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Can I get free liposuction on the NHS?

As liposuction is usually a cosmetic procedure (used to improve your appearance), it is not normally available on the NHS.

However, liposuction may be used by the NHS as reconstructive surgery to treat certain conditions. These conditions include:

  • lymphoedema – a condition that causes excess fluid and chronic swelling in many parts of the body
  • lipodystrophy syndrome – where fat is gained in one area of the body and lost from another (a side effect of medicines that are sometimes used to treat HIV)
  • lipoedema – a chronic condition that typically causes an abnormal build-up of fat cells in the legs, thighs and buttocks
  • gynaecomastia – where boys' and men's breasts swell and become larger than normal, often due to a hormone imbalance
  • breast cancer – a surgeon may use your own body tissue, including body fat, to construct a new breast after a mastectomy

What is liposuction?

Liposuction, which is sometimes known as liposculpture, is the removal of unwanted body fat using a surgical vacuum. It is a form of cosmetic surgery that aims to slim and smooth the contours of your body.

Having liposuction

Liposuction as a cosmetic procedure is available privately through plastic and cosmetic surgery clinics. The price of liposuction varies depending on which parts of your body are treated and how much liposuction you have. The procedure usually costs at least £2,000.

It is important to be aware that while liposuction may be able to change the shape of your body, it cannot make you lose weight or reduce the appearance of cellulite. As with all surgical procedures, there are several risks and complications involved, including infection, blood clots and scarring.

If you decide to have liposuction, you should make sure your surgeon has been trained in both general and plastic surgery.

A surgeon who has the letters "FRCS (Plast)" after their name is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and has passed specialist exams in plastic surgery. They're trained to carry out all kinds of cosmetic surgery. Read more about choosing a cosmetic surgeon.

All surgeons should be listed on the medical register, which is kept by the General Medical Council (GMC). You can find out whether a surgeon is on the register on the GMC website.

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 12/06/2015

Next review due: 30/04/2018