Many men and women have stubborn pockets of fat that are resistant to even the strictest diet and exercise regimen. They’re often in areas such as the jowls, saddlebags, lower stomach, upper arms, and thighs. According to CNN, liposuction remains one of the top 5 most requested procedures, offering an immediate reduction of trouble spots by removing excess fat. Though every surgery involves risk, and the recovery can be complicated or painful, many patients are thrilled with the long term results. Here is some helpful information about liposuction aftercare.

About the Procedure

During the procedure, typically done under local or general anesthesia, a plastic surgeon will insert a suction tube under the skin into the pockets of fat that will be removed. The surgeon suctions away the fat using a syringe or vacuum pump. It’s important to seek out a qualified, experienced surgeon, for the results will be dependent on his or her skill. Excess fat removal can leave a wrinkled or lumpy look. Failing to remove enough fat will not produce the optimal contour.

There are several methods of liposuction that might be used: tumescent liposuction, where a mixture of lidocaine, epinephrine, and IV fluids are injected to help flush out the fat; the super-wet technique, which uses less fluid than tumescent; ultrasound-assisted liposuction, which uses ultrasonic waves to dissolve fat; or laser-assisted liposuction, which melts fat cells with the energy of a laser. The technique chosen depends on the area of concern and the volume of fat needing to be removed.

Liposuction Aftercare and Recovery

Following the surgeon’s recommendations for liposuction aftercare is necessary for achieving the best results. There are several actions that the surgeon might advise. For liposuction above the waistline, patients are often asked to sleep propped on pillows to promote elevation of the area. This allows gravity to assist in draining fluids, preventing them from pooling. Immediately after the procedure it’s often recommended to apply ice-bags or cold compresses to the area on a rotating schedule. Keeping the region chilled reduces inflammation and bruising, especially the first days after the surgery. Compression is often used in liposuction aftercare. By wrapping the area gently but firmly in bandages or a compression garment as recommended by the provider, inflammation is reduced. Wearing a compression garment can also help improve the contour of the skin around the surgical site. Thus, the skin will have to adjust to the fat no longer being present.

Temporary Side Effects

Pain and tenderness is a relatively common side effect, especially if the treatment area was large. Infection is always a risk after surgery. The surgeon will likely prescribe medications to address these: antibiotics to ward off infection, painkillers to improve post-op comfort, and anti-inflammatories to assist with swelling. The majority of bruising and swelling will subside in the days and weeks following the surgery. However, it can take several months for the results to finalize completely. The healing process can involve several stages: initial tenderness, softness from swelling, stiffness from temporary contraction, and even the appearance of small lumps and bumps that can be massaged down. It is important to remember that all of these changes are a normal process of healing, and will not adversely affect the final result.

Liposuction is a highly effective way to target resistant areas of fat and sculpt the body. Much of plastic surgery depends on the skill and experience of the surgeon, so when searching for a doctor it is important to browse before and after galleries to ensure that the doctor’s past works are aligned with your own goals. For more information about liposuction or liposuction aftercare, or to schedule a consultation, please contact us.