After Liposuction Surgery: What to Expect and How to Ensure the Best Results

So you’ve had your surgery and were advised what to do during the pre-surgery consultation, but as studies suggest, patients only retain 25 percent or less of the information given before surgery, so now what?

Most of the anxiety patients experience before surgery comes from a lack of information and fear of the unknown. In this article, we will provide as much information as possible, gathered from our patients and years of experience in the hope that it will help you in your recovery time.

We are going to talk about what to expect after liposuction surgery based on both local or general anaesthesia (including small procedures like chin liposuction or areas with special consideration). Then we shall discuss what to expect in the short and long term, along with how to make your recovery as smooth as possible.

Surgery Performed Under Local or General Anaesthesia

If you had your surgery under general anaesthesia, you will wake up on the day surgery bed with a nurse looking after you. She will keep checking the monitors to make sure that your blood pressure, pulse, and oxygen are all normal while updating you about your progress.

Apparently when the patient is under general anaesthesia feels nothing but when the procedure is done under local anaesthesia we have different protocol.

We will also ask you about your pain score every now and then. Your pain score is scaled from zero to ten, with zero being no pain while ten meaning pain as bad as a broken ankle or giving birth.

Please do not hesitate to let the nurse know at any time if you are in pain so we can provide pain relief if appropriate. The other common complaints are shivers and nausea; again, please inform the nurse if you experience any of these.

abdomen liposuction before and after
A before and after example of liposuction performed at Chelsea Cosmetics Melbourne.

Understanding Tumescent

During the procedure, we inject a large volume of fluids called tumescent to numb the area and make a recovery much less painful. As we usually put the garment on the patient in the recovery area, you will notice some red coloured fluids coming through the dressing.

You may even see these fluids gushing through the bandage, mainly if large amounts were used on your tummy. There is no cause for alarm as this is basically the leftover tumescent, removing itself via the dressing and the garment for one to two days. The nurses will put special pads to absorb these fluids to make you feel more comfortable, providing spare pads as well.

When It Is Time to Go Home

Once you are fully conscious and can stand, the nurse will ask you to move and sit on the recliner chair, calling someone to come and collect you. You will need to arrange for a relative or a friend to pick you up after surgery as we will not proceed with the surgery unless this is confirmed, and they can stay with you overnight. These instructions are stringent, direct from the Department of Health, for your safety.

When you sit in the car and on the bed at home, some of the red fluids may make the car seats or bed sheets dirty, which is why you will be provided with disposable blue sheets as a form of protection.

The numbing tumescent lessens your pain directly after surgery, but after a few hours, the effect of the tumescent wears off, and the prescribed painkillers are then recommended before you experience any pain and regularly every 4-6 hours. This is particularly important in the first one to two days.

We will also provide an option of a spare garment as it is recommended strictly not to have a shower for five days after surgery and not to remove the garment.

In the first week, you may experience some dizziness or feel faint if you stand from sitting or lying down too fast. We advise you to sit on the side of the bed for a couple of minutes, then stand up slowly. For the first couple of days, someone may need to help you go to the toilet to ensure you don’t pass out.

It is recommended to start massaging the area operated on as soon as possible; we will demonstrate that during your pre-surgery consultation and in the provided information video.

stomach liposuction before and after.jpg
Liposuction can help target stubborn areas of fat that do not respond to diet and exercise.

What to Expect After Surgery

Mild to moderate bruising can happen after PAL liposuction. Many clients notice the bruising improving in a short period after using Arnica tablets, roughly one week before the surgery and for a couple of weeks after. We need to stress that some studies showed that Arnica works as well as a placebo.

It was reported that patients experience itchiness once the tissues start to heal, and the skin begins to retract and shrink. Mild itchiness can be due to dryness of the skin or irritation from the garment, and it is recommended to use a moisturiser to minimise it.

Excessive itchiness or pain, persistent nausea, and fever are not normal after liposuction and should be reported urgently. General recommendations are the same for all areas, while liposuction of the abdomen should avoid sitting up straight for two weeks after surgery and keep 45 degrees while sitting. This is to prevent a horizontal dent in the middle of the abdomen.

Those who have liposuction in the arms or man boobs should start doing arms stretches from day three after surgery, as explained in the provided instructions video. It is also important when having inner thigh liposuction to make sure you avoid a skin fold at the top of the upper thigh to prevent a lump at the upper inner thighs. Stretch the skin of the inner thighs and refrain from leaving skin folds at the garment opening.

Long term possible side effects are unevenness of the area operated on after years of lipo, usually due to fluctuation of weight. It would be best if you lived a healthy lifestyle after liposuction to avoid extra weight going straight to the other areas not operated on, as it will before your procedure areas. For further information, please speak to our skilled team.

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Meet The Author - Dr Mark Attalla

Dr. Mark Attalla is a dedicated Cosmetic Surgeon with years of experience in cosmetic surgery. He is continuing interest in cutting edge technologies. Dr Attalla has completed his MBBSa from Alexandria University of Egypt in 1987 then completed his general surgery training in a teaching hospital in Egypt. After completing his Master Degree in General Surgery, he then made the decision to move to Australia where he had his intensive training in various types of cosmetic surgery procedures guided by best cosmetic surgeons from Australia and overseas.

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