by Nadia

Last Updated 28/02/2022

Thinking of Liposuction in Nigeria?

Then read every word of this blog post carefully, to get everything you need to know and more!

Before we dive in, here's a quick question:

Have you ever had to wait for something? It can be frustrating, can’t it?

We live in the age of instant gratification. Our needs and desires can be met by the mere click, swipe, or flick of a button. When you combine that with the constant bombardment of seemingly perfect and sexy girls and guys on social media, magazines, and televisions.

You will seriously wonder, who would want to “slave” for months or years even, when you could just go to sleep and wake up with the body of your dreams!

Surely, it is that simple, right? Or is it? Let us take a closer look. 

What is Liposuction?

Liposuction is a type of cosmetic surgery to remove unwanted body fat and alter the shape of the body. Fats cells are broken up and sucked out of various body parts. The result can last so far you maintain a healthy body weight. 

There is a massive surge in the request for liposuction in Nigeria. Equally a lot of clinics have been set up to respond to the demand.

People choose liposuction for various reasons. May be because diet and exercise did not work for them, or they want quick results, have stubborn pockets of fat, want a particular shape and so on.

Liposuction procedure:

The essence is that fat is broken up and then sucked out to give a desired shape. There are various ways to do this, some are safer than others and some give better results than others. I will not go into specifics as this is a vast topic, but I will give an overview. 

Liposuction is mostly done under general anaesthetics (i.e. you will be put to sleep) but it can also be done by numbing the area (local anaesthetics). It should be done in a sterile surgical environment. 

The fat break up can be done with vibration, laser, pressurised water jet, ultrasound and so on. Small cuts are then made in the skin to insert a suction tube and suck out the fat.

A drain tube may be left in place to drain out any excess fluid or blood. The cuts are stitched back, and the wound dressed. 

Antibiotics and pain killers are usually needed after. Special compression bandages or corsets are usually worn for weeks after to reduce swelling and bruising.

What part of the body can be suctioned?

Essentially any part that has fat. From the face, to chin, breasts, arms, tummy, back, butt, thighs, and so on. In Nigeriathe most common areas to have treatment on are abdomen, back, breasts, butt, and thighs. Liposuction can be done with fat transfer. I will briefly discuss some specifics about these common areas below.

1. Abdomen:

This is the most common site for liposuction surgery. This is unsurprising as tummy fat can be the bane of our lives. That’s right, the first place for fat to accumulate and the last place those naughty stubborn fat hold onto when we are losing weight. The best results are obtained if you have a healthy weight and the skin is tight, this will cause less skin sagging when the fat cells have been sucked out. 

2. Back:

Back liposuction is one area that produces good results and patient satisfaction, as the skin is generally tight here. Harvested fat from the back and tummy can be transferred to other areas of the body, where a plumper effect is needed. 

3. Breasts:

Let’s face it, breasts are amazing. They are one of nature’s finest gift. Functionally they provide the best cocktail of nourishment a new-born infant could ever wish for. And on the other hand, they are fun to behold, and hold. They can increase or reduce one’s body confidence. So, unsurprisingly they are a common site for plastic surgery, including liposuction. 

Breasts are mostly made up of fat and milk glands. They are held up by ligaments and sit on chest wall muscles called pectoralis or pecs for short. They come in various shapes and sizes which is affected by genetics, age, pregnancy, breast feeding, weight gain or weight loss. 

Breast liposuction can be performed on both male and female. The aim is to reduce the size either for aesthetics or to help symptoms associated with uncomfortably large breasts like back pain and reduced physical activities. Although the breasts will be smaller, they will not become lifted. To get this effect breast implants are usually required. 

Preservation of nipple sensitivity is an important goal in breast surgery. The nerves supplying the nipple and aereolamay become stretched, irritated, or damaged during liposuction. This could cause altered sensation (high or low), mostly in the short term, but may be permanent too.

Pneumothorax is a rare but serious complication that can occur if the liposuction needle punctures a hole in the chest wall into the lungs. This is a medical emergency; common symptoms are difficulty breathing and chest pain. 

4. Butt and hips:

Butts are shaped by a group of muscles called glutes and the fat that lay over them. One with a high amount of fat will be softer and bouncy. In the Nigerian culture there is a general desire for a big rounded bottom and wide “child bearing hips”. Thus, making the Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) the most requested plastic surgery and climbing.

