What to Expect During the Recovery Process

After the tumescent liposuction procedure is finished, there will be a certain amount of blood-tinged local anesthetic solution that will remain under the skin. It will drain through the incisions and be absorbed into the bloodstream within a week or two.

You will be required to wear a compression garment or bandages after the procedure. These garments and bandages add support, minimize swelling and bruising, and reinforce your body's new shape.

The surgeon and staff will inform you on how long you will need to wear your compression garment or bandages. The length of time will depend on the treatment area and the amount of fat removed. Ask your surgeon about how long you should expect to take off from work, refrain from exercising or performing tasks that require physical exertion. Most patients can return to work within two days.

Here are some other key things you can do to further aid the healing process after tumescent liposuction:

1. Activity: Rest for 12 hours after the procedure. Dizziness is not common, but in some cases can persist for a day or two. Be cautious and move slowly and carefully. You can shower within six hours after the procedure. Place a chair or a stool in the shower so you can sit comfortably, if necessary. Use any remaining Hibiclens or Betadine when you shower. It is very important to have an adult with you during the first 12 to 24 hours to assist you if you experience dizziness and to help you change your dressings. The day after your procedure we recommend you mobilize and take a walk with someone accompanying you, then elevate your activity per your comfort level. If you experience fatigue or discomfort after exercise, you are probably overdoing it. Let your body be your guide. Exercise is essential to the healing process for increasing blood flow and best results.

2. Garments and Dressings: Assigned garments must be worn as much as possible for the first seven days. Purchase a lighter support garment or body shaper from a local department store and wear during activity for another week. Compression is the most important after your procedure. Remove the garment only to shower or change the dressing. Wearing the garment is more important than staying dry, so do not attempt too many frequent dressing changes. To change the dressings, just remove the wet ones apply the sanitary pads or the dressings provided by the nurse over incision sites. Use extra padding in these areas. Chin support garments are worn 24 hours a day for two days, then nightly for the next 10 days.

3. Massage: Start massaging the areas on the day of surgery. Lightly massage over the dressings and the garment. Use firm-downward motions and pressure to the treated areas three times a day, and for 3-5 minutes per area. Massage is important to speed up the recovery process and to eliminate as much of the remaining fluid as possible. Massage treatments should continue for seven days after your procedure.

4. Diet: Resume a normal diet after surgery, unless you experience nausea. Nausea can be a result of prescribed medications. Eat smaller portions of food, frequently, especially while you are taking medications. Persistent nausea and vomiting should be reported to your surgeon immediately. Avoid caffeine for 24 hours after surgery. Drink plenty of water and clear fluids to keep hydrated.

5. Cleansing: Clean the incision sites with soap and water and use any remaining Betadine. Soaking in the tub is not recommended until the incisions are totally scabbed over.  

6. Itching: Some is normal, but do not pick or scratch at the incision sites. You may take Benadryl for itching if it is persistent and intolerable.

7. Moods: Some people experience a very mild depression for several weeks after the surgery. This can occur after any surgery or image enhancement.

8. Sun Exposure: Avoid the sun and tanning until bruising and incision sites have completely healed and faded.

9. Remember Goals: Liposuction is improvement and not perfection. Realistic goals and expectations limit disappointment. For the first two weeks, patients often look worse. Then, after about 14 to 17 days, healing is revealing, so be patient. You will be scheduled for a visit with Dr. Hall one week after surgery for a follow up - to look at the incision sites and your healing progress.  

Taking these sensible precautions will help further minimize the risk of complications down the road.

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