Your surgery is over. But your healing is just beginning. Proper aftercare is essential in maximizing the safe and beneficial results of your liposuction procedure.
Don’t “ad-lib” your recovery plan. Instead, read this one off the script!
Remember that different patients recover at different speeds, depending on a person’s age, health, genetics, and medical history. Don’t rush it. Go at your own pace. But follow your game plan to “victory.”
While typically, liposuction is an outpatient procedure (meaning you can go home the same day), you may be required to spend a night in the hospital. Either way, you’ll need someone to drive you home.
You are going to be sore for at least a couple of days. There will be some swelling, bruising, and numbness, and you may see some fluid coming from your incisions. This is all completely normal.
Make sure you have some help at home for at least 24 hours. Don’t make any important decisions or sign any documents until your full mental alertness has been regained.
It is vitally important to take your post-surgical medications exactly as directed.
In addition to any needed pain medication, your doctor may also prescribe meds to help prevent infection, control swelling, and avoid muscle cramps. Tell your doctor if you know you have allergies to any medications.
You should not be in severe pain following liposuction. Contact your surgeon immediately if your pain is significant and not controlled by your medication.
Don’t take aspirin or products containing aspirin for a month following surgery, as these drugs can promote bleeding.
This includes Motrin, Advil, and ibuprofen. Tylenol is okay, but take it as directed.
The compression garments you use following your surgery are almost as vital a part of liposuction as the cannula and suction device. Wearing them precisely as directed is not “optional” or simply a “good idea.”
These garments reduce swelling and bruising, speed your recovery and help maintain your ideal shape. For a period specified by your surgeon, you must wear these garments around the clock except for showering. You may also have elastic bandages around your incision areas. Again, follow your surgeon’s orders for wearing, cleaning, and changing them.
If fat was removed from your ankles or calves, you might need to wear compression socks for up to six weeks. Don't shower until 48 hours after your liposuction, and you will not be able to take a bath for seven days or until your surgeon approves. Also, stay away from swimming pools, saunas, steam rooms, and open bodies of water for at least two weeks. Use antibacterial soap and always wash your hands thoroughly before touching your incision sites to reduce the risk of infection.
Most of your post-surgical pain is caused by inflammation. So it just makes sense to eat anti-inflammatory foods, including:
Drink green tea, and increase your water consumption since surgery is dehydrating.
Your body needs to heal.
Most healing occurs when you are sleeping and resting. So, ensure you get proper sleep and rest.
It is important to start moving around every couple of hours to prevent blood clots. But plan to take a few days off work. Easy does it.
Your surgeon will let you know when it's okay to start a light exercise program, including walking and stretching. After a month, you can get back to your normal activities, but do not lift anything heavier than ten pounds (including babies) for six weeks.
The enemy is infection. Use any antibiotics prescribed by your surgeon precisely as directed.
Keeping your incision sites immaculately clean will also reduce scarring. Also, moisturize your incisions with Vaseline or Aquaphor, avoiding surgical tape sites.
Liposuction scars are typically minimal and are well-hidden in skin folds. The incisions made during liposuction are about as long as your pinky fingernail is wide.
Stitches used in liposuction are typically dissolvable and will not need to be removed. Two weeks after your procedure, any remaining surgical tape can be removed. Then, you can begin gently rubbing your incision line for 15 minutes a day with Vitamin E or cocoa butter.
Lymphatic massages are very beneficial following liposuction. But make sure you schedule appointments only with a licensed massage therapist who has credentials to perform post-surgical lymphatic massages.
Your surgeon will schedule a follow-up with you about a week following your surgery.
It's important to keep that appointment and any others scheduled during your recovery.
Call your doctor right away if you experience:
In addition to just being generally a bad idea, smoking can impair your healing, decrease your circulation, and raise infection risk.
If you smoke, your doctor will have instructed you to stop about 4-6 weeks before your liposuction, and you should continue to avoid smoking for at least a month after your procedure.
Alcohol dries out your skin, so your surgeon could have difficulty stitching your skin back together.
Excessive alcohol consumption could also result in larger scars because your skin is insufficiently flexible.
You can resume driving only after you are no longer taking prescription pain medication, are comfortable sitting behind the wheel, and can make all movements necessary to drive safely.
After your surgeon’s work is done, it’s up to you to achieve the best possible results by devising and executing a comprehensive and detailed recovery plan. You will be glad you did!
Get a one on one consultation with Dr. Pedersen in his beautiful practice in Akron, OH