Recovering From Liposuction

Factors That Influence Recovery

After undergoing liposuction treatment, recovery can take days or even weeks, depending on the size of the area being treated. Patients can experience physical discomfort after surgery, but this usually only lasts a couple of days and can be controlled with pain relief medication. In the case of tumescent liposuction, wounds are left open in order to allow anesthetic solution to drain away safely from the incisions. This drainage is not only expected but is needed, because it accelerates the healing process and recovery time. Patients who have undergone this type of liposuction can expect to have recovered fully physically within about 4 weeks.


recovery from liposuction can take time and patience

Immediately After Liposuction

You are likely to feel drowsy and lethargic for a while after surgery even when only a local anaesthetic has been used. If you have used a general anaesthetic the effects will be worse. It is not uncommon for all patients of liposuction to feel nauseous and they may vomit. This can last for two days after surgery.

Once the surgery has been completed, the treated area will be firmly strapped to keep the skin tight. Support bandages made from elasticated fabric are issued to reduce swelling and hold shape. Patients are advised to wear the support bandages continuously for 2 to 3 weeks. After the first 24 hours Patients can remove the support garment for bathing and replace it after.

This will support the area and help minimise the risk of infection. Your surgeon will tell you how long to keep it on. It is best to have someone collect you after the procedure and to rest for the first week to aid optimum recovery.

You will not be able to see how the area will look long term until the swelling and bruising begins to subside which will not be for at least 2 to 3 weeks regardless of the kind of procedure used. You can do certain things to aid the process of recovery immediately post surgery. Make sure you stay properly hydrated, gently massage the affected area to ease swelling and improve circulation and stay away from foods high in salt as this can cause fluid retention.


How Long Will It Take For Me To Recover Fully?

Recovery procedures can vary depending on the kind of liposuction being used. For example if the surgery you have had required stitches then your surgeon will want to see you at least twice in the two weeks immediately after surgery to check that everything is okay. Removal of stitches usually happens a week after surgery. But if the patient had tumescent surgery the incisions are very small and so no stitches are needed, in this case the surgeon might only need to keep contact with the patient by telephone. If the tumescent method is used, then all post-operative swelling can clear within about 4 weeks at the most, this is because the incisions are left open so fluid is drained out of the wound thus reducing swelling and aiding healing, but if a method using stitches is employed, then post-operative swelling can persist for about 8-10 weeks after surgery.


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Potential Complications

Any surgical procedure involves a certain amount of risk and liposuction is no exception to this. A potential patient should make himself aware of these possible complications before proceeding. The problems can include infection, blood clots (which can spread to the lungs and heart and so are potentially very dangerous), fluid loss and skin or nerve damage. There are other more serious complications that need to be heeded, which include permanent nerve damage, excessive bleeding, severe allergic reactions to medication and possible brain damage from anesthesia. These are fortunately much rarer complications.

Some discomfort is to be expected after the operation as the body tissues adjust and reform. Clinics will provide prescription painkillers for use once the anesthesia has worn off. If patients require further pain relief then over-the-counter medication should suffice. If severe or continuous pain occurs then the patient should seek medical advice.

Mild burning sensations at the site of the surgery are quite common up to a month after the procedure. This is where trauma has occurred within the surrounding muscles during treatment. These sensations will subside as the body heals.

The Benefits

Liposuction is a safe and effective way to remove fat, eliminate cellulite, and contribute to an overall healthier, slimmer look.

Liposuction can easily be combined with other procedures or carried out on it’s own, and it can be used for targeted fat removal and also for breast reduction. For common problem areas like the breasts, along with the tummy, waist, thighs and buttocks, liposuction can achieve a sculpted, slimmer look with long-lasting results. This can in turn result in patients seeing an increase in self-esteem, making them feel more confident and able to try new things. In addition to breaking down and removing fat cells, liposuction can also assist with cellulite removal. Fat cells cause cellulite by breaking through the collagen underneath the skin, and so as this fat is removed, elasticity is returned to the skin resulting in a smoother appearance.

It’s important to note that although liposuction provides aesthetic results, it can also play a part in encouraging a healthy lifestyle too. Weight loss can reduce the risk of health issues such as heart disease and diabetes, and the removal of the final 10lbs can help many patients to kick-start a new healthy lifestyle to keep the weight off.


Can I Gain Weight After Liposuction?

The short answer to this is basically yes. The body has a limited number of fat cells stored and liposuction removes some of these cells from the area that the patient wants to change. But the liposuction itself is not an insurance against future possible weight gain. If the patient goes back to his or her bad habits of poor diet or over-eating and lack of exercise then weight can return to untreated areas. And more than that, patients who gain weight after surgery will find that they might gain weight in areas they never used to gain weight in. This is because when fat cells are removed form a certain area, like the upper arm, they do not regenerate so the cells will swell and get bigger in other areas of their body, where there are more fat cells.

Liposuction should be seen as part of an overall strategy of changing to a healthier lifestyle. In fact, exercise is seen as a key part of the recovery plan after liposuction. Surgeons usually advise that patients should begin a gentle exercise programme about 3 to 4 days after surgery. This would usually just involve light walking or some other light exercise designed primarily to stop the formation of blood clots or other potential post-operative complications. Levels of activity can be increased after about 2 weeks after surgery, but vigorous exercise should definitely be avoided for at least one month post op.

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