Dr Puneet Gupta knows good legs. In fact, no, Dr Puneet Gupta knows seriously good legs. Legs that are almost unfairly good (at any age); legs that look perfect all on their own (i.e. before you’ve imagined losing that little pocket of fat at the top of the inner thigh, or small saddle bag, or tiny bit of pudge around the knee), without good lighting, fake tan and lashings of anti cellulite cream.
How? Because he creates them. Best described as a ‘body contouring expert’, Dr Gupta is one of the few physicians in Europe practicing a Microcannular Tumescent Liposuction (‘Microlipo’), as invented by Dr Jerfrey Klein, the Californian king of Microlipo.
When I meet the charmingly eloquent doctor at The Private Clinic on Harley Street to learn more about this impressive and revolutionary technique to liposuction, the thought of having it done myself was the last thing on my mind. Already slim, the prospect of having fat removed from my body simply did not occur. In the interest of understanding how the whole procedure would theoretically work, however, I ask Dr Gupta to give me a “dummy consultation – pretending that I have an area that you’d like to treat,” vainly presuming that he would indeed have to imagine from where he would remove the fat. Out came the surgical marker pen, as Dr Gupta starts to explain to me how Microlipo differs to regular liposuction in that it is about subtly reshaping and sculpting the contours of the body rather than simply removing fat en masse.
“You know this small area at the top of your thighs…this spongy area,” prods Dr Gupta (well I hadn’t actually, but now you point it out…), “this pocket of fat is the perfect example of how I would improve your legs,” he notes, gently pinching the area in question (which has, immediately, become the ‘offending area’ in my mind). I saw what he meant. Whilst my thighs were slim and pretty toned from pilates, there was indeed a small pocket of fat there. “The inner thighs and outer thighs are really common areas to have this slight imbalance,” the doctor explains. Holding my inner thigh back just a few millimeteres to illustrate his point, I see exactly what he means. My legs looked fine before, but suddenly they indeed look more balanced and in better proportion.
“I’ll think about it,” I say as I leave his airy office. Within 24 hours I’ve booked in with him for the procedure.
Microlipo is named such because of the tiny cannulas used to extract the fat (0.9mm), which allow for a more refined result and greater control, as well as a faster post-operative recovery. The tumescent technique involves directing a very dilute local anaesthesia into the targeted areas, which causes the fat cells to separate from the surrounding tissue, so that it can be gently and slowly removed by the tiny cannula. When I ask Dr Gupta about his views on laser liposuction and how Microlipo is different (I thought that the idea of liquefying fat first with a laser sounded rather plausible; surely it would be easier to remove?) he is visibly horrified. Larger cannulas can remove fat quickly, already increasing the risk of creating depressions in the silhouette, so he likens attempting to remove liquefied fat with a large cannula to “trying to sculpt a smooth line in very soft butter with a knife: achieving a smooth result is essentially impossible”. In fact, looking through Dr Gupta’s book for ‘before and after’ cases, as much of his work involves fixing lipo jobs botched by other doctors as it does creating model-like bodies (often on models and celebrities, in fact).
When it comes to having the procedure myself, I feel completely calm and safe in Dr Gupta’s hands. It feels slightly strange as the tumescent liquid is pumped in, but not at all painful. And while Dr Gupta shapes my inner thighs, we chat during the 45 minutes it takes (I like his focus and calm manner, though) before I’m bandaged up and take a cab home.
I wear post-operative compression ‘shorts’ for four days and have very minimal bruising, but its slightness is evidence of the fact that this technique undoubtedly causes minimal damage to the surrounding tissue. I had imagined that I would be swollen, too, but as Dr Gupta explains, “the degree of swelling you have is only what ‘puts back’ what I’ve removed, so you might think there is no change for a week or so, until all the swelling dies down.” Indeed, within three weeks, I’ve got the legs I was promised. Nobody but I would ever have known I’d had it done (no wonder Gupta is a fan with the A-list), but the results are fabulous. The principle that Dr Gupta explained to me upon our first meeting – “the art of my technique is not about how much fat to take out, but knowing what to leave behind, so that the treated area looks completely natural” – could not be more true. If you want great legs, there is no greater doctor to get them from.
Microlipo is also suitable for bingo wings, the back, abdomen and outer thighs and even the chin.