Postoperative Requisites of Liposuction – A Quick List


The liposuction procedure is largely considered completely safe if competent hands execute it. However, you should be prepared for some postoperative requisites of liposuction.

Some Common Side Effects of Liposuction

The following post liposuction side effects mostly occur and take around 6 months to subside:

  • Pain and swelling
  • Bruising and discomfort for at least 6-8 weeks
  • Bleeding or fluid drainage (one of the prime ways to help dissolve fat tissue)
  • Firmness of the area
  • Muscle spasms
  • Skin discoloration

Factors Affecting Healing After Liposuction

Generally, the patients are able to resume their normal routine in a few days. However, the complete recovery may take a few weeks. The following factors influence healing, post liposuction:

  • Patient’s medical history and fitness level
  • Type of procedure liposuction performed
  • The treated body area

Post Operative Requisites of Liposuction: Good care under your doctor’s guidance helps minimize the chances of post-surgical complications, while ensuring prompt and sound liposuction recovery. For better liposuction after care:

  • Get Help: Make sure a trusted friend or guardian is present to drive you home after liposuction and to take care of you responsibly for at least the next couple of days.
  • Following the Doctor’s Orders: Adhere to your surgeon’s prescriptions only (no self-medication), and adapt all the suggested precautionary measures to ensure a hassle free recovery from liposuction.
  • Postoperative Garments: Compression garments are specially designed to help fast and smooth recovery from a plastic surgery. They go on to include girdles or belts. The garments help prevent any tissue disturbance by keeping the treatment area compressed. This promotes quick and thorough healing, reducing swelling. The compressed area also acquires the desired liposuction shape and does not sag. In addition, by keeping the wounds covered, they help avert infection. Wear loose clothes for easily getting in and out of them. Loose elastic clothes also help accommodate any dressing or padding over the treatment area. Make sure you opt for medical garments and not over the counter stuff.
  • Handle Drainage Correctly: After liposuction, the doctor may leave some incisions open to drain out the excessive liposuction fluid (anesthetic solution & some blood). This dries up and heals the wound fast, reducing bruising & swelling. In such cases, you may need to revisit your doctor in a day or two to suture up the incisions. If the healing is on track, the next visit will fall in a week or two, unless advised otherwise. The following two methods are also quite helpful in a proper drainage management:
    • Absorbent Pads: For the first 24-48 hours, the drainage may be heavy and you will need to wear thick absorbent pads under the compression garment. You can later switch to lighter compression pads. Usually, you can cease applying the absorbent pad if there has been no draining since the last 24 hours. Apply the right kind of compression depending upon your condition. Overdoing or under doing, both can cause problems. For instance, if you are under doing the compression, you may start bleeding and the wound may worsen. Similarly, if you are overdoing the dressing with adhesive pads, it can create blockage and fluid accumulation in the lymphatic system. This can potentially increase the risk of infection.
    • Tubes: In some cases, the surgeon may attach small tubes in the treatment area to drain the excessive fluid. This can be uncomfortable, but is not worrisome. The doctors usually instruct the patients to wear the compression garments for 24 hours, until around 1 month after liposuction.
    • Lymphatic Drainage Massage: Sometimes, doctors recommend slight pressure massage from a trained professional. The massage stimulates the lymphatic system, encouraging effective drainage. In fact, many surgeons find it more efficient than the compression dressing, as the massaging speeds up tissue healing also.
    • Compression: Both, hot and cold fomentation can help speed up recovery from liposuction. However, pursue them only and only under your doctor’s guidance. Heat therapy helps boost blood circulation, thereby reducing bruising. On the other hand, cold therapy is highly beneficial in reducing pain and swelling. Cold compression follows an hourly cycle of 20 minutes of compress followed by 40 minutes break. Make sure you do not directly apply the compress directly on the swelling. Keep a layer of towel, soft cloth, tissue paper, etc. in between the compress and the skin. Once the swelling is gone, warm compression can be taken up to reduce bruising.
    • Health Symptoms:
      • Dizziness, Fainting, & Lightheadedness: They last for around 48 hours after the liposuction surgery. You may feel slightly dizzy or lightheaded after taking out the compression garment for the first time. Keeping a gap of 10 minutes between removing two garments, helps control the dizzy feel. You may also have a spinning head after suddenly rising from a seated position such as after excreting. In this flow, you may fall and injure yourself. To avoid these tendencies, stay slow and gradual in your movements. If you feel dizzy, take some support, or simply sit on the floor, and stay put until the feeling goes away. Similarly, those phobic to the sight of blood need to be mentally tough, as the compression garments will have bloodstains.
      • Nausea & Vomiting: May happen due to antibiotics. Your doctor will guide you on its handling.
      • Surgical Trauma: Menstrual irregularity in women and slight fever (in the next couple of days of lipo suction) are the typical side effects of a surgery. Your doctor will help you with these.
      • Inflammation, Swelling, Bruising, and Pain: All this may take at least two weeks to tone down. Follow your doctor’s prescription if it gets very uncomfortable. Bromelain (pineapple enzyme) and Arnica supplements can be helpful. You start with them a week or 10 days prior to the surgery and continue for 10-14 days post surgery. Taking muscle relaxants before and after the surgery, help alleviate pain after liposuction. However, please confirm with your doctor before going ahead.
