With advancements in surgical techniques, liposuction is now an outpatient procedure. The Tumescent technique can be performed in an outpatient facility or even in the doctor's office. The procedure can take from one to several hours depending on the area being treated and amount of fat being removed. The tumescent technique is performed under a local anesthetic or a patient can be sedated or given a general anesthetic. The recovery period is manageable and lasts from a few weeks to several months. Knowing what to expect while you heal is important for patients as they adjust to life after surgery.
You will be sent home with your treated area covered with a large drainage pad, one to two compression garments and post-operative care instructions. Although, you may not be in pain when you arrive home, you must take the rest of the day off to rest. Resume your normal healthy diet including drinking plenty of water and fruit juices. Do not drink any alcoholic beverages, drive or engage in your normal activities including exercise. Do not remove the post surgical dressing, however, if there is fluid leaking from the drainage pad; add an additional pad by sliding it into the garment.
Once the anesthetic wears off, you will have mild to moderate pain. It is important to only take the pain medication prescribed by your physician with food. Over the counter pain medications containing aspirin or ibuprofen should not be taken because they increase bleeding. Also, take any antibiotics prescribed which will help prevent infection. Later in the evening, you can take a short walk which will help begin the healing process.
The Day After Surgery
Expect to feel tired, sore, in pain and want to stay in bed. It is important to get up no matter how you feel. Sit on the side of the bed and remove the first compression garment. Wait five to ten minutes before removing any additional garments and drainage pad. Standing up right after taking off the first garment will cause dizziness. This is due to rapid compression on the legs. If you do experience any dizziness when standing, sit down until it passes.
Although, you may want to take a long relaxing bath, the post - operative instructions will prohibit this. Instead, take a shower, making sure to be gentle when cleaning the open incisions. Dry yourself thoroughly after showering. Apply a new drainage pad and the compression garment (s). Prepare yourself to repeat this routine before going to bed. You will be able to drive and do many of your normal activities including some low impact exercise. Keep in mind, you just had surgery, so don't overdo it .
The First Week
The soreness, pain and fatigue will decrease daily. However, expect the drainage to continue for several days. The fluid draining from the incisions is the anesthetic solution and some bleed. The draining process is necessary to reduce inflammation, swelling and bruising. The specialized drainage pads are designed to handle large volume of fluids, to prevent staining your clothes. Worn with the compression garments, the drainage pad also helps to distribute the force of the compression more evenly. You will only need to change the pad twice a day after a shower. The compression garments should be worn day and night until the drainage stops. Wearing the garment helps promote the drainage and faster healing. Your physician will let you know how long you need to wear the garments. The average length of time is often three to six days.
Most patients are able to return to work and their normal within a week. Moderate exercise and a proper diet are encouraged during the healing process. This will help your body recover and adjust to the changes.
Although liposuction only takes a few hours to complete, the final results are not visible for several months. During the recovery period, you could experience many of the common symptoms such as a fever, pain, soreness and fatigue associated with most surgeries. In addition, the incisions in the treated area will drain a mixture of anesthetic solution and bleed. Following post-operative care instruction will ease discomfort and promote faster healing. And just like a new mom seeing her baby for the first time, the healing process will be a thing of the past once you see the final results of the surgery.