These are some frequently asked questions on taking care of oneself after a liposuction procedure. Dr Terence Goh, Consultant, Department of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery, Singapore General Hospital, answers them.
Continued from previous page.
Post-Liposuction: Frequently Asked Questions on Care
1. Can I go home on my own after the operation?
It is recommended to have someone bring you home safely as the anaesthesia or sedation from the procedure can cause you to be drowsy. You may be able to drive 24-48 hours after the procedure.
2. Why do I need to wear a pressure garment?
The most important piece of post-operation liposuction care is your pressure garment. Ensure that you wear them as prescribed. You will need to wear the garments for a minimum of 8 weeks, and if you can manage it for 12 weeks, that’s even better. Results are obvious after liposuction but the body needs time to heal and “remodel” itself after the procedure. With the removal of excess fat, the skin has to reattach to the muscle and keeping the areas compressed ensure that the skin will be as firm as it can be.
3. What are the usual home care instructions given by the doctor?
These are some of the things you can do:
- Rest as much as you can at home.
- Avoid strenuous activity but walking is encouraged as it promotes circulation to the limbs, which helps in the healing process.
- Drink lots of water.
- Reduce salt intake as it is known to cause swelling in the body.
- Cultivate good sleeping habits, which help to maintain a healthy body.
4. Will I be given painkillers or other medicine?
Painkillers and antibiotics may be prescribed. On the first day, you will likely be numb from the sedation or anaesthetic. You are likely to experience more pain and swelling on the second and third days, so be sure to take your painkillers. This is also to enable you to continue moving (walking) around, which encourages circulation.
If you are given antibiotics, be sure to finish the course as these will help to prevent any post-operative infections. Occasionally, you may also be prescribed medication to help with your nausea or swelling.
5. After the procedure, how long will it be to the follow-up appointment?
The follow-up appointments vary from individuals. Patients are usually reviewed within 1 week to ensure that most of the incisions have healed and most of the bruises will have started to resolve by this time. The next follow-up will usually be at 1 month and patients will be ready to get back to most of their usual activities.
6. Will the fats removed during liposuction return somewhere else in my body at a later stage?
The fats that have been removed will not return at the same location or somewhere else. However, if you do not maintain your diet or exercise regime, the remaining fat cells can increase in size and you could lose the effect from the liposuction.
7. Will my skin sag after the procedure?
Liposuction does not cause skin sag. In fact, some liposuction techniques can lead to some skin tightening and contracture. However, this is modest and if there is sagging or loose skin before surgery, this may show up as sagging skin once the fat is removed. Speak to your surgeon for an assessment so that the right procedure can be recommended.
8. If I feel dizzy or have itching in the areas where liposuction was performed, should I call the doctor?
Liposuction causes your body to lose fluid through the little incisions and also from the swelling that occurs after liposuction. Fluid in your blood system is lost into the areas where liposuction has been performed. This commonly causes dizziness. Drinks lots of fluids to rehydrate and you will find the dizziness improves as your body heals and as you return to your normal activities. The dizziness can also be from the pain or the painkillers that have been prescribed. If the dizziness persists, please check in with your surgeon.
During liposuction surgery, some of the small nerve fibres may have been disrupted and you can have occasional numbness called paraesthesia. The itchy sensation is also an indication that the nerves are recovering. You may feel sensations of numbness, itch and burning before it gets back to normal.
9. Are there foods that I cannot eat while I’m recuperating?
It is a myth that certain food groups such as shellfish can cause your scars to become dark. However, please do avoid food that can trigger your allergies.
10. When can I start exercising?
Patients are advised to wait about 2 weeks before resuming strenuous activity. However, if something feels uncomfortable, give it another day before starting on the exercises. Whilst the fat is permanently removed, the healing process requires patience. Rigorous exercise before your body is ready can affect results by prolonging bruising or swelling.