After Liposuction Care
After liposuction surgery, take proper care of yourself and follow your doctor's instructions as well as guidelines provided by the medical staff. Being disciplined about post-operative care and adopting healthier habits will optimize your liposuction results and minimize recovery time.
Liposuction is usually performed while you are awake, but the treatment area is numbed by local anesthetic. The mild sedative and remaining anesthetic might make you feel groggy or overly relaxed. You will be given time to become more alert and functional before going home.
The recovery process begins directly after your liposuction surgery. After surgery, your surgeon will review what he or she did during the procedure, go over post-operative care and tell you what to expect during the recovery period.
The medical staff might require you to move about and drink water to stimulate circulation and hydrate your body.
If, in the rare case you have general anesthesia, the staff will keep you longer and allow you time to be fully awake before leaving the facility. Inform the medical staff if you do not feel well or if you experience any concerns.
Medication and Wound Care
You will be instructed on what medications to take, when to bathe, special care after surgery and when to see your surgeon again.
After surgery, a bandage or compression garment will be placed over the area where you had the fat removed. You might wear the bandages or compression garment for a week or so after surgery. If you have liposuction on the legs, you will be required to wear special stockings until healing and swelling subside. Compression garments encourage healing by preventing the affected tissues from shifting or becoming exposed to infection after the procedure. They can also support the tissue and prevent blood from clotting. You may remove the compression garments during bathing within 24 hours after the surgery. In rare cases when large amounts of fat have been removed, drainage tubes are placed under the skin to prevent fluid build-up.
Most incision sites do not require stitches and do not scar. Your doctor will see you within a few days to check incisions to make sure they are healing properly or tend to stitches if they were required.
Help at Home
Your designated driver should be available during and directly after the liposuction surgery. In addition, it is recommended that you have a person, friend or family member "on-call" to help you and check on your recovery status. This is especially important if you have small children. Make sure you have help for a day or two.
After your liposuction surgery, you will be able to go home. You do not need to stay overnight at the facility unless you request to be transferred to a special recovery center, typically off-site. This is not necessary for a majority of patients, unless they have multiple procedures that require more post-operative supervision and care.
The liposuction surgeon will schedule a time for you to come back for a follow-up appointment to check your incision sites and overall recovery. At this time your surgeon might remove bandages, garments or stockings.
Keep your follow-up appointments as you recover to ensure that you heal without scarring and/or infection. Most patients are completely back to normal within three months after the procedure, revealing the shape and tone they desired from the surgery.
Side Effects & Risks
Blood clot formation after liposuction surgery is rare. It is reduced by modern techniques and by wearing the compression garment after surgery. Your surgeon will require you to do some light movement, walking or exercise to aid in the healing process, until you can resume your normal workout routine.
Mild side effects after liposuction surgery include:
- Light burning sensation around the treated areas
- Swelling of the tissues surrounding the treated areas
- Mild pain and bruising
- Slight blood loss
- If you experience severe pain, nausea, fever, chills or unusual symptoms, call your surgeon immediately.
Recovery and Your New Shape
After your liposuction surgery, you will need a few days to a week to recover.
The recovery and healing process after liposuction surgery occurs in several stages. First, minor swelling, bruising and numbness might occur right after the procedure. These side effects should disappear within days, if not hours after leaving the facility. The preliminary swelling will go down within a week. After a day or two, you will be able to return to work, unless the doctor states otherwise. Your ability to return to work is dictated by the areas treated and the number of areas treated, which might require more time to heal.
Nutrition and Healthy Living
The most important consideration after liposuction surgery is you and your health. Now will be the time to change your eating habits and lifestyle and to treat your body with all the love and respect it deserves-for the rest of your life.
In the first few days after surgery, avoid taking anti-inflammatory medicines or blood thinners, like aspirin. In addition, do not smoke or drink alcoholic beverages for a few days following your procedure.
Tips to follow after Liposuction surgery:
- Have your surgeon's phone number at hand in case you need to ask your surgeon a question or express concerns.
- Have a timer or written schedule of when you have to take your medications.
- Make sure that you have everything that you might need for post-surgery care such as clean towels, ice packets, comfortable clothes, bandages or special garments.
- Ask your surgeon if you will need a special diet after liposuction surgery and if there are foods to add or avoid.
- Plan on activities that will entertain you for the first couple days after surgery, such as books, movies, puzzles, magazines, etc.
- Your surgeon might recommend that you stay out of the sun for some time after liposuction surgery.
Traveling after Liposuction Surgery
Traveling adds stress on the body, especially after liposuction surgery. Airplane travel increases the risk of blood clots after any surgery. In addition, the altitudes and constraints of plane, bus or train travel can hinder the proper circulation necessary to heal. Do not schedule travel right after surgery. Your surgeon might restrict you from airplane travel for up to 10 days.
This information is especially important for patients who are interested in medical tourism. Allow yourself the proper time to recover and heal, before scheduling your return home or to the next destination.
Your body will require minimal downtime to heal after the liposuction surgery. Traveling can be uncomfortable, so schedule travel when you receive authorization from your surgeon.
Additional Therapies after Liposuction Surgery
Your surgeon might recommend additional treatments or therapies after liposuction surgery. The goals of these additional treatments help you recover faster, complement your surgery and diminish scarring, swelling or pain.
Ask your surgeon if he or she recommends additional treatments or therapies after liposuction surgery.
Emergency after Liposuction Surgery
Although today's liposuction procedures have very high success rates, there are always risks after surgery. If you experience any situation that does not seem normal after your surgery, contact your doctor immediately. If you present a true medical emergency, call 911 immediately.
Questions about What to Expect after Liposuction Surgery:
- How long will I have to stay in recovery?
- How will I feel after liposuction surgery?
- How much pain will I have?
- How long can I expect to fully recover from surgery?
- Am I required to have someone drive me home after surgery?
- Should I have someone help me after my liposuction surgery? And if so, for how long?
- Are there activity limitations and for how long?
- What kind of diet should I keep?
- What symptoms should I watch out for and report after my liposuction surgery?
- When should I contact my gastric bypass surgeon?
- What medications do I need to take after my liposuction surgery?
- Is there anything that I should refrain from after my liposuction surgery (for example, heat or sun)?
- Do I need bed rest and for how long?
- How long before I can go back to work?
- Do I need to wear bandages or special garments? And if so, for how long after surgery?
- How soon can I resume my normal activities after my liposuction surgery?