Liposuction Surgery and Recovery
What Happens Before the Tumescent Liposuction Begins?
The office pre-operative consultation is extremely important. You will be given a questionnaire, a medical history is taken, Dr. Sampson will discuss your concerns, you will be examined, the procedure will be explained, questions answered, and photos taken. A bathrobe is worn over your underwear until the actual examination. Pre-operative and post-operative instructions, and consent forms, are given. Possible complications, alternatives to surgery, and risks are discussed in as much detail as you wish (sometimes more). Surgical charges are discussed, and a "quote" for your surgery is given. After the consultation, what happens next is up to you. Second opinions are encouraged, if you so desire. We encourage you to take as much time as you need to consider what you have heard and read.
Should you decide to proceed with tumescent liposuction, the surgery is scheduled and planned. The surgery is done in our office surgical suite. Blood testing for hepatitis and HIV (in addition to other values) is arranged. If you have medical concerns or problems, your family doctor may be contacted. A method of payment is arranged, and a deposit is required for scheduling. The night before surgery, a mild oral sedative is given. Before surgery, oral sedation is given. Dr. Sampson will draw lines on the area to be treated to guide him in surgery. More photos may be taken. A "heparin lock" small tube will be placed in a small vein, in case medicines need to be given for any reason (in the vast majority of cases, this is not used). Multiple areas will be numbed with a very dilute local anesthetic. You will feel some mild "stinging" as these sites are injected. Numbing fluid is injected beneath your skin in the areas to be suctioned. Again, initially, you may feel mild "stinging" sensation. Within minutes, the entire area to be treated will be numb and swollen. You are awake, but relaxed. Please bring a favorite CD or iPod, if you wish. When the anesthetic takes full effect (after 30 - 40 minutes) the surgery can begin.
During the Actual Surgery
You are awake, but relaxed. Your "vital signs" are monitored. Depending upon what is to be done, the surgery may take 1- 2.5 hours. If you wish, you may drink fluids during the surgery. We will help you to change position during the procedure, to allow maximum removal of fat. You may feel some "pressure sensations" or "pulling," but minimal discomfort. If the sensations bother you, more anesthetics can be given to the area you are feeling. Absorptive padding with a snug compression garment is placed before you leave the OR. These will remain in place until the next day. You will wear these for 23 hours per day for the first 3-5 days, perhaps longer. They are changed daily. You should be able to walk out of the operating room awake and relaxed. Most patients are ready to leave within 30 minutes after surgery. You should have a driver to drive you home.
In the First 24 Hours after Surgery
Swelling and discoloration of the treated area will be present. You can rest on the couch, a recliner, or in bed for the rest of the day, but normal "walking around" is fine, as long as you avoid strenuous activity. You should eat a small meal when you arrive home from surgery. There will be mild to moderate discomfort, which (for 95% of patients) is relieved by oral acetominophen (Tylenol). Drink at least 4-6 glasses of water before bedtime. Avoid alcohol, tea, coffee, carbonated beverages, and high salt drinks for three days. Drainage from the incision sites normally continues for 24 - 48 hours, and may be "pink tinged." You may shower the next day. You will change the pads of the compression garment daily.
The Day after Surgery
Drainage will continue, but should be lessened. You will wear the garments all day. This morning, you should take a 2 - 3 mile walk. After 24 hours, you may resume most normal activities, and should continue mild physical exercise and walking daily (except strenuous exercise). You may shower today. If you are not taking prescription pain medicines, you may drive today. Continue to drink at least 6 glasses of water per day.
Post-Operative Days 2 - 7
Many patients return to work 2 - 3 days after surgery. You should try to take a long walk each day and begin exercising mildly on day 3 or 4. A good, low salt diet is essential. Most patients continue to wear the garments for one week. The bruising is beginning to lighten, but is still very visible. Scabs may be present at the small skin incision sites (which may number 6 - 10). These spots are 1 - 3 mm in diameter.
After the First Week
The incision sites may be several shades darker than the surrounding skin. Sunscreen in these areas is essential. The bruising may still be visible, but much lighter. Some patients continue to wear the compressive garments for comfort, although this is not necessary, and will not improve your results. At least 25% of the swelling may remain for 2-3 months. The final results may not occur for 4 - 6 months.
Learn More About Liposuction:
- General Information about Liposuction
- Contraindications for Liposuction
- Frequently Asked Questions about Liposuction
- Things to Consider Before Cosmetic Surgery