Liposuction can be done on the bottom to give a particular shape. But, commonly in Nigeria the opposite is done. Instead of fat being sucked out, it is injected in after it has been sucked out of another body area like the tummy, back or thighs. This is called fat transfer. The aim is to give a fuller and curvier back side. 

Alright, this sounds all nice but am sorry to say that the BBL has the highest death rate of all cosmetic surgeries. Serious complications including deaths following the BBL have been reported in the media, but this is just the tip of the iceberg, as a lot of the sad cases are not reported publicly.

When the fats are injected back into the butt, a lot of them will die off (this is called fat necrosis). The fat cells are so vulnerable to dying that people are asked not to sit down after the procedure for 8 weeks or more!! If the fat necrosis is so much, the dead cells flood harmful toxins in the body, this can lead to severe infections.

As a side note, this fat necrosis means that the volume in the butt will reduce after the surgery (surgeons expect this and intentionally try to compensate by over filling with fat). Also,as the cell deaths are random and there could be scaring, this could lead to a lumpy bottom, which is just not attractive compared to a naturally voluptuous bottom. 

Another deadly complication associated with the BBL is something called fat embolisim. As fat is injected left, right and centre into the butt, if it happens to be injected into a blood vessel – hmmm wahala! Bear in mind that our blood is constantly circulating around our entire body, being pumped up and down from the tips of our toes, right up to our brain.Back and forth the efficient heart keeps this flow going. 

The fat blob now floating freely inside the blood vessel will be moved around too, if it happens to get stuck in a small vessel (just like a stone stuck in a water pipe) it will cause a blockage that can stop blood getting through. If the block happens to be in the heart or brain a heart attack or stroke will occur respectively. These can and have caused instant deaths and this is a fact!

So great is the risk that the American Society of Plastic Surgeons issued an urgent warning to its members about the alarming number of deaths from the BBL. The British Association of Aesthetics Plastic Surgeons took it one step further by asking its member not to carry out the BBL until more is known about safer techniques.

Cost implications

I will start with a warning note that liposuction is expensive and cheap is not always the best. The cost is deterred by multiple factors, but mostly by the area of the body and the surgeon’s experience and expertise. A cheap service could end up costing a lot more if you need further surgery to correct mistakes and complications. 

If the cost to get a good service is out of your reach, then you should seriously rethink the whole procedure. See typical costs in the table below, the exact amount is usually given after consultation.

Liposuction Price in lagos & Abuja, Nigeria

Procedure

Average cost

Abdominal/Back Liposuction

₦1,600,000

Breast Reduction

₦1,400,000

Abdominal liposuction + BBL

₦1,900,000 to ₦2,300,000

Arms/Thighs Liposuction

₦1,000,000 to ₦1,400,000

Note that these prices are quoted from an Abuja clinic. So these are just estimates of what each of these procedures can cost in Nigeria.

Poor results and complications

Minor complications like bruising and swelling are common and can last up to 6 months. There may be numbness and altered sensation, usually for 6 to 8 weeks. 

Common undesired outcomes of liposuction are unfinished liposuction with little evidence that liposuction was done, excessive liposuction producing an unnatural or damaged appearance. As well as irregular and lumpy results with unsightly gutters and scars in the skin.

Serious complications are as previously discussed and includes excessive bleeding, damage to internal organs, infections, blood clots, fat embolisms and reaction to anaesthetics.

Liposuction Vs. Natural weight loss

I never cease to be fascinated by the human body. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just loose fat in one area of the body? Say just our tummy. Ahhhh, but it does not work like that.

When we lose weight, we lose it from our face, neck, breasts, tummy, butt, thighs and so on. But here is the thing, that is just what we can see. At the same time, we are losing internal fat too, like the types that suffocate our internal organs or clog up our blood vessels leading to strokes and heart attacks.

So, natural weight loss is life preserving as well as making us look good. Our bodies are clever like that, so what is not to love about that?!

Liposuction without sustainable good lifestyle modification for weight loss purposes is like sticking a pretty plaster on a rotting wound. It may look good on the outside, but the decay still carries on inside.

This is a ticking time bomb. For true and complete healing to take place, we must let the wound heal from the inside. I am sorry to be so blunt, but it is what it. 

Before considering Liposuction, Read this!

