Recovering from Liposuction
Once your procedure is over we’ll ask you to stand so we can re-examine the treated area under influence of gravity. If any further finishing touches are then required we’ll get you back on the surgical couch for a little more treatment as indicated, and then the task is finished.
(If a patient has liposuction performed under general anaesthetic, then this extra assessment-whilst-standing cannot generally occur. One more advantage to being treated under local anaesthetic)
Time for a shower. Some patients feel a little dizzy at first upon standing, but that feeling soon passes. We walk you to the bathroom and you take a warm shower.
After you shower, thick dressings are then applied to each of the tiny skin perforations through which the liposuction was performed. Dressings need to be thick, as we expect a certain amount of anaesthetic fluid leakage from these 4mm incisions, which we leave unsutured.
We then put on your compressive garment. Use of a compressive garment covering the liposuction-treated area helps hasten recovery, reduces bruising, reduces swelling, reduces discomfort, and helps keep the treated area smooth.
We like you to wear the compressive garments for 14 days after the procedure. Other liposuctionist doctors will recommend periods ranging from 5 days to 6 weeks, for obviously different reasons, but there is a general consensus around 14 days being right.
Patients who have their liposuction to areas near the top of the legs will find that the garment is designed so that they can go to the toilet without removing the garment.
So, once your garment is applied you will be ready for your nominated friend or partner to come to the practice to pick you up and take you home for the night. We’ll give you Dr Mahony’s mobile phone number in case any issue arises (although issues almost never arise). You will feel, at this point, refreshed and numb and slim and grateful, and you will likely comment, on leaving, that the whole process was easier than you thought it would be.
Due to the prolonged action of dilute anesthetic mixed with adrenaline, the treated area will stay numb for a few more hours, but sensation will typically return between midnight and 2AM. At this time you will take a couple of the Panadeine Forte tablets Dr Mahony will have prescribed for you, and you will likely go back to sleep.
Next day your friend/partner will bring you back to the practice for your first check-up. You will have another shower here at the practice. Dr Mahony will assess the operative sites and likely photograph the treated areas. A significant difference will be noted between the pre-treatment photos and these first post-treatment photos.
Second night will be much easier than the first. You probably won’t wake up during the night.
And second day after treatment Dr Mahony will assess you again.
The next question that now often arises is that of exercise. Regarding exercise, it is important to remember that the liposuction process, correctly performed, doesn’t damage muscles nor any other structure relevant to exercise. The skin incisions are tiny and involve no skin loss, so there is no tension on these incision lines. Therefore, there is no reason why you cannot thence exercise to your heart’s content.
Excepting that – you will be sore (to a point). You may still feel a bit worn out by the whole process. You may still be a little under-hydrated or over-hydrated. Therefore, you can exercise to your heart’s content, but not more than that. Take it easy, stay comfortable, now is not the time to push the envelope (and certainly not tear the envelope). Keep your heart content with your degree of exercise – do not strain.
Over the next several days you may notice that the liposuction result doesn’t look as good as it did straight after the procedure. Some bruising may be appearing on the skin surface – a degree of bruising has to be expected. Bruises should follow the recovery pathway that you will have undoubtedly seen with other bruises in the past – they will get darker at first, then eventually become yellowish and then fade. You might also note areas of swelling, or even the whole treatment area become swollen – and in the vast majority of cases this represents part of your body’s immune/repair mechanism beginning the recovery and repair process within the remaining fatty tissues. It is to be expected.
One thing you shouldn’t experience is increasing pain. Any remaining discomfort at the site of the liposuction should keep getting better. BUT IF you find there is increasing pain within all or part of the treated area you must contact the practice or Dr Mahony direct on his mobile phone (which you, as a liposuction patient, will have). The concern regarding increasing pain is that it could represent an infection, and a serious one. Dr Mahony has never had an infection arise in a liposuction patient, and never wants one.
Then, over the following two weeks you should find your comfort levels increasing, and at the two week point Dr Mahony will see you again. Ordinarily the garment would now be removed for good. Most patients find this a relief. But some like the sense of support offered by continuing with the garment. From day 14 it is your choice.
Occasionally a patient will notice specific rounded or oval areas of swelling at about this time. These tend to arise when the liposuction treatment has been especially thorough, and represent small puddles of confluent fluid in the healing tissues. When these puddles are of any significance in size, they can be drained (under local anaesthetic) via a needle. No worries.
Even so, the final result has not yet shown itself.
It takes months for the final form of the liposuction result to stabilise.
Some surgeons tell their patients to wait a full year before coming to any conclusions about the result, Some tell their patients to wait even longer.
But we at Peach think that by the time three months have elapsed we should all have a good idea about the result.
And so, should it be that there is any remaining concern about the result, we intervene at three months.
Of course, the great majority of patients are very happy with their results at three months, but some will feel that there has been too little fat taken here, or a little too much fat taken there.
And we want our patients happy, so if some further tweaking of the result is required, we tweak, whilst bearing in mind that liposuction is ever a manual procedure that can never promise to deliver glass-smooth results.
And, as the months roll by, the result tends to improve further.
How do you optimise your results?
Plenty of exercise (once you are up to it) and keep on a healthy diet.
For many liposuction patients seem to put on again whatever weight they have lost in the procedure. Shape stays improved for ever, but weight not necessarily.
So don’t think that once you have had liposuction that you don’t need to continue to look after yourself, because, really, your body deserves more care rather than less.
Keeping your weight down will also help keep and maintain an even result.
It is also important to maintain your range-of-movement at the treatment site. Bend stretch twist turn and take up yoga. Or pilates.
And take the plunge in your bathing suit (or birthday suit) sooner rather than later. Some patients, many months after their procedure, remain fixated on some barely-perceivable subtle undulations in the result, undulations that no-one else would ever likely notice, and this fixation robs them of enjoying the result they have. So head to the beach bold as brass, and realise that your result actually looks fine.
And tell your friends – we’ll look after them as well.
Give Peach a chance
To talk to a member of our team or book a consultation, please contact us today.