What are the pros and cons?

Liposuction is a medical procedure used for body sculpting. It works by removing sub dermal fat in target areas, including the face, arms, legs. torso, flanks, abdomen, and so on. The technique is used to improve one’s silhouette by reducing the thickness of the fat layer. This can remove unwanted folds, and deliver a more aesthetic look.

Similar results, however, can be achieved through exercise and dieting. So what are the benefits and drawbacks of each approach? This article answers these questions.

Time required to achieve results

Although a liposuction procedure normally only takes a few hours, post-operative recovery typically requires six to eight weeks for swelling and bruising to fully subside (see this published study on the duration of Vaser swelling and bruising).

By contrast, with proper dieting and resolve, patients can reasonably lose 100 grams of fat per day.  Thus, in a similar period, one could expect to lose 4.2 to 5.6 kilos of fat.  This amount is equivalent to what a liposuction operation would remove.

Long-term maintenance of results

The body does not replace fat cell, so once they are removed they are gone for good.  That said, liposuction only targets specific areas, and doesn’t remove all the fat there.  Thus, if a healthy lifestyle of exercise and diet is not followed after a procdure, the remaining fat cells in the target area can store those excess calories, and grow.


In our clinic, the cost of a lipo procedure is based on several factors.  They include the amount of fat to be removed, the skin type, and the precision required (see this in-depth article on Vaser lipo costs).  Costs can range from £2,500 to £13,000.  By contrast, dieting is effectively free, just requiring discipline and perseverance.


Liposuction is a surgical procedure with all the associated underlying risks.  This includes infection and (on rare occasions) serious injury.  Furthermore, aesthetic results cannot be guaranteed.  For example, poor skin retraction can lead to wrinkles and sagging.

By comparison, modest dieting, as discussed above, is rarely of any danger for healthy people.


Some people live very healthy lifestyles, consuming reasonable levels of calories and engaging in regular exercise.  However, dieting does not reduce fat uniformly from the body.  Most people tend to accumulate fat more readily in specific areas.  For women this is typically the hips and thighs, and in men it’s the abdomen.

This means that often there are specific pockets of fat that can be quite difficult to eliminate through dieting and exercise alone.  This is one of the prime motivations for using liposuction, as it can target precise areas of the body, delivering results that cannot be achieved in any other way.  An example of this in men is male breast reduction that can only be effectively handled by gynecomastia treatment (surgically removing both fat and glandular tissue).


Dieting in itself has limited benefits, rather it’s the adoption of a healthy lifestyle that is key.  However, when carefully monitored, it can help a person understand the types of foods and quantities that constitute a more balanced diet.

Liposuction benefits people who don’t have the resolve to follow a diet.  It can also remove pockets of fat that can’t be removed through diet and exercise.  In addition, it can improve a person’s self-image, which can have significant psychological advantages.


Liposuction can only safely remove up to six litres at a time.  It is not suitable for patients who are obese (for example, with a BMI in excess of 30).

In addition, patients with thinner, less elastic skin will have poor post-operative skin retraction.  This can give rise to wrinkled and sagging skin in the treated areas.


Liposuction benefits people who would like to refine their silhouette, but cannot achieve the results they desire through dieting.


Vaser Lipo vs. Dieting Comparison Table
Considerations Liposuction Dieting
Time Four to six weeks Four to six weeks
Maintenance of Results Equal Equal
Cost £2,500 to £13,000 Free
Discomfort Swelling & bruising Feelings of hunger
Risks Infection and injury Low for healthy people
Effectiveness Good Variable
Benefits Improved outlook Improved eating habits
Limitations Not for overweight people Requires high degree of resolve