Cosmetic surgery is a big decision, all procedures have risks, some can be life changing. Your mental health can be affected if you are unhappy with the results. Don’t be in a hurry, ask searching questions before you go ahead to know if it is truly right for you. 

Questions like:

What do I want to change about my body and why?

  • Am I expecting the procedure to change a situation in my life and will it really?
  • Why do I want it now? What is the trigger and is it something good?
  • Are there other ways I can get the changes that I want? That are perhaps less risky.
  • Am I doing this for me or to make someone else happy? If so, are they worth it? Or do they already like me just the way I am?
  • Am I doing it to further my career? If so, what if I had to change jobs?
  • Can I really afford it? Including maintenance cost and cost of any complications?
  • How experienced is the surgeon? Are they well certified? Have I seen their reviews?

Body image and self-love:

If you stepped in front of the mirror now, am sure you can come up with a thing or two that you might like to change about your appearance. Now, say you binned all the mirrors in your home, would that feeling go away?? Of course not! Body image starts in the mind and not in the mirror. 

Whether you want to enhance your body by diet /exercise or via surgery, you should start from a place of self-love and acceptance. Know your worth and do not compare yourself to others, because you are unique. That way the results you get will be a rewarding and positive experience. 

Let me use an analogy of a plant. So, you have this plant that you wished had flowers. Instead of thinking “Hmmm this ugly plant, it doesn’t even have any flower!

And look at that wonky branch! Urgghhh!! If only I had one like my neighbour, I would be so happy, and all my problems will be over!” Think instead “I wish my plant has flowers, but I am happy I have got the plant, my neighbour seems to take good care of hers. 

Oh, look there is a flower bud. I know what: I will water it more, give it plant food and make sure it gets regular sunlight” Before you know it, the bud starts to bloom, oh you feel sooo good!!! 

You put in more effort as it is rewarding to see this progress and growth. “But wait a minute,what about the wonky branch?!” your mind tries to trick you. “Huh?!! Who cares!!! But look at my beautiful flowers!!!!” you respond. In time these niggling insecurities fade away and become insignificant to you as you focus on the positives. Try it! You will be glad that you did.

I would like to touch on a condition call body dysmorphia. This goes beyond simply not liking a part of your body. It is a psychiatric diagnosis. Good plastic surgeons and clinics should screen for this condition before any procedure. Sadly,no amount of surgery will make sufferers happy. They need treatment of the underlying psychiatric condition, not more surgery as they tend to request.

Right, you might be thinking, hmm this self-love business and acceptance is easier said than done. Of course, there will be hard times or days. It is okay to have help. Align yourself to someone or people that share your ideals and goals. It can be a spouse, partner, your children, a friend, or a coach. Their support and encouragement are invaluable and can catapult you to unimaginable progress!!

Unrealistic expectations

In preparation to write this article, I visited various websites offering liposuction. One thing kept coming up repeatedly. “The most common reason for dissatisfaction with the procedure was unrealistic expectations”.

You cannot be in your 40s, following multiple pregnancies with perhaps some weight fluctuations and expect to have the same body that you did in your 20s. Yes, some people may be blessed with youthfulness. But biologically it was not meant to be so. 

Adamantly wanting this would be an unrealistic expectation and may set you up for disappointment. Instead identify what you have been blessed with, i.e. your strengths. I will give you some examples of extremes of the same coin.

Some people may be tall and others petite, some may be voluptuous and others perkier, some may be curvy and others more chiselled, anyway you get the idea. To increase body confidence, you should dress and carry yourself in ways that are flattering to your body type and strengths.

The bottom line About Liposuction In nigeria

Plastic surgery including liposuction has a place including in the context of weight loss. However, it is invasive, expensive and can have serious complications. The results will not be permanent especially if you have not cultivated good healthy lifestyle and habits to maintain your new body. 

A healthy body starts in the kitchen, ends with a good workout, and is wrapped in the caring embrace of self-love and acceptance.  

Natural weight loss goes beyond looks alone. It improves overall health and prevents unnecessary deaths. It is more sustainable, if done correctly. You ask me, but does it really work? Yes! it absolutely works; trust the process, enjoy the journey, and never give up. Then great results will naturally follow. 

In response to the very first question in this article: yes, waiting can be frustrating, but we must recognise that it is okay to wait. We must make peace with our moments of uncertainty while waiting for our desired result. 

Now, over to you, I would love to know your thoughts!

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