Liposuction Surgery Postoperative Instructions

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Before and after pictures after liposuction of the waist

What are my post-operative instructions?

  • Have someone drive you home after surgery and be with you that night. You should also have someone help you at home for 1-2 days.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Follow balanced diet.
  • Decreased activity may promote constipation, so you may want to add more raw fruit to your diet, and be sure to increase fluid intake.
  • Take pain medication as prescribed. Do not take nonsteroidal pain medication (such as ibuprofen or naproxen) or aspirin or any products containing aspirin unless approved by your surgeon.
  • Do not drink alcohol when taking pain medications.
  • Even when not taking pain medications, no alcohol for 3 weeks as it causes fluid retention.
  • If you are taking vitamins with iron, resume these as tolerated.
  • Do not smoke, as smoking delays healing and increases the risk of complications.
  • You need to purchase your compression garment and bring it with you to the hospital the day of surgery

What should my activity level be?

  • You may shower 48 hours after surgery
  • Start walking as soon as possible, this helps to reduce swelling and lowers the chance of blood clots.
  • Do not drive until you are no longer taking any pain medications (narcotics).
  • Discuss your time off from work with your surgeon; this varies according to surgery.
  • Activities involving the affected sites should be minimized for approximately 2 weeks.
  • Strenuous exercise and activities such as sports should be avoided for 3-4 weeks, depending on the extent of the surgery.

How do I take care of my incision?

  • Avoid exposing scars to sun for at least 12 months.
  • Always use a strong sunblock, if sun exposure is unavoidable (SPF 30 or greater).
  • If your surgeon placed steri-strips on any part of your incisions, keep them on.
  • Keep incisions clean and inspect daily for signs of infection.
  • No tub soaking while sutures or drains are in place.
  • You will be discharged wearing a pressure garment over the treated area. Most patients will wear pressure garment for 6-8 weeks.
  • Wear pressure garment 24 hours per day for 6 weeks.
  • Try to wash the garment while you shower, such that immediately after showering, you should reapply pressure garment and gauze to cover areas of incisions.

What can I expect to feel?

  • The small incision sites will be covered with gauze to protect these areas.
  • Most of the swelling and discoloration usually subsides in 6-8 weeks, but some may persist for 6 months or more.
  • Expect temporary numbness, bruising, swelling, soreness, burning sensation, bleeding, pain and discomfort.
  • You may have fluid drainage from incision sites. This fluid drainage is usually blood-tinged, so it may look like bleeding. However, bleeding is very rarely encountered after liposuction procedures.
  • You may feel stiff and sore for a few days.
  • It is normal to feel a bit anxious or depressed in the days or weeks following surgery; but, generally, after about a week, you should begin to feel better.
  • Bruising may be apparent beyond the areas of liposuction, partially due to gravity.
  • You will have small incision sites at the point of introduction of the instrument (cannula) used to remove the fat tissue.
  • A healthy diet and regular exercise helps to maintain your new figure.

What follow-up care will I receive?

  • You should expect to have regular followup with your surgeon, at least the first postoperative appointment should be within 1 week.

When should I call my doctor?

  • If you have increased swelling or bruising.
  • If swelling and redness persist after a few days.
  • If you have increased redness along the incision.
  • If you have severe or increased pain not relieved by medication.
  • If you have any side effects to medications; such as, rash, nausea, headache, vomiting.
  • If you have an oral temperature over 100.4 degrees.
  • If you have any yellowish or greenish drainage from the incisions or notice a foul odor.
  • If you have bleeding from the incisions that is difficult to control with light pressure.
  • If you have loss of feeling or motion.