue and also tighten up the muscles which often stretch after childbirth. This gives a flatter, tighter appearance and can make a really big difference. This is a bigger operation which results in a scar low down on your tummy. It takes longer to recover compared to liposuction and usually requires longer in hospital.
It is essential to be properly assessed by an experienced plastic surgeon to help decide which would be the best approach for you so that you can get the best possible result.