After Liposuction Care

So What is Liposuction?

Liposuction is basically the removal of fat from the body by suctioning it away.  After the instillation of a salt water-lidocaine mixture into the fat for anesthesia (tumescent fluid), a liposuction cannula is used to harmlessly vacuum fat cells away.  The cannula is a long tube with holes at the end that grab fat cells as it is passed through the fat layer.  The goal of the surgeon is to not only make the fat layer smaller but to sculpt it into a more aesthetically pleasing shape, body contouring.

How Do You Feel After Liposuction?

The actual liposuction procedure will take only a few hours.  The longer and more important part of the procedure begins after liposuction.  Since a large amount of fat has been removed, a large amount of empty space is left behind.  The human body doesn’t tolerate empty space and will fill it with fluid. This fluid accumulation leads to the swelling we see after liposuction.  Swelling after liposuction is a normal side effect of the procedure.  The swelling will naturally resolve on its own.  But it is critical that the liposuction swelling be handled properly by the patient to achieve the best results.  After liposuction care is critical for great results.

Swelling After Liposuction: Massage After Liposuction

Swelling after liposuction is expected and normal.  The three main methods to deal with liposuction swelling include compression, massage, and exercise.  The compression garment is placed on the patient immediately after the procedure and will be worn as much as possible for the next several weeks to months.  The compression garment is designed to close the empty space caused by the liposuction and push out any fluid.  Massage after liposuction, specifically lymphatic massage is also vital.  The massage helps to squeeze out accumulated fluid and swelling and appears to help with tissue repair.  The last component of liposuction swelling management is exercise.   Immediately after the procedure, several of the incisions will be left open to drain.  Walking around helps the leftover anesthetic fluid and melted fat to drain from the body, lessening swelling and speeding recovery.  The fluid that accumulates in the liposuction areas is outside of the blood vessels and is normally propelled by muscle movement.  So the more the muscles are used, the faster the swelling resolves.  So exercise is great for liposuction recovery!

What happens to the Fat After Liposuction?

Normally the fat after liposuction is disposed of as medical waste.  However, we are beginning to increasingly appreciate the value of this fat. This fat can be transferred and used as a natural filler for buttocks augmentation or the Brazilian Butt Lift, natural breast augmentation, and facial rejuvenation. Even more exciting is the discovery of stem cells in fat.  Fat offers a higher concentration of stem cells than bone marrow and is much easier to harvest.  Stem cells have the unique ability to become any cell and have great potential for rejuvenation and tissue repair.

Weight Loss After Liposuction

The other important issue to discuss is what happens to your remaining fat after liposuction. Liposuction is not a weight-loss procedure nor a guarantee against future weight gain.  Although the fat will be removed from the body, the initial weight loss will be replaced by water retention (swelling).  It is critical that weight be maintained or even better, weight lost.  The body is designed to store extra calories as fat.  If extra calories are consumed, the body will look for areas to store fat.  If its normal fat storage areas have been removed by liposuction, the body will look for new areas.  So fat can show up in areas that normally were not a problem.  Even worse, the fat found around the organs or visceral fat can also increase.  Visceral fat has been found to be the most dangerous with links to diabetes, high blood pressure, and many more diseases.  This is why it is critical to have a stable body weight going into liposuction that you will be able to maintain after liposuction.  Recent studies have confirmed that exercise after liposuction is critical to prevent the return of fat.

What about Liposuction Recovery?

Modern liposuction utilizing tumescent anesthesia has much decreased recovery than traditional liposuction.  Patients are back on their feet immediately and go home numb.  The anesthesia wears off gradually and pain medicine is taken as needed.  The liposuction patient will then have some swelling and soreness to deal with. There are no activity restrictions and the patient can resume a normal routine almost immediately.

When will I look like the liposuction before and after pictures?

The healing process after liposuction depends on the patient’s participation in compression, massage, activity, and weight control, the nature of the procedure, and the body’s healing rate.  The body will work to resolve the swelling, reorganize the remaining fat and tighten the skin. This process will take weeks to months and is different for every individual patient.  As a result, some results will be evident within 3-6 weeks and final results make take 3-6 months to become evident.

After Liposuction Diet

There is no special after liposuction diet required.  It is important to realize that your body is in a healing state after liposuction.  So a well-balanced diet that supports wound healing is crucial.  The results of liposuction are permanent as long as you maintain or even better, lose weight.

After Liposuction: How Long to Wear Garment?

The final results after liposuction may take 3-6 months.  The body will need to clear the swelling, reorganize the remaining fat and tighten the skin.  The compression garment helps to reduce swelling and promote skin tightening.  Typically, it takes 4-5 weeks for swelling to begin to reduce.  So after liposuction, how long to wear garment may be answered with at least 1-3 months.

Body Contouring After Liposuction

Sometimes after a successful liposuction procedure, there are some areas that need fine tuning.  A perfect add on procedure to perform this fine tuning, is Coolsculpting.  Performed in-office with no anesthesia needed, Coolsculpting allows the reduction of any leftover fat without surgery.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.