      • Diet: In the case of liposculpture conducted only on local anesthesia, the patient can resume the routine diet immediately after the surgery. You need to be on a healthy and low fat diet to keep your liposuction results intact, else fat relapse is possible. Some diet tips:
        • Low Sodium: Avoid salty foods and drinks during the recuperation phase. Low salt intake helps control swelling.
        • Plenty Water & Juices: Keep an ample fluid supply in the body. Drink lots of water and fresh lemon juice especially to flush out toxins. This helps reduce swelling. In addition, fluids fill you up and accelerate your body’s metabolic rate, thereby helping you with the post surgery weight management plan.
        • Nutritious Platters: Immediately after liposuction, take Vitamin K rich diet, such as greens (e.g., Lettuce, spinach, broccoli, kale) and protein (e.g., Eggs, & low fat yoghurt). This vitamin is helpful in reducing swelling and boosting blood clotting, which is needed for prompt healing. In addition to the above and after liposuction recovery, stick to low fat (e.g., skimmed milk, low fat snacks), lean protein (e.g., turkey), vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and right carbohydrates (e.g., fiber – whole grains, fruits, vegetables) rich diet. Such meals are nutritious, low in fat, help you feel full, are subtle on the digestive system, and help boost your body’s metabolism.
        • Small Meals: To maintain your post surgery weight, instead of large meals a few times, have several small meals a day. You must take care to have all your meals, especially breakfast, on time. This keeps you high on energy, while keeping a check on the quantity of intake. The diet plans work when you adhere to them.
        • Lifestyle Habits: Alcohol and smoking must be avoided for at least the next 2 weeks.
        • Medicines: Your doctor may prescribe a stool softener to keep the constipation at bay. If essential, you may also be given painkillers and antibiotics. Do not take any other medicine, not even topical formulas, or bandages, other than the doctor’s prescription. This applies to at least until a fortnight.
        • Bathing: You can take warm water (and not hot) shower once or twice a day, but cannot soak in a bathtub or any water body for at least a fortnight after the surgery. Else, the wounds may get infected. While showering too, make sure that the water does not fall directly on the wounds.
        • Wounds Management: Keep your wounds clean. Wash hands and incisions gently with soap & water and dry them up with a clean towel. Put fresh absorbent pads. Make sure you do not apply any chemical cleaner, such as hydrogen peroxide or any ointment, as this may trigger an infection. After around a week after liposuction, when healing, you may feel itching in the wounds. For relief, you can take Benadryl or can soak your wounds in the oatmeal bath. Wound management should strictly be under your surgeon’s guidance.
        • Bed Comfort: Stock soft, body-supporting pillows for comfort during the bed rest. Sleep on your back, slightly elevated (some 30-45 degrees) for around 10-12 days post surgery. This inclination improves blood circulation, reducing swelling and boosting healing. Wedge pillows or a stack of standard pillows can be used for the elevation.
        • Physical Activity: The first 24 hours at least are complete bed rest – no driving, no machine operation, no heavy movement, and no decision-making. You may need a good amount of rest for the first few days after the surgery. However, some doctors believe that slight physical activity such as a slow, short walk, would actually encourage fast drainage. In fact, most medicos insist on walking a few hours after the surgery to prevent the formation of blood clots in legs and lungs (pulmonary embolism). Activities requiring long sitting hours, such as traveling far or sedentary professional routine, should be avoided. You must not drive at least a couple of days after the surgery. In addition, do not lift heavy objects, bend or kneel, or make swift body movements, as all these open the sutures. High-energy activities, such as tennis, athletics, aerobics, sex, etc. are all prohibited for at least 15-20 days after the surgery. Excessive activity may increase your blood pressure, resulting in more bruising. You should be able to take up moderate physical activity 48 hours after the surgery. In most cases, the patients can resume normal routine life, including exercising, in around a week’s time. However, great, if you resume your routine gradually and not suddenly, as it takes the body at least two to three weeks to be able to fully deal with the usual stress levels. These precautions after liposuction are very helpful for a thorough recovery.
        • Post Liposuction Depression: Mostly, liposuction patients expect immediate drastic results and then end up getting depressed or disappointed when they are not delivered after the surgery. You need to understand that the best liposuction results show only after about 6-8 weeks, when the fatty tissue is drained and the wound has adequately healed.
        • Post Liposuction Massage: After around a week of the surgery and your medication getting over, your doctor may recommend a massage of the treated area to enhance blood circulation there to promote healing and reduce bruising.
        • Emergency: Immediately call your doctor if:
          • There is excessive bleeding or accumulation of fluid around the incision
          • The fluid is foul smelling
          • You have a fever
          • You have redness in the treated area
          • The swelling is not reducing
          • The wound is acutely paining
          • There is a loss of sensation or numbness in the operated area
          • You experience shortness of breath or palpitation
          • Chest pain or irregular heartbeat
          • Staying Fit: Your lipo results will be visible in around 6 months. As mentioned above in the diet section, plastic surgery helps you achieve the desired body shape, but you need to work at it to maintain it and avoid liposuction fat relapse. After the liposuction recovery, proper diet and regular exercise must be an integral part of your routine. Exercise as basic as brisk walking for 25-30 minutes daily in the morning or evening helps burn considerable calories, boosts your metabolism, and checks your appetite.