Liposuction, which is sometimes called body contouring, is one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures in the world. This procedure involves a plastic surgeon removing excess body fat through suction by means of special surgical equipment. Some common areas for liposuction include the hips, buttocks, thighs, arms, abdomen, and breasts. If you have had or are contemplating liposuction, it’s good to know that recovery can be painful and take a while, but by giving yourself the chance to heal properly, you can enjoy the results of this procedure.
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In the Recovery Room
After the liposuction procedure and before transferring to the recovery room, the patient will be placed in a compression garment that was custom ordered for the patient prior to the procedure. The patient is typically discharged from the recovery room an hour after the procedure.
The patient will be monitored in the recovery room. Vital signs will be checked, including blood pressure and oxygen levels. The patient will be observed for signs of nausea or dizziness.
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The First 24 Hours Post-Procedure
Patients should have supplies available for the return home. These should include:
Comfortable, loose clothing
Dark towels to place on the seat you will sit on to absorb any leaking fluids.
Pillows to rest on
Soda crackers for nausea
During the next 24 hours, there will be a discharge of fluid from the tiny incisions made in the body for the procedure. This is normal and should be no cause for alarm. The patient will feel sore and bruised for a few days after the liposuction procedure.
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The First Week
For the first five days after the procedure, the patient will need to keep the compression garment on, rest, drink fluids, and not shower or bathe. Patients should move every two hours to prevent the formation of blood clots. This will also help to keep fluids moving in the body and reduce swelling.
On the fifth day, the patient will return to the office for a post-operative visit. The compression garment will be removed so the patient can be examined. For the next ten days, the garment will need to be worn 24 hours a day and removed only for showering. The patient will be able to lightly exercise by walking or stretching.
The First Month
The patient may return to work the second week after the procedure. During the third and fourth weeks after the procedure, the garment may be worn for 12 hours a day. At the fourth week, normal activities and exercising can resume. It can take several months for the swelling to resolve and the results of the liposuction are completely revealed.