More women are seeking liposuction, possibly to get a body that looks good in trendy gym clothing, according to a leading cosmetic surgeon.
Rajiv Grover, from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, says latest UK data shows procedures have gone up 12% in a year, from 2,039 in 2017 to 2,286 in 2018.
He warned that there was no quick fix to fighting flab.
Surgery has risks as well as benefits and should be a “last resort”, he said.
According to the new figures, more than 28,000 plastic surgery procedures took place in 2018, a small increase of 0.1% on 2017.
Women underwent 92% of all cosmetic procedures recorded.
As in 2017, the three most popular procedures for women were breast augmentation, breast reduction and blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery).
The biggest increases for women were for liposuction, which rose 12%, and facelifts, which rose 9%.
Mr Grover, who runs the audit, said: “The rise comes at a time where a fashion trend for women is athleisure clothing, showing what kind of physique you have rather than covering up.”
Athleisure includes figure-hugging clothing, such as leggings and bra tops, suitable for exercise and everyday wear.
He said that the rise in liposuction could also be more women seeking fat loss surgery over less invasive fat freezing methods (although the audit data does not include non-surgical procedures).
“People should know that liposuction is not risk-free,” he said.
“An operation is not something that can simply be returned to the shop if you have second thoughts.”
He gave the example of footballer’s wife Denise Hendry, who died in 2009 during one of several operations carried out to correct complications caused by botched liposuction.
“People need to be aware that liposuction is an invasive procedure that carries risks. And it is not a cure for being overweight. There is no shortcut, although it can help with stubborn areas of fat.
“My advice? Eat a healthy diet and exercise if you want to get that gym body.”
Kate Dale, from Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign said: “We understand the pressures women feel under – our research shows that a fear of being judged is the number one reason stopping many women from getting active.
“It doesn’t matter what you look like or how good you are, what matters is that you’re getting active for you.”
Overall, male cosmetic surgery dropped by 4.7% in 2018.
The top surgical procedures in 2018 (for both men and women, in order of popularity):
Breast augmentation 7,745 – down 6% from last year
Breast reduction 4,299 – up 6%
Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) 3,153 – down 4%
Abdominoplasty 2,912 – up 6%
Rhinoplasty 2,831 – up 3%
Liposuction 2,518 – up 9%
Face/neck lift 2,134 – up 7%
Fat transfer 1,428 – down 3%
Otoplasty (ear correction) 944 – down 6%
Browlift 383 – down 14%
What is liposuction?
Liposuction, also known as liposculpture or suction assisted lipectomy, is a technique to remove unwanted fat deposits. The unsightly distribution of body fat is usually due to an inborn tendency to deposit fat in one particular area of the body, most commonly the hips. Other areas include; the neck, arms, tummy, loins, thighs, inner side of the knees and the ankles. The growth of a benign fat tumour (lipoma) can also be a disfigurement, and in men fatty swellings can develop under the nipples to look like breasts (gynaecomastia).
Liposuction involves removing fat by sucking it out through a tube. It is most effective for people whose weight is normal and who have have firm, elastic skin. It is not a substitute for losing weight.
Why have liposuction?
Liposuction can help to correct and improve the contours of parts of the body it is difficult to shift weight from. The areas that are most commonly treated by liposuction are the tummy, hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, neck and upper arms. Liposuction can also be used to remove lipomas (non-cancerous tumours of fatty tissue) and fatty swellings that can develop under men’s nipples to look like breasts (gynaecomastia).
What is the alternative treatment?
The main alternative to liposuction is diet and exercise to control your weight. However, some people find that there are areas of fat that diet cannot change, and this is where liposuction can help. For liposuction to work, your skin needs to be elastic. If it is very stretched, you may be offered operations to remove extra skin, such as a tummy tuck, instead.