Liposuction, also known as lipoplasty, is a body contouring procedure that can remove local deposits of fat cells from nearly any area of the body. It is an option for patients who have achieved a healthy body weight but still have lingering areas of fat that refuse to respond to diet and exercise.


  • Focalised pockets of fat that cannot be reduced with diet and exercise alone

  • Excessive bulk in areas like the abdomen, breasts and buttocks

Liposuction is typically recommended for patients that have already achieved a healthy, stable weight, as this is not a weight loss procedure. Good skin elasticity is also a must because while liposuction removes excess fat cells, it is not useful in tightening skin in the treatment area.


Liposuction can be used to sculpt nearly any area of the body. The most popular treatment areas include:

  • Midsection
  • Hips and flanks
  • Inner and outer thighs
  • Calves and ankles
  • Neck and underneath the chin
  • Breasts (including men, as a treatment for gynaecomastia)
  • Upper and lower back
  • Upper arms

Dr Thomas will assess your circumstances to determine whether liposuction is the best option for you.

Options in Liposuction

Dr Thomas offers the following liposuction techniques, which allow him to tailor his procedures to each of his patients:

Tumescent Liposuction

This method of liposuction involves initial injections of a sterile saline solution mixed with a local anaesthetic directly into the deposit of fat. The liquid loosens the fat cells, making them easier to suction away using a narrow tube known as a cannula. It also reduces bleeding, bruising and discomfort for a more comfortable procedure. Dr Thomas moves the cannula back and forth to loosen the cells further and remove an even amount from the treatment area.

Power-Assisted Liposuction

Power-assisted liposuction uses a motorised cannula that emits vibrations inside the fat deposit to loosen cells without traumatising skin and tissue nearby. The process is preferable for removing a more significant amount of fat, as the cells can be removed without disturbing surrounding areas. It is also a good choice for denser areas of fat, as the vibration tends to break up the tissue more readily for a better result overall.


This technique uses state-of-the-art technology to go beyond simply removing the unwanted fat cells. In addition, this procedure provides additional sculpting benefits. This technique might be preferred for the arms or chin, where the extra sculpting offers better results in these smaller areas.

Dr Thomas will evaluate your specific concerns to determine which liposuction technique will fit your needs best. In some cases, he might use a combination of methods. You will discuss the various options and their risks and benefits at your initial consultation, so you will know precisely what will occur when you come in for your procedure.

See Before and Afters

What to Expect After Surgery

Like any surgical procedure, liposuction requires a certain amount of recovery time to allow the body to heal. The following is a general timeline of what to expect during the recovery period after liposuction.

Immediately after Surgery:

  • The patient will be taken to a recovery area where they will be monitored until they are stable enough to go home or to an overnight facility.
  • The patient may experience pain, swelling, and bruising in the treated areas. The doctor may prescribe pain medication to manage any discomfort.
  • A compression garment will be placed on the treated areas to reduce swelling and help the body adjust to its new contours.
  • The patient will be advised to rest and avoid strenuous activity.

Days 1-7:

  • During the first week after liposuction, the patient should rest as much as possible and avoid any physical activity that could strain the treated areas.
  • The patient should continue to wear the compression garment as directed by their surgeon.
  • The patient may experience swelling, bruising, and discomfort during this time, but these symptoms should gradually improve each day.
  • The surgeon may prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection and pain medication to manage any discomfort.
  • The patient may be advised to take time off work or other activities to allow for a proper recovery.

Weeks 2-4:

  • The patient may start to resume light activities during the second week, such as walking and light household chores.
  • The compression garment should continue to be worn as directed, but the patient may be able to remove it for short periods to shower or bathe.
  • The patient may still experience some swelling and bruising, but these symptoms should gradually improve over time.
  • The patient may be advised to avoid any strenuous activity or exercise for at least four weeks after surgery.

Months 1-3:

  • By the end of the first month, the patient may be able to resume normal daily activities, such as going to work or school.
  • The patient should continue to wear the compression garment as directed and avoid any strenuous activity or exercise for at least six weeks after surgery.
  • The swelling and bruising should continue to improve during this time, but the final results may not be fully visible for several months.
  • The patient should continue to follow their surgeon’s post-operative instructions, attend follow-up appointments, and report any concerns or complications to their surgeon.

Overall, the recovery period after liposuction can vary depending on the extent of the surgery and the individual’s overall health. It is essential to follow the surgeon’s post-operative instructions carefully to ensure a safe and successful recovery.

Potential Liposuction Risks

Liposuction comes with a variety of risks, including:

  • Anaesthesia-related risks
  • Bruising
  • Persistent changes in skin sensation
  • Damage to deeper structures like nerves, blood vessels, muscles, lungs, and abdominal organs
  • Potential for deep vein thrombosis, cardiac, and pulmonary complications
  • Fluid buildup in the treated area
  • Risk of infection
  • Possibility of irregular contours or asymmetry
  • Changes in skin pigmentation
  • Potential need for revision surgery
  • Persistent swelling
  • Poor wound healing
  • Risk of rippling or loose skin, or worsening of cellulite
  • Swelling
  • Possibility of thermal burn or heat injury from ultrasound, particularly with the ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty technique

Before undergoing the procedure, all potential risks will be thoroughly discussed with you by your plastic surgeon. It is important to address any questions or concerns you may have with them directly.

Liposuction Results

It takes about one to three months before the final results from your liposuction are noticeable. If the results are maintained with a healthy lifestyle, they can be long-lasting since your body will not reproduce the fat cells that were removed. However, the fat cells that remain in the area can expand if weight is gained, so it is important to make healthy choices regarding diet and exercise.

To ensure that the results of your liposuction last as long as possible, follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions carefully and attend follow-up appointments as directed. Additionally, a lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise and avoiding smoking can help you maintain the results of your liposuction over time.

A Note on Results

The results of any medical treatment, aesthetic or otherwise, will affect patients differently based on various individual, genetic, environmental, diet, exercise and other factors. For that reason, you should always expect to see some variance between the results featured and the results you can achieve. What works for one person may not work for another, and each patient’s unique needs and expectations must be considered when determining the best course of action.

Therefore, it is essential to have a thorough consultation with a qualified and experienced medical professional who can help to determine the most appropriate treatment plan based on your specific circumstances. It is also important to understand that liposuction is not a quick fix and requires patience and commitment to achieve the desired results.

To learn more about your various options in liposuction, contact Dr Thomas at the Melbourne Institute of Plastic Surgery on 03 9508 9508.