Liposuction or lipoplasty can be a great option for those who are close to their goal weight, and want to target specific areas, such as the abdomen, neck area, buttocks, thighs, or hips. It is a body contouring cosmetic procedure intended to help you achieve the silhouette you’ve been working diligently toward. During liposuction, the cosmetic surgeon uses a pressurized tube to suck out the fat from the body. The procedure removes fat tissue in difficult areas like around the waist, under the arms, and the abdomen. However, liposuction is not a permanent cure for excess weight.
Ever wondered what to expect after a liposuction procedure? This brief guide uncovers post-liposuction recovery, aftercare and the long-term results of the surgery.
How is Fat Removed?
Liposuction removes excess fat by suctioning it out of the body. The cosmetic surgeon makes a small incision to insert a specialized tube, called a cannula, then pushes and pulls through the fat layer to break up the fat cells, making them small enough to be suctioned.
About 4-6 pounds of fat can be removed safely from an individual at each session. For obese individuals, about 20 pounds is the limit to be removed at any given time.
The procedure on average should take one to five hours.
Recovery Time and Aftercare
After liposuction, you should be able to walk out of the treatment center, however you will need someone to drive you home. For the two weeks following the procedure you may experience the following symptoms;
- Redness to the area
- Swelling, which can peak about a week after surgery
- Soreness to the area
- Tenderness to touch
- Drainage from incision (depending on type of procedure)
After the two week period, many of these symptoms should be diminished, however it will probably take longer to completely heal and allow you to return slowly to your regular activities. Swelling may occur intermittently for 6 months or longer, and is typically the last side-effect of liposuction to completely go away.
Depending on the area treated and the type, your doctor may prescribe pain medication. Be sure to follow any aftercare instructions that your doctor gives you.
There are certain things that you can do to reduce the healing time. Following these five tips should have you on the right track to recovery.
The extent of scarring in liposuction patients is influenced by several individual factors, such as the age and genetic makeup of the skin. In certain cases, scars from liposuction may spontaneously vanish, whereas others may find their lipo scars becoming potentially darkening due to hyperpigmentation. Nevertheless, over the course of the next six months, visible scars, including those affected by hyperpigmentation, are expected to gradually fade.
Read more about liposuction scars and how they can be minized.
Self-care Tips After Liposuction
1. Stay Hydrated
An important factor in reducing swelling is to stay hydrated. The fluids you drink should be non-caffeinated. You should also talk to your doctor about any medications you take that affect your fluid balance.
2. Wearing Your Compression Garments
A compression garment gives the treated area the support it needs while it heals. This will be worn for several weeks, up to 6 weeks in some cases, after the procedure. It can help reduce swelling as well as help the skin adjust to the new shape. Following your doctor’s instruction on proper usage of the garment and length of time it should be worn. Many patients say they love the feel of wearing a garment!
3. Get Adequate Rest
Resting and avoiding strenuous activities will shorten your healing time. Ensuring that you are not doing too much, too soon, will help your body to recover from the liposuction quicker. Returning to activities should be done very slowly so that your body has time to heal. Your doctor should be able to tell you how long before you can go back to work and other activities.
4. Avoid Excessive Sodium
Sodium can cause your body to retain fluid, which increases the risk of swelling. Sodium can increase the amount of swelling and how long it lasts. Reduce your sodium by following a healthy low-sodium diet to reduce these risks. Because exercise will be reduced during your recovery period, lots of sodium is not required by the body anyway (when it’s lost through sweat).
5. Gentle Massage
Blood circulation helps with healing, so gently massaging the area can help. This increases the amount of blood flow getting to the area. You should be careful not to disturb any drainage tubes or irritate the incisions. A gentle massage of the general area should help reduce the swelling and promote healing.
Are Liposuction Results Permanent?
Getting a liposuction can be an excellent way to achieve the look you always wished for. With proper care afterwards, you should see results you are looking for in about 6 weeks. However, the full results may take up to six months. Much of the success depends on how you care for your body during the healing process and after.
Liposuction is not the way to permanent weight loss. Although the procedure results in the reduction of fat, our bodies can still produce fat cells. Existing fat cells can also expand to accommodate excess fat. This means that without the right diet and exercise, the weight lost can be easily regained.
Fortunately, fat removal is not the only reason why liposuction is done. There are areas in the body that are very resistant to calorie and fat burning. Liposuction is the best solution to remove stubborn fat and restore the normal tone of the skin. Once liposuction is done, excess skin is incised off and the area is sutured and allowed to heal.
How to Maintain the Good Results of Liposuction?
Anyone who undergoes liposuction needs a nutritional and exercise regimen to make sure that the fat is kept off. Multiple factors come together to determine how fast a person regains the weight that was once lost. These include genetics, lifestyle, age, and even gender.
Keep a close eye on your weight and body composition. If you notice any significant weight gain, address it promptly with a balanced diet and exercise. Regular check-ups with your healthcare provider can also help identify and address any health issues that may impact your ability to maintain liposuction results.
Understand that liposuction is not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle and continue to educate yourself about how your habits can contribute to your well-being. This knowledge can help you make informed decisions about your diet and exercise routine.
Consult with a Plastic Surgeon
The decision to undergo a liposuction surgery should be carefully considered in consultation with a qualified cosmetic surgeon who can provide personalized recommendations based on your unique circumstances and goals.
If you are in Ontario, schedule and in-depth consultation at our plastic surgery clinic in Barrie. The state-of-the-art private facility of the Royal Centre of Plastic Surgery is located 40 minutes north of Toronto.
Liposuction explained by the plastic surgeon: